Tight end Jared Cook is on pace to establish career highs in catches, yards and touchdowns.
With four games remaining in 2013, he already has more reception yards (557) in one season than any Rams tight end since the team moved to St. Louis in 1995. He needs eight more catches to establish a “St. Louis” Rams single-season high for receptions by a tight end.

And he leads the 2013 squad in receptions (40) and yards 12 games into the season.

Nonetheless, the prevailing opinion is that Cook has had a disappointing first season with the Rams after signing a five-year, $35.1 million free-agent deal last March following his first four seasons in Tennessee.

In a sense, Cook is victim of his stellar Rams debut. In the season opener against Arizona, he caught seven passes for 141 yards and two touchdowns. The 141 yards was an all-time single-game record for a Rams tight end.

That is what’s called setting the bar high.

“What that game did for him is, obviously, it made people aware of him,” offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said. “He gathers a lot of attention in the passing game, but we’ve got a lot of weapons. The design of the plays is with multiple progressions in mind, and sometimes he’s not the first progression and he’s open and the ball goes someplace else.”

But Cook has caught only two TD passes total over the next 11 games, and caught no more than five passes for no more than 80 yards in any other game.

“If you know football, everybody knows it’s any given Sunday,” Cook said. “It’s going to be hard to put up numbers like that every single week — just in terms of how defenses scheme and how defenses play against you.”

Even so, Cook concedes that he expected more from himself.

“Some games just got away,” he said. “Some games you feel like you could’ve played better. A lot of times there’s nothing you can do about it. You’ve just got to keep playing and keep pushing forward.”

He takes little solace in the fact that he’s the most productive tight end in the 19 seasons of the “St. Louis” Rams.

“That doesn’t make me satisfied at all,” he said. “I just have to improve in the areas of my play because I feel like I can help this team some more.”

The to-do list is wide-ranging, from being more physical getting off the line of scrimmage, to becoming more consistent catching the ball, to improving his blocking.

For several weeks after that dashing debut vs. the Cardinals, Cook found himself at the top of the opponent’s scouting report. Atlanta in Week 2 had a linebacker mug him on the line of scrimmage with safety help over the top.

“Yeah. But that’s what defenses are for,” Cook said. “They get paid to stop us, and they get paid to put in schemes for their players to stop us. It’s tough.”

All in all, it has been a season of adjustment for Cook, and in some ways the receiving corps as a whole.