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Transcript - Jared Cook Conference Call 1/4/21 | Week 17 recap

New Orleans Saints Tight End Jared Cook spoke with media on Monday, January 4, 2021.

New Orleans Saints Tight End Jared Cook
Video Call with New Orleans Media
Monday, January 4, 2021

A couple of weeks ago you mentioned how you didn't feel like you were really having the type of season you wanted to have. And just asking, do you feel like these past two weeks are a little bit more of what you had been anticipating?
"Yeah, a little bit. When I was referring to that before, it was in the sense of me how I was grading out from my coaches, not necessarily like pinpointing me on the plays that I'm making on the field, but how I graded out in the classroom. I wasn't satisfied with it. But, my play on the field, yeah I feel like it's a little better. Not as good as last year but, we're all having kind of a year like that. So, that's just how it is."

How do you like this team's doing right now, heading into the playoffs? Where do you feel like you are as far as a team?
"I think we have good momentum. I definitely think we're (headed) in the right direction, just trying to go get it. Even though we didn't have the players, some of our starters this past week, a lot of guys still came in and we still got the job done, which was good to see, but we all know that playoffs is a totally different level. And it just goes up another notch from here. So, we all have to be ready and be ready to kind of take this thing to the next step."

How much of a difference is it when you guys can play off of Mike Thomas and just like as far as the coverage everybody sees and how things open up?
"I just think it's harder for defenses to, you know, be right and guess and double. Because when you have me, AK (Alvin Kamara), Mike (Thomas) and Emmanuel (Sanders) all on the field together, it singles up a lot of people. And especially on downs when you need it, like critical downs and red zone downs. But, yeah having Mike T back will be huge, having AK (Alvin Kamara) will be huge for us."

Have you seen a difference in that this year? Just like, as far as like how many doubles you get in the red zone or anything like that?
"Yeah, absolutely. There's a lot more like, double covers when Mike T is out. That would leave room for AK (Alvin Kamara) to be open a lot. So, they try to double me or Emmanuel (Sanders) usually. And then, the younger players like, most of the time like LJ (Lil'Jordan Humphrey) and JJ (Juwan Johnson) and guys like that. And Marquez (Callaway), guys like that have to step up and make plays when they try to do that, when defenses try to take me and Emmanuel (Sanders) out. It's all on the guys to kind of step up and make plays in those situations. So, yeah, you definitely notice when Mike T is out."

I asked you this a couple weeks ago but, you know, in light of the fact that you guys had Ty Montgomery, you know the guys been a player that's, you know, a real good player in this league for a while. Just having him available when, you know, a situation like Sunday goes down? Just what does that say about, you know, the Saints being a place, you know, guys want to come and play, like you guys had a backup of that caliber available?
"Ty (Montgomery) has always been a good back. I used to watch Ty (Montgomery) at Stanford and then me and him were together at Green Bay. And it was kind of like a similar thing, we were talking about it this week. A similar thing happened at Green Bay. I think it was Eddie Lacy and (James) Starks went down. And they moved him basically from receiver to running back. He had played a little bit of running back already before. But, the same situation this past week. Basically, all of our backs went down and he was able to step up. He's just so versatile, man. It's like having another AK (Alvin Kamara) for real, because you got a back that's super fast, that can find holes and that knows how to get his pads down. But he can also, he has receiver experience, which he can either catch passes out of the back field, get handoffs, run like sweeps or you can line him up and single him up on a linebacker. And like, and zones and they're able to get North and South. So, I think having Ty (Montgomery) is awesome and it definitely helped us out this week with AK (Alvin Kamara) being out. Because he's just like another AK (Alvin Kamara)."

What does it say about the team that, he would want to come play here, you know, with an AK already on the roster, with Latavius (Murray)? You know, the culture maybe or anything that you, you know, had him available period?
"It speaks to the talent that we have, and the depth that we have overall."

I know all teams have a sense of urgency. But, is there anything different about this team this season, then, you know, maybe what you've experienced other places in your career? You know, openly talking about Super Bowl or bust since the beginning of the year. And obviously, haven't gone for four years in a row now despite being close?
"A little bit, but not really. You know, you always have, you know, for everybody on the team there's limited opportunities, right. For everybody in this league there's limited opportunities. There's limited opportunities on the games you win and the postseason games, that you actually get a chance to play in for a lot of people. So, I think whenever you get these opportunities, I think it's imperative to take advantage of them. And I think pretty much every team has the goal of getting to postseason play. And then, you know, division, postseason, and then, you know, to win a Super Bowl. And you always have that kind of mentality. When you know that you have a chance to do it, I think it's definitely special. And I think the guys that you have a chance to do it for and do it with, I think is special. I think that's the most important thing, it's about the journey and the guys and then the team. And what you've built throughout the year. And what's important to you guys, as that team. So, I think every team definitely has that Super Bowl or bust mentality. I don't necessarily think it's different other than the fact that like, I feel like this team is special, man."

You bring up a good point, I guess maybe sometimes there would be a locker room where there'd be a couple of veteran guys trying to impart that to the younger guys letting them know how precious these opportunities are. Maybe the difference with this team would be there's 30 or 40 guys in the locker room who really appreciate how precious these opportunities are through experience?
"For sure, we have a lot of young guys that have been to the postseason. This team is so successful and they grow. And we have a lot of guys that have smelt the postseason, but also, like you said, on the opposite end of that. There's some guys that have not or that want more, and I think everybody on this team wants more, which is awesome. Which is huge going into the postseason."

How much emphasis has been placed, and I know you've talked about it all season, but, has there been even more emphasis on just COVID protocols after what happened last week, and with the running back room?
"Yeah. You know, the NFL, they came in and they do their research and investigate on what happened and those guys have to stay to their COVID protocol duties. It was just, we were already pretty much following COVID protocols. It's just important making sure you always have your mask on, even in the meeting rooms. I think that was the big emphasis this past week after all that stuff, but that's really about it. I know, we always wear our masks in the tight end meeting room. And most guys usually do. So, that's always been an emphasis around the building, they just kind of went really heavy on it this past week."

Are your team is still having some in-person meetings. I thought it was all virtual at this point. But I feel like it changes every day?
"Yeah, it does change. Some meetings are virtual and some meetings are in-person. But it just varies from day to day and week to week. But, there's so many things that they're putting us through. So many things that are kind of floppy, what's legit and what's not? So around here, we try to follow the COVID protocol and do everything that they tell us about.. But that's not always, when it's trickling down from top to bottom it always, it's like a game of telephone."

What are some of the things that have stood out to you about the Bears defense the last time you guys played them?
"Their secondary was balling. They have got a really good secondary. I feel like that was a different team. Their D line was good, Akiem Hicks was banged up last time we played them. I think that'll be a little different this time. It's a hard playing team, man. You know, it's the first step and the first challenge that we have to make moving forward. So, we just got to be ready for whatever they throw at us."

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