Assistant General Manager and Vice President of Player Personnel, Glenn Cook (8.30.23)

Was there an opportunity to trade for Nick Folk?

“You know, we took a look at all our options. We’re always kind of canvassing the landscape to make sure we put the team in the best position we can. We tried to evaluate everyone that was available or could be available. I wouldn’t speak specifically to any names, but we definitely were canvassing the landscape.”


Are you pretty sure this kicker (Dustin Hopkins) is healthy? 

“Yeah, I mean, we did our due diligence there, and we feel good that he’ll be ready for Week one.


Glenn it seems like the kicker market this year especially, has been heavily volatile. Is that kind of a new trend, that teams are a little quicker to kind of pull the trigger? 

“There’s a lot of movement out there, obviously. So I think teams are doing what we’re doing and trying to be aggressive and make sure they’re ready to compete Week one. I can’t speak to what their decision making was, but there definitely was a lot of movement.”


How hard is that decision for your organization when you invested pretty highly in Cade (York) just a year ago.

“They’re all tough. It’s really tough. Cade is super competitive. He cares a lot. I’m sure he wanted things to be different. I think everybody’s disappointed, probably, with how it played out, but all these decisions are tough when you’re trying to make these type of calculations.”


What do you like about Dustin Hopkins over some of those other guys that ended up on the market? 

“Yeah, Dustin’s a pro. The big part of the job is making kicks. We feel like he’s done that in his career. We feel like he’ll come here and do that for us.”


But some of those other guys, Nick Folk, certainly, he’s made a lot.”

“Yeah. That’s not to take anything away from them, right? I’m just speaking specific to Dustin. You know, we just feel confident that when duty calls, he’ll come in and make kicks.”


How do you balance that decision between pulling the trigger on a trade versus maybe waiting for guys to be cut or waived? 

“Yeah, that’s a good question. Like I said earlier, it’s tough. And you kind of have to get a pulse of where your team is and understand what your needs are currently and then try to factor in the long term as well. And I think Andrew (Berry) did that, Kevin (Stefanski) and the organization took all that into account.


When you set to bring in a quarterback to the practice squad, was experience a top priority? 

“I think experience is great. If you look throughout our defense, too, Rodney (McLeod) has brought great mentorship to that group. Up front–Dalvin (Tomlinson), now having Shelby (Harris). So just whenever you can add guys who played in this league, understand what it’s like to play 17-plus weeks, that adds value to your team and to the players. So, yeah, that’s something you consider I think across all the positions, but we like PJ (Walker). We like what he’ll bring to that room and kind of how it’s rounded out, and so we feel good about that.”


Could you take us through the decision to switch out AJ Green for the kid you claimed from Kansas City?

“Yeah, I mean, Khalef (Hailassie), you know, he had an interception. Well, he almost had an interception against us, and he played well. It’s really just, again, you’re always trying to make sure the roster is as robust as possible, and AJ (Green), in terms of special teams, coming in as a CFA (college free agent) himself, did a lot of good things for this team and this organization throughout the couple years. But we just, thought Kahlef is a really talented guy, and we kind of loved his prospect and bringing him in and hopefully him contributing at some point.”


How hard did you try to get Cade (York) signed back to your practice squad, and how did you feel about him signing instead with the Titans practice squad? 

“Yeah, I think you can understand him maybe wanting to go somewhere else and maybe get a breath of fresh air, for lack of better terms. So, look, we want him to do well. I don’t think anyone who plays this game or is a part of this game wants guys to fail, so I wish him the best, and we’ll see how he does.”


You have two undrafted free agents that you’ve signed to this defense with Mahmoud (Diabate) and Ronnie (Hickman). Last year D’Anthony (Bell) How does work? I imagine once they get in here, it doesn’t matter. Rookie or draft pick, drafted or undrafted in terms of…

“First, it’s a credit to just the group calling out the college scouts first. I told them this earlier this camp that they’re like the first layer of skin for us, so they got to absorb some things and information and provide us with that, but also protect us. Right. So I think they did a great job of putting us in position to be ready post draft to sign guys like Mahmoud and Ronnie. And we saw the talent, we saw the potential, and then they came here and they performed. So I think it started with them and just the coaching staff doing a great job of getting those guys ramped up, putting them in position to make plays, and then ultimately they did it.”


How quickly did you kind of jump on them after the draft ended? 

“Specifically to both, I think were really excited about getting both. It’s a wild, wild west post draft. So I think you got to be aggressive with anybody that you’re interested in. And those two, we definitely put our gas down on the pedal to acquire them.”


The period of time between roster cuts and getting guys on the practice squad, what’s that like for you guys when you’re kind of just waiting around to see if you guys are going to be able to get the guys that you want back on the team?

“It’s a lot of hurry up and wait. Obviously, there’s a lot of names to go through in terms of the wire, and again, just making sure that we haven’t missed any players who could potentially be available or someone we can add to practice squad. So it could be long hours, the last couple of days, really just trying to make sure we cross all our T’s and dot the I’s in that process. But it’s also fun, right? That’s why I do the job. I think that’s why our group does it. We love trying to dig up players and give guys to our coaching staff to hopefully put them on the field and help us be productive.”


When you guys made the trade for Elijah (Moore), did you envision him having what looks like it’s going to be really multiple roles under Kevin’s offer?

