He followed an eight-target, seven catch performance against the Carolina Panthers back on Nov. 17 with a no-target, no catch performance against the Rams a week ago at the SuperDome. Cooks was apparently already growing frustrated with a diminished role (he's currently second in targets behind rookie Michael Thomas). Thursday, he put that into words.
"I feel like the opportunities will come," Cooks said, via NOLA.com. "But at the same time this is a very emotional game and every once in a while you have to express that and you have to express what you want. Closed mouths don't get fed."
He added: "It's one of those things, the competitor. I was a little frustrated, but at the same time our offense was moving the ball, we won the game, so that was the bright side of it. I was just thinking from a competition standpoint. I always want to help. I feel like I necessarily didn't (against the Rams)."
While it's never a good look to complain about not getting the ball in a 49-21 blowout, Cooks' frustration is understandable. Thomas is having a crazy-good rookie season for the Saints (5-6) and has already developed the kind of rapport with quarterback Drew Brees that allows him to be an immediate, dependable read after the snap.
Cooks is on pace to have about 30 fewer targets than he did a year ago, or almost five games worth of balls at his current target rate. He'll have a chance to change that against the Lions (7-4) this Sunday.
The Rams designed their defense to limit Cooks, which allowed the flood gates to open just about everywhere else last weekend for Brees. In time, Cooks will learn that yards and scores come in bunches. He still has plenty of time on his rookie deal and may have the best surrounding talent around him since he joined the league in 2014. In time it all evens out, especially with an ageless Drew Brees slinging it around.