GREEN BAY - Jared Cook stood 15 yards away, tracking Aaron Rodgers’ pass. He wasn’t the intended target, but Cook was plenty curious.
He had seen the Jacksonville Jaguars’ blitz swarm his quarterback. He knew rookie cornerback Jalen Ramsey was yanking Rodgers to the ground as he released the football. Cook turned his head, saw Jaguars cornerback Davon House grabbing receiver Davante Adams, and thought the play had no chance.
Inside the Green Bay Packers locker room this week, yes, Cook was still gushing about the touchdown pass late in Sunday’s first half. He waited all offseason to share the field with his two-time MVP teammate. The first impression, Cook said, didn’t disappoint.
“It’s still pretty incredible some of the throws he made,” Cook said, shaking his head.
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After one game, Cook is still waiting for those throws to come his way. He was targeted twice in the Packers’ opening win at the Jaguars, fewer chances than Jordy Nelson (nine), Randall Cobb (eight), Davante Adams (seven) and Richard Rodgers (three). He caught just one pass for seven yards, though he drew a 30-yard pass-interference penalty that flipped field position before half.
Cook wasn’t frustrated with his lack of targets. Quite the opposite. He said some plays called for him were scrapped because the Jaguars provided safety help over the top, opening up chances for teammates.
With his third team in eight years, Cook finally saw an offense — and quarterback — capable of making defenses pay when the secondary focuses on limiting his production. Nelson had six catches and a touchdown. Cobb had six catches for 57 yards. Adams had three catches, including the touchdown.
“It’s fun, man,” Cook said. “It’s hard for the defense to be right, you know? It’s hard for them to single out one guy and go after one guy, or single out two guys and go out two guys. It’s a fun offense to be a part of because any given day, or any given Sunday, anybody is going to get off.”
It could be Cook on Sunday when the Packers travel to play the Minnesota Vikings. Eventually, he expects more targets. One of the more intriguing matchups could be Cook against Vikings safety Harrison Smith.
In the meantime, Cook established himself as the Packers’ starting tight end. He played the first series in Jacksonville, and more snaps than Richard Rodgers. The Packers mostly rotated their tight ends from possession to possession Sunday instead of playing with Cook and Rodgers on the field, something that could change as the season progresses.
Coach Mike McCarthy said he’s impressed with how Cook has transitioned to the Packers offense, even if it has yet to show in the passing game.
“I think Jared's done an excellent job,” McCarthy said, “making the transition first from a terminology standpoint from the offenses that he was in, in the past. This is a totally different nomenclature from start to finish. So he's made a very seamless transition. A very hard worker, very diligent, very detailed. So I look for him to get off to a great start.”