New Packers TE Jared Cook connects quickly with Aaron Rodgers

Remember how quickly Jared Cook made an impact in his first training-camp practice with the Green Bay Packers back on Aug. 9?

Three plays into that practice, Cook caught a 20-yard pass from quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

The same thing happened in their preseason debut together. On the Packers’ third play from scrimmage on Friday night against the 49ers, Rodgers fired a slant on third-and-3 that Cook caught and turned into a 19-yard gain. The 6-foot-5, 254-pound tight end proved to be a difficult cover for San Francisco 49ers linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong (6-foot-3, 220).

Although it was his only catch from Rodgers in their two series together in the win over the 49ers, Cook caught three more passes and finished with four catches for 54 yards. All four of his grabs were for first downs. Two of them came on third down and another on a fourth-and-4 that went for a 12-yard gain from backup Joe Callahan.

“I think he’s going to be a good part of our offense,” Rodgers told reporters after the game. “He made a lot of plays out there. Did a good job on the basic route on third down that I hit him on, made some contested catches tonight, which was nice to see, and he did a good job with the ball in his hands.

“He’s a big body who has some athleticism and did a good job with his stiff-arm on his catch on the sideline, that was impressive to watch. But it’s going to be fun for us to grow that chemistry over the season. We need him to stay healthy. But he made some really nice plays tonight.”

Cook’s debut with the Packers was delayed by foot surgery in June. The free-agent pickup this offseason started training camp on the physically unable to perform list and missed the first two weeks of practice. Cook caught two passes for 16 yards last week against the Raiders, but Rodgers did not play in that game. So Friday’s game against the 49ers was his first chance for live action with his new quarterback.

“We’re just still just trying to build our chemistry,” Cook said in a sideline interview during the game broadcast. “It’s communication, verbal and nonverbal, us talking through things and working together. It’s all about timing -- him knowing where I’m going to be and me knowing where he’s going to put the ball.”

Packers coach Mike McCarthy used Cook often in a two-tight-end set with Richard Rodgers, who caught just one pass for 8 yards Friday. Cook and Rodgers had a combination block that helped spring Eddie Lacy’s 21-yard run on the second series.

The Packers gave Cook, an eighth-year veteran, $2.75 million in a one-year contract because they think he can add a down-the-field dimension to their offense from the tight end spot not seen since Jermichael Finley’s neck injury in 2013.

“He’s been making some plays at practice," Rodgers said. "And it’s fun to see it show up in the game."