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‘Mr. Reliable’: How Brandin Cooks Leads Texans Offense

A closer look at the Texans pass catchers.

Houston Texans v Miami Dolphins Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

With training camp just around the corner, the Houston Texans are set to start football activities under the regime of new head coach Lovie Smith. After the Deshaun Watson trade, a new chapter has officially started for the franchise that is set to approach the new season with a corps of young and promising players, especially on the offensive side of the ball.

Despite having limited offensive resources in 2021, rookie quarterback Davis Mills displayed promising flashes, finishing his first pro season with the 2nd best QBR among rookie signal-callers. In 2022, Mills will have at his disposal a promising trio of starting receivers who complement each other’s game extremely well. This will be the first of a series of posts looking into what Brandin Cooks, Nico Collins and John Metchie III, will bring to the table in order to help the offense being more dangerous comparing to the 2021 season. We’ll start first with...

Mr. Reliable

The passing game will gravitate once again around veteran pass catcher Brandin Cooks, who has collected at least 1,000 receiving yards in both his first two seasons with the Texans and overall six in his first eight years in the NFL. In 2021 Cooks displayed great chemistry with quarterback Davis Mills: Cooks is one of the best deep threats in the whole league and his style of play matches extremely well with Mills’ tools. The up and coming second year quarterback has a live arm and he isn’t scared of taking downfield shots, the area of the field in which Cooks is most effective.

Since his Stanford days, Mills has shown the ability to generate effortless velocity on his throws thanks to fluid and natural mechanics as this allows him to stretch the field vertically with ease. Last season, Cooks emerged as Mills’ favourite target right off the bat as the veteran pass catcher finished the season with the 36.72% share of team’s air yards, good for the 6th highest mark in the NFL.

Entering his 9th season as a pro, Cooks will be Houston’s primary target for the third season in a row. The Texans’ rivals in the AFC South all worked to improve their secondary: Indianapolis added a new shutdown corner in Stephon Gilmore, the Titans will have 2021 first-round pick Caleb Farley finally healthy, as well as talented rookie Roger McCreary, and the Jaguars will count on second year corner Tyson Campbell to take on the opposing primary receiver. The consistency and playmaking ability of Brandin Cooks will be much needed for the Texans in order to navigate through the division.

This play perfectly summarizes Cooks impact in the deep area of the field. His ability to create separation mid-route is one of the best in league and Mills does a great job at hitting him in stride for the score.

In 2022 Cooks will as always be aligned both as an X and Z receiver. His footwork and ability to win at the line of scrimmage against press coverage are valuable, but his impact when having a free release and being able to catch the ball at full speed is another valuable asset for the offense.