One of the biggest bright spots in the Buffalo Bills’ 31-23 win over the Cleveland Browns was the performance of rookie running back James Cook. The second-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft had 86 yards at a 7.8-yard per-carry clip on 11 carries. This game shows Bills fans what they can look forward to in the future with Cook as his role in the offense increases.
Cook’s speed beats pursuit to edge, with a stiff-arm cherry on top
Cook shows off some pretty good speed on this run. At the snap, Cook runs right and beats Jadeveon Clowney to the edge. As Cook runs up the field, cornerback Denzel Ward pursues him with an angle. Cook outruns the angle and gives Ward a stiff arm to finish off the run.
More speed to the edge, with yards after contact added
On this run, Cook gets the ball on a toss sweep going left. As Cook runs to the edge, the linebacker pursues him with an angle. Cook outruns the angle again, and then runs through the shove of another Browns linebacker for extra yards.
Cook’s one-cut explosiveness on display
The Bills start with a more traditional look on this play, with quarterback Josh Allen under center and Cook in the backfield. Once the play starts, Cook explodes through the hole. He shows nice speed as he is running up the field away from Browns defenders.
Cook can also run patiently when needed
Cook showed great patience on his run here. At the snap, Cook stops his feet and surveys the blocking on the offensive line. He then runs left through a small hole with a lot of bodies around him. Cook continues to run through a little bit of contact before he is brought down.
It’s important to remember that the Browns are not a particularly good defense when it comes to stopping the run. Still, you have to start somewhere. You can see the development and growth of Cook. His first-ever NFL carry was a fumble; fast forward weeks later, he is rushing for almost eight yards per carry in the thick of a competitive AFC East division race.
Let me know in the comments: does Cook need more carries? And if so, how should the Bills go about getting him more touches?