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Bills RB James Cook motivated to 'keep producing' amid recent burst on offense

Buffalo Bills Week 15 Practice, Regular Season, December 14, 2023 at 1 Bills Drive.
Buffalo Bills Week 15 Practice, Regular Season, December 14, 2023 at 1 Bills Drive.

As the Bills exit the practice field, the ADPRO Training Center is filled with noise. The backup quarterbacks head towards the end zone with a few receivers to some get extra reps in, the defensive line jokes around with each other and even running back James Cook, who is known around the team for being one of the quieter players on the roster, can be seen smiling after a good day at practice.

Cook has evidently stacked together some good practices, or at least that's what watching his game tape might suggest.

Across the Bills' last four games, Cook has averaged nearly 116 total yards per game as he continues to be a threat as both a rusher and pass catcher. The second-year running back has been elusive and explosive, as seen in his 25-yard touchdown catch against the Kansas City Chiefs last Sunday.

Cook ran out of the backfield unnoticed, and Josh Allen hit him in stride. As he crossed the goal line, Cook front-flipped into the end zone and handed the ball to a Bills fan who had made the trip to Kansas City.

The Bills ran a similar play in their 37-34 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles two weeks prior, and Cook dropped the pass that would have led to a walk-in touchdown.

"It's been a lot of ups and downs during the whole season. But I try to stay steady and whenever my name and my opportunity presents itself, I try to answer the bell," Cook said.

The running back answered the bell plenty of times against the Chiefs, averaging 9.4 yards per touch and playing a crucial role in the Bills' nail-biting conference win. Over the past four games, Cook has averaged around 6.5 yards per touch.

For Cook, his motivation to keep performing on the field is simple.

"The more you produce, the more the ball is going to find you so I just try to keep producing and making plays for my team," Cook said.

While he's certainly been busy on the field this season, Cook isn't likely to be found out on a Friday night. The running back painted himself out to be a homebody, saying that when he isn't at the facility, he likes to "chill with my daughter, and that's about it."

Setting up the run game will undoubtedly be a key to Buffalo's success against the Cowboys, who rank near the middle of the league with 106 rushing yards allowed per game. The front four for the Cowboys, led by defensive tackle Osa Odighizuwa and edge Micah Parsons, are well-known for their dominance in the pass rush, but pose a serious threat in the run game as well.

"They come off the ball, they fire off the ball, they're very good players and you just have to be ready to go," Cook said of the Dallas D.

Stefon Diggs, who Cook said has been like a brother to him since the running back has entered the league, expressed Thursday that he is also ready to go as the Bills face his brother's team. Dallas cornerback Trevon Diggs will not be playing in Sunday's game due to a torn ACL earlier this season.

After starting the season with five games with over 100 yards across the Bills' first six games, Diggs' production has slowed down relative to his hot start. In three of the last four games, Diggs has been held to under 35 receiving yards despite having a steady target share.

"It's rough man. They've been doing a good job, especially when you put those first seven to eight games on tape and what you like to do," Diggs said. "We just got to continue to make plays and I guess spread the ball around. We've been winning so far. In a perfect world I want the ball, I want to have success but at the end of the day, we're winning games and that's what I have to tip my hat to."

Diggs is known for being animated on the sideline, often seen cheering on the defense or speaking with an offensive player about a previous drive. As a team captain and one of the primary motivators on the Bills sideline, Diggs said his focus is on helping out the team whether or not he's getting catches.

"When it does happen, of course I'd be frustrated, you all know how much of a competitor I am and I like to play at a high level and I always want it to happen," Diggs said. "But I gotta shake back because I always look at it like, my team needs me. I'm more than just an individual trying to play, I try to encourage guys, I try to motivate guys and I can't be at a low spirit or a low energy at any time in the game."

Scroll to see photos from the Buffalo Bills Week 15 practice as the team prepares to take on the Dallas Cowboys.

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