The biggest knock on Jared Cook before his signing with the Green Bay Packers were his supposedly suspect hands.
According to STATS, Cook dropped four passes last season and 15 during his three seasons in St. Louis. The graders at Pro Football Focus are much more strict. PFF had Cook with the second-highest drop rate among tight ends in 2013 and the worst in 2015, with 10 drops out of 49 catchable targets last season.
Cook, however, has had no such troubles with the Packers. While he missed the start of training camp following foot surgery, Cook hasn’t dropped a single pass during 11-on-11 periods. At Monday’s practice, Cook made a tremendous catch of a slightly overthrown pass from Marquise Williams. On Tuesday, he scored back-to-back touchdowns from Aaron Rodgers during a red-zone drill.
“I’m not worried about that, man,” Cook said of jinxing his run of success. “What people say about me or what you might hear about me, that’s none of my business. People can talk all they want to but they have no clue about what goes on in the heart of a team. I’m here now and my job is to be the best that I can be for this team, and that’s what I’m here to do.”
Last season as Cleveland’s tight ends coach, Brian Angelichio worked with Gary Barnidge. Barnidge, who came into last season with a career-high 13 receptions, caught 79 during a breakout season. Cook, by contrast, had 39 catches. Both players dropped four passes, according to STATS.
“Honestly, I’m the least guy that’s going to look at statistics and everything,” Angelichio said. “It’s a fresh start for him. So I don’t have any notions about what was in the past. I only know what I see on film and what I see every day and obviously the job is to catch the ball. With all our guys, that’s something we try to work on every day. It’s emphasized by Coach McCarthy and we’re constantly doing things for the skill of catching and different kind of ball drills. We certainly would want that for all our guys.”
Despite being sidelined by the injury, Cook seemingly has assimilated himself into the offense without a glitch.
“He has a lot of experience in the league,” associated head coach Tom Clements said. “He’s a big target. He works hard. He wants to do well. He’s always asking questions to Aaron and to the coaches. He’s been a great addition.”
After suffering through 11 quarterbacks during his first seven seasons, Cook signed with the Packers in large part to play with Rodgers, the two-time MVP. Cook pointed to Rodgers’ obvious talent and ability to put the ball in the right spots. More than that, he’s found Rodgers to be an approachable teammate during meetings.
“He’s very open to answering any questions that we have and very open to making sure that we’re all on the same page and our level of understanding is all equal,” Cook said.
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.