Acquired in a trade with the Saints this offseason, Cooks said the job got tougher without Edelman (who suffered a torn ACL in their most recent preseason game), but he knew he was walking into an environment where adaptability was key.
“Very unfortunate, a guy like that; a warrior who works so hard,” Cooks said of Edelman, via Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. “At the same time, we know we have to get ready, to keep the wheels turning and do what we have to do to make up for that.”
At least Cooks has fresh wheels. The 23-year-old joked that he still felt fresh after training camp, saying: I feel like I’m playing Pop Warner again, just running around, having fun.”
That’s made an impression on the not-easy-to-impress Bill Belichick.
“Brandin’s in good condition, been out there every day, works hard, runs hard,” Belichick said. “So he looks good.”
Cooks is also learning, like other players have come to realize, that the Patriots system has different demands than others.
“It’s like school,” Cooks said. “If you pay attention, you’ll get good grades. You’ll get the answers right.”
Of course, the questions changed with the loss of one of Tom Brady‘s most trusted targets, but after giving up a first-round pick to get him, they’re hoping Cooks can alleviate some of the pressure himself.