Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio announced Wednesday morning that rookie Connor Cook will be the team’s starting quarterback Saturday in their first postseason game against the Houston Texans.
Cook, who is making his first career NFL start, is the first quarterback to ever do that in a postseason game.
The reason he is making the start is because starter Derek Carr left the team’s Week 16 game against the Indianapolis Colts with a broken fibula that required surgery. Backup Matt McGloin then got the start in his place against the Denver Broncos in Week 17, but he had to leave the game with a shoulder injury leaving Cook as the team’s only healthy quarterback.
After Wednesday’s practice Cook talked about making his first career start in a postseason game, via Raiders.com:
“I’m just embracing the opportunity. Going to go out there and have fun, let it all hang out, and obviously prepare my butt off, do what I’ve been doing all season long and just go out there and have fun with my teammates.”
It is important for a quarterback to develop chemistry with his wide receivers in practice, something Cook said he has not done much of with Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree:
“A little bit here and there in practice. If it’s just routes on air, if we’re doing quarterback drills and they’re just spot catching, stuff like that. That’s really all the chemistry I’ve had with them or opportunities to work with them in practice in drills like that.”
Both Cooper and Crabtree are extremely talented receivers that had over 1,000 yards receiving in the regular season, so that should help Cook out Saturday afternoon.
In his only NFL action against the Broncos Cook completed 14-of-21 passes for 150 yards and a touchdown, but he had both an interception and a lost fumble in the game.