3 LA Chargers who have really started to struggle down the stretch
By Jason Reed
3. Jared Cook
Jared Cook was someone who I did not love when the LA Chargers signed him in the offseason. Granted, I was someone who was willing to pay Hunter Henry because I thought the injury-prone narrative was overblown, but that is neither here nor there. When it came to Henry replacements, Cook was not someone who I was overly excited about.
The signs were there with Cook. He is 34 years old and is a vertical tight end. It is really hard to be an effective vertical tight end when the athleticism just is not there anymore. His numbers were consistently going down in New Orleans and we have seen that be the case in LA this season.
Cook started off the season strong and it looked like I was ready to eat crow. He was by no means an elite tight end, but he was a reliable target for Justin Herbert that knew what he had to do in Joe Lombardi's offense. In his first eight games this season, Cook averaged 3.4 receptions per game, 38.5 yards per game and caught 64.3% of his targets.
Those numbers have gotten much worse over the last seven games. In those seven, he is averaging 2.4 receptions and 25.1 yards per game with a 51.5% catch rate. It is more than just the numbers going down, though, as we have seen Cook give up on plays several times that have cost the Chargers big time.
In fact, both the pick-six against New England and the pick-six against Houston can be pinned mostly on Cook as he either gave up on his route (see below) or did not know what was going on, in the case of New England.
Not only has Cook been really frustrating to watch but it has also been frustrating to see the Chargers make him such an important part of the offensive scheme when there are so many better options on the team.