Cook Shakes Off Jitters to Play Well in Raiders Debut

Quarterback, a fourth-round pick, has solid outing to build on recent strong outings in training camp

For now, it doesn’t appear as if Connor Cook will unseat Matt McGloin as the Raiders’ No. 2 quarterback.

McGloin, Oakland’s backup to Derek Carr the past two seasons, was outstanding in a short stint against the Arizona Cardinals Friday night in the team’s exhibition opener, throwing two touchdown passes.

But Cook, the Raiders’ fourth-round pick from Michigan State, also looked strong in his pro debut, despite admitting to being nervous.

Cook completed 7-of-11 throws for 71 yards – with no TDs or interceptions – after taking over from McGloin in the third quarter of the Raiders’ 31-10 victory.

Recently, Cook reportedly has looked much sharper in training camp practices, and carried that over to his play Friday night in 20 snaps on the field.

“I thought Connor played good, especially for his first live action as an NFL quarterback,” head coach Jack Del Rio told reporters.

Cook told Jimmy Durkin of the Bay Area News Group that offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave kept things simple for him in his debut. Cook rated his own performance as “good.”

He also acknowledged his receivers were making good plays against second- and third-team defenders.

“Coach Musgrave was calling a lot of quick-game stuff, so I could get the ball out of my hands fairly quick,” Cook told Durkin. “Guys were open. It wasn’t like there was super, super tight coverage, and guys were making plays after the catch.”

Cook’s biggest completion was a short pass to rookie running back DeAndre Washington, who raced 32 yards.

In the days leading up to Cook’s debut against the Cardinals, Raiders quarterback coach Todd Downing told the Bay Area News Group that Cook struggled early in training camp but learned from his mistakes, settled down and has improved.

“What’s very impressive about him is that he bounces back from struggles,” Downing said. “He moves forward and presents himself well as a seasoned player coming from a big program like MSU.”

Cook and the Raiders will get their next opportunity Thursday night in Green Bay against the Packers.

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