FB Jameel Cook is familiar with the Bucs' offensive schemes from his first five seasons in the league
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers found a solution to their present fullback shortage by going back to the recent past…and, no, it's not Mike Alstott.
In a week that will end with the Buccaneers paying tribute to Alstott on Sunday night, the team brought back one of his former backfield mates in fullback Jameel Cook. Cook was signed on Wednesday to bolster a fullback position that has been thinned considerably by injuries to B.J. Askew and Byron Storer.
Askew has missed the Bucs' last three games with a hamstring injury and is a question mark for Sunday's contest as well. The team had been relying on Storer in Askew's absence, but the second-year fullback sustained a season-ending knee injury last Sunday against Carolina. Storer was placed on injured reserve on Wednesday, making room for Cook on the roster.
Cook, a free agent after being released earlier this year by the Houston Texans, is a perfect fit for the Buccaneers' current situation thanks to his familiarity with the team's offensive scheme. Drafted in the sixth round by the Buccaneers in 2001, Cook spent his first five NFL seasons in Tampa, the last four under Head Coach Jon Gruden.
At 5-10 and 237 pounds, Cook is a powerful lead blocker and a good pass-catcher out of the backfield. Though the has just 14 career carries for 43 yards – 11 of those coming during his two years as a Texan – Cook owns 81 career receptions for 486 yards and three touchdowns. In his last season with the Buccaneers, he helped the team average 114.1 yards per game and 4.0 yards per carry.
Cook played in 72 games during his first five years with the Buccaneers, starting 17 of them, and was a member of Tampa Bay's 2002 Super Bowl-winning team. He appeared in 27 games with six starts during his two full seasons in Houston.
The Bucs gave themselves some more flexibility at the position, at least during midweek workouts, by also signing first-year fullback Ryan Powdrell to the practice squad. Powdrell, a former linebacker who made the switch to fullback as a senior at USC, spent last season on Green Bay's injured reserve list.
The 5-11, 260-pound Powdrell began his collegiate career at Saddlebrook Community College in Mission Viejo, California but later transferred to USC. He played linebacker in 2005, recording 10 tackles as a reserve defender and special teams performer. After switching to fullback in the spring of 2006, he ran twice for nine yards and caught four passes for 72 yards in two games before sustaining a season-ending knee injury.
Powdrell went to camp with the Packers again in 2008 but was released in late August. To make room for him on the practice squad, the Bucs released former USF linebacker Ben Moffitt. Moffitt had been signed to Tampa Bay's practice squad last week.