The New England Patriots boasted a strong receiving corps in 2016, but the team bolstered its wideout depth in a big way this offseason.
In arguably the biggest move of New England’s active offseason, the defending Super Bowl champions acquired Brandin Cooks in a trade with the New Orleans Saints in exchange for a first- and third-round pick in this year’s draft.
Expectations for Cooks in his debut season with the Patriots already are sky high. The speedy wideout has posted seasons of 1,100-plus receiving yards in the past two campaigns, and his versatility as both a deep threat and slot option should allow him to integrate into New England’s offense seamlessly.
However, arguably the greatest wide receiver in Pats history believes fans and pundits should table their over-the-top expectations for Cooks. In an interview with Bleacher Report’s Dan Pompei, Randy Moss made the case that the Patriots’ loaded offense might not allow Cooks to eclipse an impressive receiving feat.
“With all those players playing at a high level, I don’t think (a 1,500-yard season) is reachable for any player in that Patriots system,” Moss told Pompei.
The Patriots only have one receiver in the franchise’s history to reach 1,500 yards, Wes Welker, who notched 1,569 yards in 2011. Moss fell just short with 1,493 yards in his record-breaking 2007 season.
Moss believes the key for Cooks in his first season with the Patriots is to find multiple ways to make an impact in the passing game. Cooks made a name for himself as a deep threat in New Orleans, but Moss believes focusing on stretching the field wouldn’t find similar success in New England.
“I think within the Patriots offense, they are going to use (Cooks) short, intermediate and deep,” Moss told Pompei. “If he’s able to make teams honor his intermediate and his short game, the deep stuff will come, and it will come very easy for him. But the thing he can’t do is focus and concentrate on the deep stuff, and then when it comes time for the short and intermediate stuff, catch the ball, fall down.
“He has to take the short and intermediate and the deep ball and work on all three of those. In that Patriots offense, if he’s able to do that, man, the sky’s the limit for him, the sky’s the limit for that offense. With all the weapons they have, you just pick where to throw the ball. Tom (Brady) will find the open man.”
Considering how much Moss thrived catching passes from Brady, it’s safe to say the surefire Pro Football Hall of Famer knows what it takes to succeed in the Patriots’ offense.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
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