Vaccaro: 'We can't let Brandin Cooks get a deep ball'

Brandin Cooks returns to New Orleans this week.

The speedy wideout was shipped to New England this offseason for a first-round pick (which ended up being starting left tackle Ryan Ramczyk) after spending three seasons with the Saints.

Ahead of the matchup against his former teammates, Cooks downplayed his return.

"I'm here now," Cooks said, via the Boston Herald. "I'm focusing on the guys that I'm playing with, and that's all that I can do."

The 23-year-old wideout was traded after he vocally complained about his usage last year in Sean Payton's offense. Sunday he has a chance to show in person what the Saints are missing, but the Patriots receiver won't admit he's got extra juice for Sunday's matchup.

"I don't think like that," Cooks said. "I don't have that type of mindset. That's a great offense, a great team. They'll be just fine without me."

It's the Saints defense, which got torched by Sam Bradford, Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen last week, that will have to deal with Cooks and Tom Brady. Cooks' former teammates know what the speeder brings to the table.

"We can't let Brandin Cooks get a deep ball," safety Kenny Vaccaro said, per The Times-Picayune. "You can run your curls, you can run whatever your little route tree is besides the home run ball, but when you put on the tape, Brandin Cooks is running deep a lot. So, that'll definitely be something that we have to stop."

The familiarity between Cooks and the defensive backs in New Orleans will add extra intrigue to Sunday's matchup.

"We've been against him, so we know a few little things, but he's a good receiver so we're definitely looking to challenge him," cornerback P.J. Williams said.

In the Week 1 loss, Brady sent seven targets Cooks' way, completing three for 88 yards. Against a Saints secondary that continues to be susceptible to communication breakdowns and gives up repetitive deep shots, expect Cooks to get a bevy of chances Sunday in his return to the Big Easy.

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