Cooks' first-year contributions to Pats leave Brady, others in awe

Marc Narducci, The Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News on

Published in Football

Just don't ask him to compare the two. That is something he refuses to do, showing respect for both icons.

While teams try to stop tight end Rob Gronkowski first, Cooks figures prominently into the opponent's defensive game plan.

"He is a guy who helps stretch the field, and in any good offense you have a guy who can do that, and that is the type of players he is," said Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills.

Characterizing Cooks as only a deep threat is selling him short, though, Mills said.

"He's a route runner," Mills said. "Having the ability to be a deep threat and also the ability to run good routes is a blessing."

Cooks has similar respect for the Eagles secondary.

"That group has been playing at a high level all year," he said.

Cooks is the Patriots' best deep threat since Randy Moss in 2009. In his first three full seasons in New England, Moss averaged 15.1 yards per catch and caught 47 touchdown passes.

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"He doesn't miss practice, he doesn't miss training sessions," O'Shea said of Cooks. "He rarely misses a play in practice, much less a game."

In one year, Cooks has earned the overwhelming admiration of his teammates and coaches.

"Guys respect him, the coaches respect him for what he stands for: high character, very hardworking and detailed. He is a team guy," O'Shea said.

The voices are beginning to sound the same.

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