Jared Cook doesn't mince words when he talks about his excitement for the 2011 season.
The former South Carolina star no longer has to wonder if he is going to be in the Titans game plan each week. Instead it's how can the Titans find ways to get the football in his hands.
“Instead of just a couple of plays being scheduled here and there for me, it's kind of like the whole offense is my opportunity. It's my playground,” Cook said.
Cook is already getting comfortable not only in Chris Palmer's offensive system, but also in working with new quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.
“I'm just working on that right now and working on getting better. Come Sundays, me and Matt can have our timing down and that can make it easier for the both of us,” Cook said. “It's going pretty good. He's running kind of a West Coast style. It's very up-tempo, something we're really not used to, but it's going pretty good.”
Despite a standout preseason as a rookie and flashes in practice, Cook largely operated in the shadow of Bo Scaife for the past two seasons. That began to change late last year as the Titans slid out of contention, and they decided it was time to give Cook a look. He responded with 29 receptions for 361 yards, not great, but perhaps a promise of better things to come.
The fact that the Titans let Scaife walk away in free agency was another signal to Cook that his time had come. He admits that the wait was tough, because there would be weeks where the Titans would have a package of plays in the game plan for Cook, only to have that thrown out the window on game day when game circumstances changed throughout the course of the contest.
“It was very frustrating. You think you've got some hope. They always tell you that they're going to have plays designed for you and that you're gonna play,” Cook said. “But it's really kind of the opposite end of the spectrum. They kind of had their guys that they worry about, and it's kind of hard to fit you in, which is understandable.
“I mean, my rookie year I had Bo, Alge (Crumpler) and Craig (Stevens) in front of me, so my opportunity for playing time was pretty much limited to special teams. But now, it's kind of clear skies. It's clear for me to go and let the offense be my playground and go out and play ball.”
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