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Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Sean Payton says Saints will find ways to get Brandin Cooks ball more


New Orleans Saints wide receiver Brandin Cooks surprisingly did not have a single pass thrown his way in his team’s 49-point scoring bonanza against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, but Sean Payton insists that was not by design.

On Wednesday, Payton was asked about a report claiming Cooks is unhappy with his role in the Saints’ offense. The head coach downplayed it.

“I’m not concerned,” Payton said, via Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com. “It’s a little unusual that we have a game where all of a sudden he’s not targeted, but the first play of the game is supposed to be his play, and we don’t get the right coverage look. We’ll keep working it and finding those opportunities for him to get those touches.”

Eight different players caught a pass from Drew Brees on Sunday, and the veteran is typically at his best when he can spread the ball around. Payton said the Rams made a concerted effort to take Cooks away, so Brees responded by throwing to the open guys.

“He’s a fantastic player and a good man, and we have a great relationship,” Payton said of Cooks. “It’s hard when you do have a game with a lot of numbers like that and a guy like Brandin who works his tail off doesn’t have a target or a touch. Sometimes that can happen, but I would say that’s rare.”

Cooks is third on the team in targets and catches behind two other wide receivers — rookie Michael Thomas and third-year pro Willie Snead. While Cooks didn’t openly complain after he was erased on Sunday, he did post a cryptic message on Instagram.

No player should be upset when his team wins 49-21, but star receivers want the ball. While Cooks may have expected to have a breakout season in his third year, good offenses don’t force the ball to any specific player. Brees isn’t going to do that going forward just because there are rumblings that Cooks is upset, either.

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