Dalvin Cook struggles in Ravens debut despite silly NY Jets narrative

Dalvin Cook wasn't very good in his Ravens debut
NY Jets, Dalvin Cook
NY Jets, Dalvin Cook / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages

When former NY Jets running back Dalvin Cook took a fourth-quarter handoff for a 19-yard gain in his first carry as a member of the Baltimore Ravens in Saturday's playoff win, the NFL world was prepared to ridicule the Jets.

The narratives had already been set in motion. "The Jets wasted Cook." "Cook is already thriving now that he's away from the Jets." The social media posts and ESPN talking points wrote themselves.

Everyone was ready to crown Cook and clown the Jets. But then the rest of the game happened.

Cook carried the ball seven more times after his initial attempt (mostly in place of Gus Edwards, who briefly exited with an injury). He finished the game with eight carries for 23 yards, meaning that on his subsequent seven carries, he only managed four yards.

But maybe Cook was simply a victim of stacked boxes? After all, the Ravens were essentially running out the clock at this point in the game. That's not exactly what happened, as Cook actually recorded -8 RYOE (rushing yards over expected) on Saturday.

This means that Cook averaged a dismal -1 RYOE per attempt in his Ravens debut. This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who watched Cook play football this year, however.

Dalvin Cook predictably struggled in his first game away from the NY Jets

Cook was arguably the least efficient running back in the entire NFL over the course of the 2023 regular season. The former Pro Bowler averaged an abysmal 3.0 yards per carry and ranked dead-last among all running backs in RYOE/attempt.

This wasn't exactly surprising, either, as Cook finished last among all NFL running backs in RYOE the previous season as well. Despite his gaudy box-score numbers in 2022, Cook was one of the least efficient running backs in football.

Meanwhile, Cook lost out on snaps to the much more talented and productive Breece Hall. Hall finished fourth among ALL players in the NFL in scrimmage yards in 2023, second to only Christian McCaffrey among running backs.

Hall was one of the best running backs in football in the same situation that Cook was arguably the worst. If anything, Cook should've been used even less during his time in New York — or, in a perfect world, just not signed at all.

So, no, the Jets didn't waste Dalvin Cook. He's not immediately thriving in a new environment. And no, the Jets didn't ruin Cook — he was already washed before he signed with the team.

Ignore the narratives you might see after Cook's initial carry with the Ravens. He was quite bad on Saturday, just like he's been all year.