With scarce opportunities in New York, Dalvin Cook kept one eye on Baltimore this season. So when Cook was granted his release from the Jets to join a contender, he knew exactly where he wanted to go.
Cook told reporters Thursday that he had opportunities to join other teams last week, but coming to Baltimore was a “no-brainer.”
“I’ve been watching them all year to be honest. I’m a fan of L, a fan of Zay Flowers, a fan of a bunch of guys on the team,” Cook said.
“Plus, when you look at the film, you see holes that big [spreads hands wide]. You see the guys up front moving people. For me, it’s always been electric getting behind a line like that. When the opportunity opened, I was ready to go.”
Cook joins Gus Edwards, Justice Hill and Melvin Gordon III in the backfield, and Head Coach John Harbaugh made it clear Wednesday that Cook isn’t just an insurance policy. Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken backed that up, saying they view Cook as a legitimate weapon in the playoffs.
That’s what Cook, 28, was throughout his career in Minnesota, where he topped 1,000 rushing yards each of the previous four seasons. His 2023 regular season with the Jets was a challenge, however, as Cook got just 67 rushing opportunities and had 214 yards.
Cook said the only thing that kept him grinding was his 4-month-old son. He said he feels “refreshed” now in Baltimore.
“Mentally, it was different for me not getting carries. Some games, I didn’t touch the ball at all,” he said. “But I feel like I grew as a man and I grew as a player. It’s just a bigger chip on my shoulder. I’m ready to show the world I’m still here.”
For now, Cook is on the practice squad and trying to pick up the playbook. The Ravens’ first-round playoff bye is allowing him time to get his feet under him with the hope of being elevated for the playoffs and making a difference.
“I’m going to work my tail off,” Cook said. “I’m going to lay it on the line for these guys.”
Cook said he’s been playing against Jackson since they were in high school. They also overlapped for two years in the ACC in college, with Cook at Florida State and Jackson at Louisville.
“He’s been doing the same thing at every level – being dominant, being him,” Cook said. “It’s good vibes, good energy here – a bunch of great guys, good locker room.”
Mike Macdonald Appreciates John Harbaugh’s Guidance During Coaching Carousel
As he reportedly draws interest from teams looking for a new head coach, Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald said he appreciates having Head Coach John Harbaugh as a mentor.
Macdonald has reportedly been requested to interview for head coaching positions with the Panthers, Commanders and Titans. Macdonald and Harbaugh discussed the NFL interview process during their flight to Houston on Monday to watch Michigan win the College Football National Championship.
“We had a great conversation on the plane, just very thankful about his support that he’s given to me and probably the other coaches as well,” Harbaugh said. “He’s been awesome.”
Macdonald confirmed that he’s already had Zoom conversations with teams at night after his daily work is finished.
“This is the first time I’m going through it,” Macdonald said. “Our focus right now with our guys is trying to improve and really stay sharp and ramp up and make sure we’re on our A game next weekend.
“When we’re here, that’s what we’re focused on. Fortunately, I can compartmentalize and work on the zooms and things that happen at night.”
Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken has reportedly been requested to interview with the Panthers and Chargers for their head coaching vacancies.
“It’s not hard, because I’ll be able to talk about [coaching interviews] at a proper time when it comes up,” Monken said. “The bottom line is we have a chance to do something special here. Our team and our focus is on this week, where we’re headed, finding out this weekend who we’re playing [in the Divisional round] and then coming up with a great gameplan giving us the best chance to be successful next week.”
Charlie Kolar Returns to Practice
Second-year tight end Charlie Kolar returned to practice on Thursday after not participating the day before.
Five Ravens remained absent from practice: wide receiver Zay Flowers (calf), outside linebacker Odafe Oweh (ankle), cornerback Marlon Humphrey (calf), and linebackers Malik Harrison (groin) and Del’Shawn Phillips (shoulder).
Wide receiver/returner Devin Duvernay (back), who is designated to return from injury, practiced for the second straight day.
“I think you guys know how I feel about him,” Special Teams Coordinator Chris Horton said. “I know how our team feels about him, and I know how the guys outside feel about him. He’s a heck of a player, and just to have him back out there running, it just goes to show to what we do fundamentally across the board with the depth.”