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Offseason | 2024

Cooks looking for 'huge' second year in Dallas


FRISCO, Texas — This time last year, things were a bit different for Brandin Cooks than they are this time around.

Sure, he was still the veteran in the room helping to mentor the younger guys – much like he is still doing today – but getting accustomed to a new environment and a new offense provided its challenges that he doesn't have to face this offseason. This year, the focus is building on his performance in Mike McCarthy's offense from 2023.

"Having a season under my belt with Dak, started slow that first half of the season but we picked it up," Cooks said. "I think, overall as a team, we know what we have. Continue to focus on the task at hand and let everything else take care of itself."

Cooks and a young receiver corps headlined by Jalen Tolbert, Jalen Brooks and Ryan Flournoy have been the benefactors during OTAs from CeeDee Lamb's absence as he awaits a new contract extension with the team. Those opportunities, Cooks said, are invaluable to build rapport with Dak Prescott for whenever Lamb does make his return.

"I think it's huge during this time of year," he said. "To be able to get these valuable reps, especially these guys that just came in or the guys that may have not gotten many reps with Dak last year. These are important to be able to create that timing before training camp."

Cooks admitted that his start to the 2023 season, along with the rest of the offense, wasn't ideal. This time around, it'll be increasingly important for the Cowboys to start hot with the tough part of the schedule frontloaded in 2024.

"I think this time of the year we're in review mode," he said. "We've got a year under our belt learning the offense. To be able to pick that pace up, I think that's going to be huge. When you come out week one, you gotta be able to hit the ground running rather than work out those kinks."

Going into 2024, the opportunity for Cooks to expand on his 54-657-8 stat line from his first season in Dallas exists. And while he is taking it upon himself to bring the younger group of receivers to a veteran mindset along with him, he is ready in his own right to take the next step.

"I'm ready to rock," Cooks said. "Don't get me wrong, I'm a leader but I'm a playmaker. I just look forward to getting this season going and hit that stride that I know I'm capable of in this offense."

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