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Cleveland Browns: Youngstown State RB Jamaine Cook Shines in Disappointing Preseason Loss
By Sam Ingro
The Cleveland Browns have had their fair share of injuries this season, but none more disappointing than that of losing running back Dion Lewis. After a promising start to the preseason, Lewis suffered a season-ending fractured left fibula, which he recently had surgery to repair. The injury only added to the quickly depleting position, after Cleveland already lost Montario Hardesty for a few games to arthroscopic knee surgery.
To increase their depth at the position, the Browns looked to their roster history for answers.
To add to the mix of Trent Richardson, Brandon Jackson and Miguel Maysonet, the team decided to bring back OTA invite and local Youngstown State product, Jamaine Cook. An undrafted free agent that we had an exclusive interview with in the offseason, Cook showed a lot of promise before being cut before training camp.
In his first taste of preseason action, Cook entered the game in the third quarter Saturday night against the Indianapolis Colts. In a game that featured a very stagnant and vanilla Browns offense, Cook provided a spark and reliability that had not been seen that evening. In limited action, he rushed the ball two times for 11 yards, a 5.5 average. He also caught the ball three times for 24 yards, an average of eight per reception. The numbers do not even paint the full picture, however, as one impressive run for a first down was negated by a holding call on the offensive line.
While the offense stalled under Jason Campbell, as it had all night, it showed flashes while Cook had the ball. With nine minutes left in the game, Cook came up with a big 3rd and 10 reception, making two players miss to get the first down. More importantly, he showed good vision with the ball, and his ability to take contact and keep his legs moving is sure to impress the coaches.
When the Browns originally brought Cook into camp, they were well stocked at the position, which included Richardson, Hardesty, Lewis, Jackson, Maysonet and Robbie Rouse. His chances of making the team as an undrafted free agent were slim to begin with, so it was not a huge surprise that they kept the more established players.
“I would definitely say I was kind of heartbroken, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise because I feel like I’m in a better position than I was before.” said Cook. “It’s exciting. I look at it as another opportunity to make my stand and prove I can play with the best of the best and contribute to this team. That’s kind of how I feel. Whatever happens, happens. There are no guarantees in this league.”
At 5’9″ and 210 pounds, Cook stands an inch taller than Lewis, while weighing in at nearly 15 pounds more. While Lewis utilized mainly his speed to give defenders the slip, Cook’s build brings a physicality to the position that allows him to shed tacklers and break through initial contact. For him to make the opening day roster, Cook will need to have another strong performance this week in practice, as well as Thursday against the Chicago Bears. Right now, it is all a numbers game in Cleveland, but this time, those numbers are on his side.
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