What Does the Loss of Brandin Cooks Mean for the Saints?


Nov 9, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Brandin Cooks (10) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers during the second quarter at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

After 11 weeks of play, the question “Can things get any worse?” basically sums up the New Orleans Saints‘ season.  From disappointing losses to uncontrollable injuries, the Big Easy is beyond frustrated with the way the ball has bounced for its football team.

The latest of misfortunes being the blow to Brandin Cooks that landed the first-year wide receiver on season-ending inured reserve after suffering a broken thumb during Sunday’s embarrassing loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.  That injury was complemented by a broken leg for safety Rafael Bush, who was already in as a season replacement to Jairus Byrd.

While there seems to be a backup plan in place to Bush and the defense with last week’s signing of Jamarca Sanford and the addition of Pierre Warren from the practice squad, New Orleans still has to figure out how to replace the talented Cooks.

Through ten games, the wideout from Oregon State was off to an outstanding rookie year, tallying 53 catches for 550 yards and three touchdowns.  On top of that came seven rushes for 73 yards and a score.

Cooks, who is second on the team in receptions, is QB Drew Brees‘ go-to guy after TE Jimmy Graham.  Unfortunately that “is” is now a “was” as he will not see another snap until the 2015-16 NFL season.

What does the loss of Brandin Cooks mean for the Black and Gold?  It means hello, Robert Meachem.  It means how have you been, Joe Morgan?  It means welcome to the huddle, Nick Toon.  It also means you might want to snag up Kenny Stills (if available) for those of you struggling at the wide receiver position on your fantasy football teams.

Meachem has been limited to just five receptions in 2014.  Morgan, who just came off of suspension, has just one catch all year that came last week against the Bengals.  Toon has been a no-show all season long after a disappointing start to his career.

We can also expect to see a little bit of rookie WR Jalen Saunders, who the Saints signed from the Seattle Seahawks‘ practice squad Wednesday afternoon.  He was a fourth-round draft pick by the New York Jets, but was cut by the team in September.

With the necessary speed, Morgan is the likely candidate to fill on for Cooks, or at least he should be.  If he keeps his head on straight and stays out of trouble, I believe the team will make the right decision to utilize him the correct way.  They really have no choice now.

The loss of Brandin Cooks obviously means that it’s time for these other guys to step it up and prove they’re capable.  There are still six games to be played, and New Orleans still somehow has a shot at taking the title as NFC South champions.

Cooks absence does not mean the team is doomed, but does mean the team as a whole will need to work harder and start playing better football.  With the season far from over, it will certainly be interesting to see what kind of approach head coach Sean Payton and offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael take.