The St. Louis Rams thought they were signing a game changer at tight end with the addition of Jared Cook. Cook is the epitome of a player that underachieved in college, but teams fell in love with his pure athletic ability and size. It was the current Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher that took him in the 3rd round of the 2009 NFL Draft. Fisher obviously likes what he sees in Cook, but those physical tools have yet to translate into a consistently high level of play.
All signs pointed toward a huge season for Cook after the opening game when he broke out for 7 catches and 141 yards. Let’s face it, it was a monster performance for the 26-year-old tight end. All of his abilities were showcased in the season opener picking up huge gains after the catch. Since that freakish performance, Cook has been quieted for less than 50 yards in each of the last 9 games.
For the 2013 season, Cook is not living up to the off-season or first game hype that was built around him. His 33 catches put him at 17th for all tight ends across the league. He is catching 59 percent of passes that targeted his 6-5 frame which is decent, but he has five drops. That’s not a good number when he is supposed to be a sure-handed receiving threat that can line up just about anywhere on the field. Cook is averaging 13 yards a catch and has 428 receiving yards for 2013. The total yards make him good for 13th among all tight ends and 16th in yards per game. That number is skewed by the 141 he put up in the first game of the season though. Since then he has put up a high of 45 yards twice and only reached five catches in a game once.
Cook’s touchdown total might be the most disappointing stat at 3 TD catches on the season. He is tied for 12th in the league in that category with teammate Lance Kendricks. To put that into perspective, Kendricks has only 23 catches on 33 targets for nearly a 70 percent catch rating. Jared Cook might not be the feared pass catcher every one thought he was going to be. If you go and look at any media outlet before the season, Cook was hyped up nearly as much as rookie Tavon Austin.
Cook’s blocking has been sub par for all of his career. It was one of the most typical knocks on him before he was drafted and it continues to haunt him. St. Louis has opted for multiple tight end sets most of the season to get Kendricks and Mike McNeill in the game for blocking purposes. One would figure that with Cook’s frame and athletic ability he would do well blocking on the outside. He has improved recently, but Kendricks is by far the better blocker on the line.
It hasn’t been the breakout season every one in St. Louis was hoping for – that’s certain. Cook needs to show up on game day to help take some of the pressure off of the receivers and Zac Stacy. His mediocre numbers are not a true read on what he could do if he could harness his skills and focus. The offense would look a hell of a lot better if he went out and played close to the expectations laid out for him. All of Cook’s fantasy owners have struggled behind his 5.88 fantasy points per game this season – that’s a quick way to lose a fan base. Fantasy football nuts everywhere are losing sleep over his inability to put up big numbers.