St. Louis Rams - Jared Cook Is In The Right Place, At The Right Time...

USA TODAY Sports

More and more - as I consider the Rams' offensive potential this season - my mind fixes on Jared Cook a key component. First and second year players represent the lion's share of their wide receiver corp. The 10 players vying for roster spots at the position have an average height of just over 6 feet (72.7 inches), and the most experienced among them is Austin Pettis - in his third NFL season. Cook's in his 5th year in the league, and though he's a tight end, he could spend a great deal of his time set out wide, or in the slot receiver position.

Jared Cook is a tough player to gauge from a fan's perspective. When you watch the video at the bottom of the page, it's easy to see he suffered from having Jake Locker as his quarterback. In fact, I wonder why more people don't compare Locker to Tim Tebow? Watch the video and you may see what I mean...

The challenge isn't just for Cook in the Rams' offense. It's going to be interesting to see how offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer will divvy out his play calling. I don't see Cook as being a #1 read in passing patterns for quarterback Sam Bradford. This could set the former Tennessee Titan as a "match up" read in four, and even FIVE receiver sets. Don't shake your head! With this small fleet of lightning bug receivers, don't doubt for a second that Jeff Fisher will go to this kind of set after he passes mid-field. Interestingly enough, Bradford may have been in painful training for this offense for years. He's lived in the "3 second read" zone since he came into the league. I also see this passing offense as squarely focused on attacking safeties, and linebackers in coverage. This is where Jared Cook will make if NFL fortune in 2013.

Imagine if you will, an offensive set where Cook, Austin and - for the sake of just doing it - Stedman Bailey are on the same side of the line. Chris Givens is split out wide on the other side, and on the snap runs a clearing route, grabbing the deep attention of one safety. On the other side of the field, Austin runs a fast and short post at the other safety. Bailey runs a double "in-out" move. If either of these two receivers breaks away from the corner back coverage, the safety will have to bite, right? This is where Cook come in. He runs directly at the safety on his side, then breaks below the safety coverage. He'll be watch where the safety's eyes too. If he sees the safety cheat to cover the wide receivers, Cook can double move and break back, going deep down the middle.

While Cook doesn't have the career statistics to back up what I see, there's no denying any linebacker forced to cover him will be in trouble. Nickle packages on defense won't offer relief either. Pass patterns are akin to convergent cross mapping, with a slippery slope side order of "post hoc, ergo propter hoc" through in. While cause and effect are view-able in the mind's eye, it rarely resembles reality in the NFL. But in what I see coming in Jeff Fisher & Co.'s version of "lightning fast war", opportunity abounds for a tight end like Jared Cook...


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