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Transcript: Tight end Jared Cook conference call - December 23, 2019

Jared Cook speaks to media following Sunday's win at Tennessee

New Orleans Saints Head Tight End Jared Cook
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Monday, December 23, 2019

Drew Brees said he audibled out of a play to get into that second guarter touchdown play, that 61-yarder. First, was it a run and second, what does that say about the confidence he has in you to audible into something where he felt like you'd be able to get you?
"It wasn't a run. For him to be able to audible, I mean, that's just Drew man. That's him being who he is. He saw the defense was in a vulnerable position and saw that they were all up in the line of scrimmage and he checked it because he knew that backer couldn't get out in time. They wouldn't be able to drop to the coverage they needed, that zone in time. That's when the end tried to drop and kind of nudged me and rolled me and I just found the empty spot open in the middle of the field."

He also got you in the end zone a second time on heavy coverage. Do you feel like you guy's chemistry is that he said, look, I saw him and I put it where I thought he could get it and the other guy couldn't get it? He just felt like he had a mismatch there.
"Yeah, absolutely. That's kind of what happened. He just put it to where the defender couldn't see it and I just did my best to kind of get my body in the front of the ball even though he had his arm draped across the front part of my body. I just tried to do my best to make a play on the ball and Drew made a good throw and I was able to hold on to it and haul it in. But, the trust is there. I feel like the chemistry is getting better and we're continuing to grow together, which is pretty awesome. That confidence we have in each other, that's what continues to push us and continues to let this offense grow and build."

What'd you think about the block Alvin (Kamara) had on the touchdown?
"If it wasn't for him and then Ted (Ginn) coming over the top blocking for me too then I probably wouldn't have gotten (to the end zone). That was a huge, huge block by him. He stayed on bite and allowed me to kind of set it up and we even started back out to kind of hold the block a little bit longer and he stayed with him the whole time."

You guys have scored at least 30 points in the last three games. How many stretches offensively have you been on like that in the NFL?
"I couldn't tell you. There hasn't been a lot though. Maybe the one year I was in Green Bay, but definitely not a lot. It has not happened a lot in my career."

How much are you going to be watching the scoreboard this week in terms of competition and hoping to secure a bye?
"Not too much, man. I'll probably continue doing the same as I do. Just catching a few games here and there, but there's a lot that we've got to focus on here. I had a few miscues in the game that I'm not happy about. I feel like it's a lot of things that this all offense can correct. I don't feel like we should necessarily be satisfied. A lot of this stuff is going to take care of itself and a lot of that stuff is out of your control. So our focus or my focus I should say is to control what I can control and how do I get better? How do I get better over the next week and to the end of the season and then into the postseason how do I continue to get better and make this offense better and more of a prolific offense than what it already is? That's kind of my focus. I don't do too much of that. Focusing on all of the (other) things. I think there's enough things that we've got to focus on right here in this locker room."

It's not a unit you're on, but when you're watching Deonte Harris go out there and return kicks and return punts and he's just having fun with it, making other people look silly, like what goes through your mind when you're watching a teammate have success like that?
"It's awesome. Knowing his story and where he came from. I think that makes us that much better. Coach (Payton) said it perfectly last night. You hold your breath every time he touches the ball because you just never know. He could just strike out at any time. He's a great returner and as long as the guys stay on their blocks, he always has opportunities to get up out of there. He's electric man. He's electric."

You were saying that there are some things that you were unhappy with yourself. From an outsiders perspective, of course it looks like you had a great game, but there's all these little details I guess. Can you specify maybe some things you've pinpointed from the film?
"I lined up wrong on one play, I heard the call wrong in the huddle, wound up on the wrong side. I can get better (at) route running. There were a lot of times yesterday on some of the routes where maybe I could have used my leverage a little bit more, create more separation. Those are the things that I'm frustrated with right now. You look at the game and you can be happy with that if you want to, but I'm not. I feel like it's temporary satisfaction for me. The overall goal is how do I continue to improve? How do I continue to get better? That's always the name of the game is to find ways that's going to extend your game and make defenses continue to guess on what you're going to do. That has always been my focus and it will always continue to be my focus because that's what continues to make me better and better."

How crazy is it when you think about Mike Thomas having 145 receptions?
"That's insane. To have 145 receptions for me would probably take about two and a half, three seasons. But for him, to get that in a single year, that's pretty impeccable. It is something I might not ever see again in his lifetime and a lot of people will not. He still has another game to continue balling out to extend that record. Huge kudos to him. Huge kudos to Drew (Brees) because that's something that you don't necessarily see in decades, man. It's huge."

When you're making a decision on what team to join in the offseason, do you try to envision how you fit in the offense and is this how you figured you would fit in this offense?
"Yeah, how an OC (Offensive Coordinator) would use you and kind of chemistry and how you fit in that team I think is the biggest thing. Because I had one of my best years last year in Oakland, so that success was something that kind of drove me to find a new home. Where I could have the same similar type of success, because that was such a fun season for me. When you're out there dominating it's fun. That's how you have fun in this game is dominating and doing your job to me. That was a fun year for me. I just wanted to find a place that I had an opportunity to do the same thing, go out there and be a dominant tight end and make plays. And this was one of the places where I figured that I could help the most. I knew it had been a while since they had a (dominant) tight (end) in this offense. I knew that it was a place where I could step right in and make a huge impact. That's kind of what drove me into my decision."

Did you see the potential to be a downfield threat in the passing game?
"Yeah, absolutely. That's something that I've done throughout my career. That was something that I just expected to continue to happen."

Just out of curiosity, as you've been in the league for I guess about a decade now, what is Christmas like as an NFL player?
"When you become a parent, Christmas it's for the kids. It wasn't necessarily for adults, most of the times good underwear, drawers, you know, socks or paintings from the kids anyway. It's just about spending time with them and watching them enjoy it and you are watching them grow. It is tough. You know, it is kind of double edged sword. You want to enjoy it, you want to be merry and bright. But you got to focus and you know you have task at hand. Coach is giving us plenty of time to enjoy it this week. So I'll enjoy it with my family, I enjoy it with my kids. It'll be a fun day, but other than that, we still have things we have to take care of."

What kind of test did you feel it was in terms of playoff readiness for your team, with the weather, playing on the road in rough field conditions?
"Definitely a tough situation. Like you said, the weather's not there, the crowd's not in your favor. It's a bad day with penalties and you're down 14. I think it's a testament on the type of talent that this team has to fight back. I think it's a testament of our defense, because they helped us out a lot yesterday, when we weren't putting up points. And I just think it shows that the will of this team to continue fighting, never given up, but that's obviously not a position we want to be in next week or continuing into the postseason. You never want to get down or start a game off like that. You always want to continue to fight and always want to come out and strike fast and continue rolling from there. That is what I'm talking about and things that you can improve on even though things aren't going your way. We fought back, but that's still not a position that you want to be in."

What's it been like for you watching Taysom Hill play your position?
"You don't realize the talent he has until you actually watch him in person and you are actually focused on, seeing him throw, run, his size, seeing him run through people. I think that's the most impressive is how many things he can do. Like yesterday on that deep over he caught (was) thrown a little bit behind him. The defender kind of caught up a little bit, but he was able to come back to the ball and hop on it and make a huge play for us on a linebacker. You know what I'm saying? It's not something that you see a quarterback do every day, the size of his legs, the way he runs, just a big frame that's just punishes people every time he runs. It's impressive the things he can do with football and especially somebody who's playing out of positions and we're asking him to do so much and he does his best to do it, which is pretty tight."

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