New York Jets: B/R Exclusive Interview with Jets Safety Emanuel Cook
Emanuel Cook has bounced around professional football for the past few years, but finally seems to have found his landing spot with the New York Jets.
The 23-year-old safety and special teams star was kind enough to answer a few questions over e-mail regarding the lockout, his expectations and even which quarterback he most wants to intercept.
Cook comes across as someone who has his eye on the prize, and will take on whatever role is given to him as long as it helps the team.
It is always great to hear what a professional athlete has to say about the upcoming season, and I think Jets fans will be very happy with what Cook has in mind.
A very special thank you must be given to Cook, who took time out of his busy Memorial Day Weekend to answer these questions for me.
As always feel free to comment below, and check the last slide for ways to interact with Cook.
On the Lockout
Q: What have you been doing to keep in shape during the lockout?
A: I took a few weeks off after the season ended, but I’ve been working out consistently since. I do various workouts including personal sessions with a trainer, field drills, beach workouts and swimming. Kenrick Ellis and I went to college together and we're from the same town, so we work out together as well. I mix it up, but I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life right now. I’ve also been studying my plays.
Q: As someone who has played in the UFL before, if the NFL lockout persists would you consider playing elsewhere?
A: At this point I’m optimistic and hopeful that there will be a resolution to this dispute. I want to play football and I want to win the Superbowl with the Jets this year. Every day as I train and prepare that is what I’m focused on.
Q: Ray Lewis recently told ESPN if there is no NFL season, crime rates will go up. Do you agree with him, and how do you think a season will affect the general public?
A: I want to play football. The players want to play football. I can’t speculate on crime rates, but I do think it will have a negative effect on society. Football is America's sport. People wait all year for it. I hope for the fans this can be resolved as soon as possible so that we can get back to work and bring them what they deserve.
On Making the Jets
Q: How exactly does an undrafted player make a NFL team? How were you able to catch the Jets eye?
A: I met some scouts at my Pro Day and after not being drafted the Jets signed me as a UDFA. I stayed with the team through the end of preseason in '09, but didn’t crack the 53-man roster due to depth at the position. I went to Tampa’s practice squad where I stayed until June '10. In July '10 Rex brought me back for training camp/pre-season for a second time and I did well, but again depth at the position left no room for me on the 53.
I went to the UFL to stay focused and in shape mentally and physically. When I got the call from the Jets in December, the third time was the charm, and I was ready to go. My work on special teams helped me get the spot. It was a long road to get there, but I know I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.
There are many successful players that weren’t drafted and have become stars. Look at Jim Leonhard who is really a role model to me and a leader of our defense. Also, Bart Scott was undrafted as well and he’s been to the Pro Bowl and is another leader on our team. At this point I’m focused on growing with the Jets and becoming a player of that caliber.
Q: At only 5-foot-10, how do you compensate for the size advantage many receivers have over you?
A: I’ve been playing against people who have a size advantage over me my whole life. I’m not sure how I compensate, I just do my job the best I can and I’m confident up against any matchup I receive. I’m a hard hitter. That’s what I do. That’s what I’m known for. I’m a very physical player and I think that it helps me out. Trust me, if they catch a hit by me, they aren’t going to be thinking about their size advantage!
On Rex Ryan
Q: How authentic was the Rex Ryan the entire country saw on HBO, is he that way in practice every day?
A: Rex is always real. What you see is what you get and he’s really a phenomenal coach and motivator.
Q: How do the styles of Rex Ryan and Raheem Morris compare considering they are probably two of the biggest "player's coaches?"
A: I have the upmost respect for both coaches. They both bring a passion to the game which is contagious. I was only with Tampa for a short amount of time relative to the three stints I’ve had with the Jets, so I’ve spent more time with Rex and I can say that his leadership and ability to connect with his players is unmatched.
On the New England Patriots
Q: If you could intercept one quarterback of all time, who would it be and why?
A: Wow … that’s a tough one. Lets go with Tom Brady and lets make that a goal for this season!
Q: Do the players on the Jets and Patriots hate each other as much as the fans do, or does the media play it up?
A: I can’t speak for other people, but I don’t "hate" anyone. We compete for a living and Football is our life. There’s a strong rivalry there, but there’s also respect as a player, a coach and a Man. I want to beat them and beat them bad each and every time we play them, but I don’t wish anybody harm personally.
On His Role with the Team
Q: The Jets obviously have a lot of questions at safety with Brodney Pool being a free agent and Jim Leonhard coming back from a broken leg. How do you think you fit into the plans and what do you see your role being come Week 1?
A: I will be there to do my job, the very best I can, each and every day. When they need me to step up, I step up. I think I’ve started to prove that and I will continue to do so. Whatever task or job that comes my way, whether it be on special teams or as a safety, I’m ready for it. I prepare day in and day out so that when that whistle blows I’ll be mentally and physically prepared. I want to have a key active role in our defense.
On the Superbowl
Q: The Jets have made the AFC Championship the past two years but have lost both times. What has been the roadblock and how will the team attempt to overcome that this season?
A: I can’t speak for when I wasn’t there, but regarding this year, we just came up short. Sometimes in football things happen that are hard to explain. The first half wasn’t a reflection of the level of play we are capable of whatsoever. We came back out in the second half and played our kind of game, but the clock ran out. Everyone is working hard in the offseason and ready to get to the Superbowl this year. I’m confident we can do it.
Q: What game are you most looking forward to this season and why?
A: Honestly, I'm looking forward to the Superbowl. I know we can get there. This our year.
Interact with Emanuel Cook
Emanuel was not only nice enough to do this interview, but he would also like all the New York Jets fans out there to know that you can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org and he will send you a personalized autograph.
Cook is also on every form of social media and is great at interacting with fans.
You can reach him on Twitter here: http://www.twitter.com/emanuelcook27
You can see his videos on YouTube here: http://www.youtube.com/officialemanuelcook
You can even like him on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/OfficialEmanuelCook