New Orleans Saints Tight End Jared Cook
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Monday, October 7, 2019
When you go back to three weeks ago when Drew (Brees) got hurt, what was Sean (Payton’s) message to the team to sort of keep this thing afloat?
“I don't think there was really a direct message. I think it was understood that we still had goals that we had to achieve in this locker room and that we would still set out to accomplish those goals and that we still needed to do what we can to pick up the pieces in an absence of Drew and make sure that we came out there and played each and every game hard. I think that's the most important thing that we have been doing is racking up wins and continuing the momentum that we left off with Drew.”
I'm sure you wouldn't say yesterday was a breakout game, but was it your most comfortable game as a Saint so far?
“I would say so. A lot of productivity in the pass and the run game, but I know I could still be better. I got a lot of plus/minuses on my grade sheet. I know I can still get better on some little things. That’s kind of what keeps me hungry. Those are things that I can improve on being a big portion of this offense.”
What's the one thing that stands out to you about Michael Thomas? Could be as a player, as a person, anything.
“Man, he’s a hard worker, a big body that can catch balls in traffic, he runs well, he’s just a good all around receiver. He plays big, man. He plays really big. Strong hands at the point of attack. He just always finds a way to get open. He is just a really good all-around receiver.”
Did your role change I guess a little bit as you guys kind of found your footing without Drew (Brees) the previous couple of weeks?
“Not necessarily. It's pretty much been the same. The offense I think has changed a little bit of course, because you have somebody else under center. But, I think my role has been pretty consistent. I just go out there and try and do whatever they’re asking me to do to the best of my abilities. Sometimes you get different, funky looks that you don't practice all week or the defense might show you something different than you've been practicing all week. That's the best thing for us as players to try to do is be consistent and just do what the coaches ask you to do and do what you’ve been practicing to do all week.”
Obviously, you guys were winning the last couple of weeks, so it didn't really matter in the grand scheme of things, but was there a sense that you guys were just ready to put up a big offensive day going into yesterday's game? What was kind the feel going into the week itself?
“We felt good this week. We felt well prepared. We knew what we were capable of on offense, just going out there and we moved it. With the weapons that we have in that offensive room, we can go out there and put up numbers like we did yesterday. A lot of times in those games we were putting ourselves in a tough field position and we had a lot of penalties. Plays get hard to call him when you're backed up or when you shoot yourself in the foot. I feel like we played a clean game yesterday all around offensively and we just kept the foot on the pedal and just kept the chains moving, which is what's important in this game.”
The red zone, you guys have kind of been scuffling going into the game this week, but you guys turned it around. What was, do you think is kind of behind just the better execution yesterday in that spot?
“I just think it was just a collective effort of everybody playing together. Guys were getting open. Tampa Bay was really giving us a lot of tough looks. They were bringing quite a few blitzes, playing cover zero, man on the back end, but guys were able to get open. Even when they played zone and dropped into cover two, Teddy (Bridgewater) was able to find the holes in the zone and make the play on the backend in the red zone. Some of those plays were just pure effort like Mike (Thomas’) play, his first touchdown. It was effort towards the end, diving towards the pylon. His second touchdown in the red zone, it was just him just playing big, breaking two tackles and getting in. With Ted (Ginn Jr.), they just gave us the perfect coverage. The play action looked better in the game than in practice and Teddy (Bridgewater) was able to sit in the pocket and kind of move and slide to the right to find Ted for that touchdown. I just think we were executing a lot better yesterday. I think they were playing the right coverages and offensively guys were just playing big and making plays.” executing the gameplan. That’s all it came down to.”