Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Brandin Cooks has generated six 1,000-yard seasons in nine NFL seasons. After coming off one of the worst years of his career, the veteran is ready to return to the century plateau.
"It's time to get back," Cooks told NFL Network's Maurice Jones-Drew and Patrick Claybon on Thursday's NFL Total Access. "A lot has to come with that. At the end of the day, like I said earlier, we've got some special guys throughout the offense, all the offensive weapons we have, I'm just going to do my best to the best of my ability, and when we look up at the end of the season, we'll see where we're at."
During a tumultuous season in Houston, where Cooks struggled with spending another year in a perpetual rebuild, the wideout posted 699 yards with three touchdowns on 57 catches in 13 games. That performance came after back-to-back 1,000-plus-yard campaigns with the Texans.
Cooks' down 2022 included a trade request out of Houston, and the wideout said Thursday he was "pretty close" to landing in Dallas last season. This year, the Cowboys got the deal done to bring in the field-stretcher who should help open up the offense for Dak Prescott.
Cooks adds a needed element to the offense alongside star CeeDee Lamb.
"I think just going into Year 10, being able to have special receivers around me like CeeDee, M.G. (Michael Gallup) and J.T. (Jalen Tolbert), not only from a production role that I'm expecting but also from a role of being able to lead," he said. "So I think that's what I'm looking to bring. So obviously, I want to get back to winning, and however that looks, I'm willing to do it."
The trio of Lamb, Cooks and, if finally healthy, Gallup offers the Cowboys playmakers at every level. Toss in an anticipated rise of Tolbert in Year 2, and Dallas should have the weapons to compete with the best passing offenses in the NFL.
Cooks has been around the block with some of the top coaches in the NFL, entering the league under Sean Payton in New Orleans, playing a season under Bill Belichick in New England (Josh McDaniels as OC), and two years with Sean McVay in L.A. before experiencing the coaching turnstile three years in Houston.
The 29-year-old wideout was asked how the Dallas offense -- with Mike McCarthy taking over play-calling -- differs from others he's shined in.
"I mean, obviously, we've just had spring to get going, but the biggest thing that I noticed is it's fast-paced," Cooks said. "Like we wanna get to the ball, coach McCarthy talks about attack, not waiting and sitting back, but going on attack, and that's what I noticed throughout practices, throughout throwing sessions this offseason. So the faster, the better, so I'm all for that."
The pace of the Cowboys' offense will be one thing to track when training camp opens. Under former offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, Dallas ran one of the fastest pass-happy schemes in the NFL. McCarthy has talked a lot this offseason about emphasizing the run game and slowing things down. That's all summer fodder until we see his vision on the field.