Jalen Tolbert had a difficult rookie season with the Dallas Cowboys. Things were a bit rocky in the preseason for him a year ago, and unfortunately it did not get much better as his most “notable” moment was lining up offsides (while on offense) in overtime against the Green Bay Packers.
But Tolbert was a rookie and not everybody lands in the NFL with immediate high-level production. The issue for Tolbert in 2022 was that the Cowboys created a situation with how they built their receiver group where he needed to contribute significantly for everything to work properly. He did not, things were tough and here we are.
Well, technically, there we were. The Cowboys learned their lesson this offseason and did their best to right their wrong by trading for veteran Brandin Cooks. With CeeDee Lamb fully entrenched as the group’s alpha, Michael Gallup another year removed from his torn ACL and Cooks now in the fold, the pressure is significantly less for Tolbert to deliver.
Brandin Cooks offered some encouraging words about Jalen Tolbert
The most obvious part about why everyone is so excited about Brandin Cooks being a part of this offense is because he is a very good player. Good players make your team better.
But beyond what he brings on the field in a literal sense, Cooks is also an NFL veteran who has seen a lot of things and played in some big-time games. He is a very solid mentor and/or big brother for an offense that is in a bit of need of that in some ways.
It appears that Cooks is already off and running in the leadership department as with less than a week before the team leaves for training camp, he offered some encouraging words about Tolbert during an appearance on NFL Total Access on NFL Network.
Patrick Claybon: Brandin, you’ve changed teams a few times here in the league. And you’ve been so productive every single time you’ve done it. I’m wondering, what are you doing now on this new team that you maybe didn’t do in the past?
Brandin Cooks: That’s a good point. I think just going into year 10 being able to have special receivers around me like CeeDee, MG and JT. Not only from a production role that I’m expected but also from a role to be able to lead. And so that’s what I’m looking to bring obviously. I just want to get back to winning and however that looks I’m willing to do.
You will note that Cooks included Jalen Tolbert (who he referenced as “JT”) in the “special receivers” category where he first listed Lamb and Gallup. Cooks did not have to do that and no one is trying to say this is the biggest deal in the world, but it has to feel good for Tolbert that Cooks views him that way given how Tolbert’s rookie campaign went.
This is admittedly a very small moment in a very small conversation, but it is the type of thing that when you add a bunch of them together the results could point to something significant. Good on Brandin Cooks for being that kind of leader before the team even arrives in Oxnard.
Earlier in the interview Cooks was also asked what it has been like to work with the Cowboys relative to the other teams (and quarterbacks and coaches) that he has played with in the past. He noted that things are all about “attack” for the Cowboys which he likes.
Maurice Jones-Drew: Brandin, you’ve played with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. You’ve played with Sean Payton and Drew Brees. You’ve played with our Los Angeles Rams. 1,000 yards there. You played in Houston. What is Dak Prescott and this offense like compared to those others that you’ve been in?
Brandin Cooks: I mean obviously we just had the spring to get going, but the biggest thing that I’ve noticed is fast pace. We want to get to the ball. Coach McCarthy talk about attack. Not waiting and sitting back but going out and attack. And that’s what I’ve noticed throughout practices, throughout throwing sessions this offseason. So the faster the better and so I’m all for that.
It is going to be very fun to see Cooks work alongside the rest of the Cowboys group. Thankfully we don’t have to wait much longer for it to finally happen.