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‘Everyone is Buying In’: Texans WR Brandin Cooks Sees Unselfish Roster

Veterans aren’t required to attend voluntary OTAs. Houston Texans receiver Brandin Cooks isn’t like most veterans.

Cooks chooses to be the leader on the field and in the locker room for the Texans entering his third season with the franchise. He wants to see better results in 2022 after some moderate development down the stretch from last season.

One thing Cooks noticed early on practice is the willingness of players in practice. For the first time in what feels like ages, there’s an urgency at practice for Houston.

“The biggest thing that I see right now is that everyone is bought in and everyone’s unselfish,” Cooks said Tuesday following practice. “I think that’s where a great offense starts at, just unselfishness.”

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Since his arrival in 2020, Houston has won a mere eight games. Four came under the likes of Deshaun Watson and four came with Tyrod Taylor and Davis Mills splitting reps.

Mills is looking to build off last season in which he finished second among rookie passers in touchdowns (16) completion percentage (66.8) and passer rating (88.8). Houston spent the offseason making sure to fortify the offense in free agency with additions such as running back Marlon Mack, offensive lineman A.J. Cann and retaining tight end Antony Auclair.

In the draft, the Texans general manager added weapons such as Alabama receiver John Metchie III, Oregon State tight end Teagan Quitoriano and running back Dameon Pierce. The Texans also added protection in the trenches with the addition of Texas A&M offensive lineman Kenyon Green and LSU offensive tackle Austin Deculus.

“We’ve got a lot of special guys on this side of the ball that we added, not just at the receiver position but in the backfield, whether it’s from tight ends, the offensive line,” Cooks said. “I think Nick did a great job in the draft and free agent-wise.”

New coach Lovie Smith laughed when asked about the urgency of the team in practice, wondering what was missing last season. Then again, he can see it too. Of the 90-man roster, roughly 95 percent of players were in attendance because they wanted to be there.

Those are promising numbers for a team looking to take the next step in returning to contention.

“That urgency to get it better, to correct some things, and I think just knowing, too,” Smith said. “We brought back a lot of guys, the core of our group was brought back this year for setting that tone. There is a sense of urgency for us to get it right and be ready.”

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