Cook on guard for roster spot

Ryan Cook started all but two games at right tackle last year, but he'll be in a fight to retain that position – and maybe even a roster spot – as this offseason has brought new blood looking for employment on the offensive line. See what Cook had to say about his outlook this year.

Ryan Cook spent the last three years trying to make the transition from a college center to an NFL right tackle. Last year, he started all but two games at the position, but he admits to being in a battle to make the roster as it currently stands.

During Thursday's organized team activities, where most of the established veterans don't attend, Cook was working at right guard with first offensive line.

"I'm just out here to make the team. That's my goal," Cook said after practice. "That's what I'm focused on, whether it be at center, guard, tackle, tight end, whatever. I'm here to make the team. I'll be playing next year, so I'm not too worried about it."

Cook didn't see any time Thursday at center or tackle, but both he and head coach Brad Childress indicated he has been working up and down the offensive line this week.

"We know that he has the ability. He's played center in there as well in these camps," Childress said. "He was in there for Brian Daniels (Thursday) playing right guard. We just want to see him along the offensive line. We talk about that position flexibility all the time. He certainly has the bend and the ability and the mass. … Now, fourth year in the system, he should be able to do some of those things."

Cook said he was focused on his strength and conditioning this offseason. He was listed at 328 pounds last year. Right now, he says he's 320 pounds and working to drop 10 more pounds before the season to become "a little bit more agile."

That agility might help him if he is going to compete to retain his starting job at right tackle. Second-round draft choice Phil Loadholt might be the favorite to win the position, and on Thursday he was getting the vast majority of the repetitions at right tackle.

"We added another guy and for the most part everybody is still here who was here last year. That's all good because I think we all have a year under our belts and moving forward," Cook said.

When asked specifically about Loadholt, Cook was vague about the possibilities and competition.

"I don't know, to tell you the truth. I can only control what I can control," he said. "Obviously they brought him in here to do some stuff, so I'm sure he'll be successful at whatever he does."

Childress said "that's another good position with competition, between him and Phil," but on Thursday it looked like the 6-foot-7, 343-pound Loadholt was getting every opportunity to win the job.

That left Cook focused on the system in general and working his abilities at several different positions.

"I think it's just a good time to get back out there and get reoriented with the system and start working on some things you need to work on for the season coming up. It's always exciting," he said. "The more you can do, the longer you can stick around."

He may need that versatility as the competition for backup positions on the offensive line would appear to be getting stronger.

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