Patriots could benefit from a Brandin Cooks DPI call in Super Bowl LII

FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 26: Brandin Cooks
FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 26: Brandin Cooks /

Patriots wide receiver Brandin Cooks has the potential to make big plays downfield, but sometimes he doesn’t even need to catch the ball to have an impact.

This season, Brandin Cooks’ first with the New England Patriots, has been a success. At times, fans and media have been critical of Cooks, but really he’s performed quite well.

Cooks is always a threat for Tom Brady on the deep ball, and though they may not connect every time, they always seem to make plays. This season he’s drawn 244 penalty yards from his opponents. They were called for five holding calls and a facemask for a total of 35 yards, but the defensive pass interference calls have been a killer.

Opponents have given up 209 free yards to the Patriots thanks to defensive pass interference calls while trying to cover Brandin Cooks.

Those 209 yards from defensive pass interference are the highest for any wide receiver in the NFL this season. Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones was second at 159 yards. Cooks’ teammate Rob Gronkowski came in at sixth with 126 yards on 5 DPI calls.

In some cases, it’s actually better for a defender to earn a defensive pass interference call rather than letting Cooks run loose. He has blazing speed, and he had 65 receptions for 1,082 yards and seven touchdowns in the regular season. Cooks has added another nine catches for 132 yards in two playoff games so far. In the AFC Championship Game though, the Jaguars were called for DPI against Cooks twice, for 32 and 36 yards. Those chunk plays are as good as a completion for the New England offense, and they will always find a way to take advantage of them to get on the scoreboard. QB Tom Brady knows just how valuable they can be.

"“If you can gain chunks of yards like that, it relieves a lot of pressure from other areas because you don’t have to drive the ball as long. It’s like a home run in baseball.”"

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On the 11 drives in which Cooks drew a DPI call this season, the Patriots scored 7 touchdowns. They also added 2 field goals and punted just twice as well.

Those are incredible numbers, and they could come in to play on Super Bowl Sunday. The Eagles have a great pass rush and solid linebackers, but their weakness is in the secondary. Ronald Darby, Patrick Robinson, and Jalen Mills all have trouble covering the deep ball, and they also are penalized a ton downfield.

New England would like to get Cooks matched up on Mills especially. He has been penalized 9 times this season, 5 times for holding and 4 times for pass interference.

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No matter who lines up on Cooks, you can expect Brady and the Patriots to try to go his way to take advantage of the matchup. The Patriots are looking for their 6th Super Bowl title, but it would be the first for Brandin Cooks. The game will kick off at 6:30 PM EST on Sunday in Minneapolis, Minn.