“I think going back to just what Elijah did in college and just his ability to make plays. I think you guys have seen he’s a really good route runner. His hands are exceptional. So you know, whenever you have a talented player you want to give him the football. I think it takes time, and he worked his way in throughout the spring, and we didn’t rush it. And now I think you guys are starting to see how Coach could potentially use him and just the whole core throughout the season.”


How difficult was the Austin Watkins decision having to run out of rostering for him, but at least you were able to get him back on this practice squad. 

“It’s tough. I mean, you guys saw we worked him out maybe two and a half weeks ago, maybe three weeks, and it was a really good workout, but you never know how guys are going to play in the preseason. And I told him myself, I was like, man, to see you take hold to the opportunity. It goes back to whether you’re a CFA or a draft pick. Once you step between the white lines, it’s all about who can make plays and who can produce. He did everything you could ask him to do. It just doesn’t always work out. I think we’re glad we got him back. There’s probably a chance for him to go some other places, but we’re going to keep working with him. You never know, like, you guys have seen it. You get to Week 10 and a guy like him may have to step on the field, and I think we’ll see, we could be comfortable with that.”


He was buried on that Birmingham team. He was like the fifth receiver. Did you guys see any of his games or did you go back? 

“Yeah, our pro staff, led by Adam (Al-Khayyal), did a great job with that. But even going back to him in college–he flashed. There’s a lot of traits in his body: he’s a big guy, he has great hands–I think you all see that–he’s a good route runner. You want to work with that, you want to work with those type of tools and traits, and so just throughout the process we’re always tracking it, we’re always trying to stay on top of it and we were just fortunate to get him in for a workout, he’s on our team and he’s made plays.”


I have one more question about the practice squad. Is it getting guys who are familiar with what you want to do? Does that way heavier than maybe some other guys that might have more talent? 

“I think you kind of factor it all in, right? You want a balanced roster period and obviously that’s probably the first place you look to when you have injuries or you need to pull someone up to play in short order. So yeah, you factor that in but that’s not the only thing. Talent still is the price of doing business in this sport. So it’s a blend, I think it’s a blend of both.”


I mean it seems like every team does that. You got twelve guys back. 

“I think it’s a little bit of like, hey, you want to make sure one, you still see the traits and the capabilities that you saw that made you want to sign them, right? And hopefully they’ve grown and developed throughout the time and so now you’re saying, hey, let’s stack on that throughout the season and see if we can continue to grow these traits.”


How about Dorian (Thompson-Robinson) heading into the season as an inexperienced rookie quarterback? 

“Yeah, I think, look, Dorian did what we asked him to do. He came in, I think we know quarterback’s the toughest position to play in all of sports and he just put his head down and he worked right and we’re just going to continue to and do that. We don’t know the future, we don’t know if he needs to play a snap, we don’t know if he needs to play 1000 snaps. I think what he will do is just work, hopefully continue to make plays, continue to improve. That’s all we can ask of him, whether he’s a rookie or 10th year player, hopefully he still has the same approach that he has right now.”


So do you see PJ. Walker just a scout team quarterback ? 

“No, I think it’s just building out the room again, you never know. I wish we could hoard 100 players, given how we face injuries and the attrition in the sport. So we just want to make sure the entire room roster is built out as robust as we can.”


Given the new rule, will he be active?

I think that’s up to Kevin (Stefanski). Maybe, we’ll see.”


Denzel (Ward). This is the fourth time he’s gone through this concussion protocol. How concerning is it from the organization’s perspective? 

“I’ll let Kevin handle that. Like I think he answered that earlier. I’ll let the medical group determine where we are with Denzel. I know the team’s getting ready for Week One. I’ll leave it at that.”


Did we pick the right Maurice Bassett award winner in Dorian Robinson, outstanding rookie in camp. 

“He had a great camp. I think you all saw it. We had a couple of guys who I think would be in the running so I don’t think you can go wrong .But credit to him again for just the things he did throughout the last month.”


What about this practice squad kicker, real unknown guy. You guys obviously know something about him. 

“Yeah. I think we’re going to continue to just look at all the positions. He’s one that we kind of noticed as someone we wanted to see and take a look at. So we’ll continue to just look at the last game.”


Luke (Wypler) didn’t play any guard at Ohio State. That transition, did you guys kind of talk to him during kind of the pre draft about potentially playing some guard? 

“Honestly, I don’t think that was the particular conversation but I think once you get him in and you see how he works and honestly how he performed at center, we know at the O-line you want to make sure you have enough flexibility and versatility. So it’s one of those things where the preseason is an opportunity to try a few things out and I think he opened our eyes to a few things and we’ll keep working with him at that.”


With Jedrick (Wills), how confident are you with him and where you think he’s at?

“Jedrick’s been locked in. I think he’s quietly had a really good camp look. Look, left tackle is a tough position to play. We got three of our four first games against the division, so I think he’s going to be ready to put his best foot forward.”


How much has he grown since his first game? 

“It’s crazy just seeing not only him but just like that class four years from now. It’s really tough to come into this sport, play your first year as a rookie and continue to evolve in that space. So it’s just been really good to just see Jed stack days. I mean, now he’s pretty much a vet and hopefully he continues to just develop and flourish.”



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