Jared Cook’s play was one of the more exciting elements for the Tennessee Titans preseason as the rookie tight end led the club with 17 receptions.
But as Cook appears to be readying for his NFL debut this week, the third-round pick from South Carolina is taking a relaxed and calm approach.
“I’ve just got to be ready regardless. I can’t get caught up in the hype and the surroundings and stuff. You’ve just got to focus and go play,” Cook said.
Cook practiced or a second consecutive day on Friday and will officially be listed as questionable for Sunday’s home opener against the Houston Texans. Since spraining his ankle on Aug. 29, Cook had been a spectator and missed last week’s opener in Pittsburgh.
He commented earlier in the week that it was getting lonely on the sidelines. But as the week has gone on, Cook is finding friends again.
“It’s been a little bit more exciting [this week]. I’m glad to be able to get in a little more work and get a little bit more action in practice and stuff,” Cook said.
Titans coach Jeff Fisher said he expects Cook to be able to handle whatever is thrown at him in his first game, judging from the rookie’s demeanor and his preseason production.
“We’re not concerned about Jared. He handled himself well in preseason. He’s calm. He knows what to do. He’s not going to be overwhelmed by anything,” Fisher said.
Cook’s potential return comes at a good time for the Titans, who could be without Bo Scaife this week. Scaife is doubtful for Sunday’s game after injuring his knee against Pittsburgh in the opener and has not practiced all week.
“Everybody’s got to step up. I don’t think there’s pressure, it’s just that everybody has got to fulfill their roles and doing what they’re called on to do,” Cook said.
Cook saw what fellow rookie Kenny Britt accomplished in his debut, with four catches for 85 yards, including a 57-yard reception. Cook was impressed with how Britt prepared himself and how his work paid dividends.
“Kenny balled out and did his thing. No matter what, you’ve got to be know your stuff and know what to do,” Cook said. “A perfect example, Kenny knew his stuff and knew what to do. He went out and did his thing. The better you are prepared, the better you’re going to do.”
Veteran Alge Crumpler, who has taken the rookie under his wing, seems to have confidence in Cook’s ability to produce.
“He just gives us some more versatility. He’s not afraid to stick his head in there if we ask him to make certain blocks,” Crumpler said. “And as you’ve seen all preseason, he’s able to make plays in the passing game.”
Asked how he thought he would do, Cook said, “I’m still getting it down and still learning. I still haven’t played my first game yet, so we’ll see.”
Linebacker David Thornton, who has been out the past two practices with a knee problem, returned to the practice field and took part on Friday. He is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game with the Texans.
Punter Craig Hentrich (back) is listed as probable.