FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — When the New England Patriots held an intrasquad scrimmage on Friday, it probably wasn’t a coincidence that coach Bill Belichick had quarterback Tom Brady and wide receiver Brandin Cooks on the same team.
One of the critical parts of training camp has been Brady and Cooks being on the field together, building off their work in spring as they get to know each other better.
“[We] are building up a rapport but that takes a lot of time to be built,” Brady explained. “That goes all the way through the season. We’re working hard at it. We’re talking about things. There are a lot of things that go on to try to improve the learning curve, but he’s just been so much fun to be around. He really adds to a great group of other receivers that I’ve been fortunate to play with for a long time.”
What the 5-foot-10, 189-pound Cooks will add once the regular season begins is one of the Patriots’ more compelling storylines. Fantasy football owners, of course, are paying close attention.
Friday’s scrimmage provided a potential preview when the one play in which Brady threw in Cooks’ direction resulted in nearly a 50-yard completion. The speedy Cooks made a terrific catch inside the 10.
“That was a great catch,” marveled Brady, who had drawn the defense offside and took a deep shot knowing he had nothing to lose. “That was a big play, but those are the kind of plays we need. If we can build those things into our offense and make some of those down-the-field plays, that takes some more pressure off other parts of the offense.
“Certainly, when guys are making plays that far down the field, they’ve got to cover and they’ve got to respect it. You know, I’ve always said I try to throw it where they’re not, so if they’re deep, you throw it short. If they’re short, you throw it deep. If they’re outside, you throw it inside. You try to throw it where they’re not, so that was a great example of what we’re trying to do.”