Bills running back James Cook is walking, well, more like running into the new season with all the confidence that he will be starting for Buffalo in 2023. Going into his second season playing in the league, Cook has no doubt he will be the one taking the first snaps in the backfield.
"Obviously, RB1," Cook said on The Rich Eisen Show, via New York Upstate’s Ryan Talbot. "So you know, just come in and do what I do. Change the game with my versatility. Catching the ball out of the backfield. Pass blocking. Just try to do what I can do to help the team win games and ultimately win the Super Bowl."
After last year's RB1 Devin Singletary found his new home with the Texans, Cook briefly had the backfield all to himself. However, starting jobs are earned, not given, and the signings of emerging star Damien Harris and veteran Latavius Murray mean Cook will have to battle tooth and nail if he is going to be the starter come Week 1.
In his rookie season in 2022, Cook did not start a single game, although he did get some kind of action in 16 of the Bills' 17 games. Cook had 89 carries for 507 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Those are not superstar stats, but if given the opportunity, Cook feels he will hit the ground running to make an impact big enough to land the job.
"RB1 is running back one, so you know I'm going out there first obviously," Cook said. "I'm ready to work. This is a big step and a goal that I wanted to accomplish in the NFL. Just do what I can do to help the team win games."
Cook has high hopes for the upcoming season, but most importantly, he looks to his older brother as an example of what he wants his professional career to turn into.
"My goal is to be an All-Pro or Pro Bowler like my brother (Dalvin)," Cook said. "Hopefully be in the Pro Bowl with him one day."
Dalvin Cook, who is currently a free agent after being released by the Vikings, has already given the family name status. In his six years in the league, the elder Cook brother has acquired 5,993 rushing yards and 47 touchdowns with an average of 82.1 yards per game. He is also a four-time Pro Bowler.
Those are big shoes to fill for the younger Cook, but the 23-year-old has plenty of time to obtain his own accolades, especially if and when he earns the chance.