According to ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky, the Green Bay Packers believe wide receiver Randall Cobb has a good chance to play in the Week 1 opener at Chicago after tests confirmed a sprained shoulder. This likely means Cobb only suffered the Grade 1 sprain of the AC joint, although it’s unlikely that the Packers will ever reveal such detailed injury information.
Cobb initially feared that he had broken his collarbone after he laded on the shoulder after attempting to catch a pass along the sideline on the third play from scrimmage. Eagles cornerback Eric Rowe landed on Cobb’s shoulder as well, which also gave reason to worry.
The person who should be breathing the biggest sigh of relief is head coach Mike McCarthy, who irresponsibly had Cobb and Eddie Lacy in the meaningless game to begin with. McCarthy would have gotten ripped to shreds if Cobb had suffered a serious injury and rightfully so.
I’m in the school who hates second guessing head coaches, but this was an easy first guess. With Aaron Rodgers on the sidelines, what was Cobb possibly going to gain playing with Brett Hundley? How is that gain worth more than the possible risk? The same goes for Lacy. What was he to gain running behind a line minus three starters against perhaps the best front three in the NFL? Predictably, Lacy had no chance in the run game and took unnecessary hits. The Vikings have it right by never playing Adrian Peterson in the preseason, and he turns out alright every regular season. Lacy takes and gives out enough punishment in the regular season.
McCarthy has seemed to take the approach of wanting to play the starters more this preseason to try to get off to a faster start.
“You have to play football, said McCarthy. “It’s nonsense to think you can just go and not play your starters throughout preseason. It’s not practical. We all signed up for four preseason games. That’s what it is.”
That’s all well and good, but common sense has to come into play at some point. There was none of it used in playing Lacy and Cobb. College teams also manage without any preseason games at all.
The reality is that the Packers have gotten off to mediocre starts in recent seasons due to tough schedules and not because of rust from not playing enough in the preseason. In 2012, the Packers lost to San Francisco and at Seattle in the first four games, it was losses at San Francisco and at Cincinnati the following season and last year it was losses at Seattle and at Detroit. All of these losses were very tough matchups and all but one on the road. There wasn’t much shame in suffering losses there.
This year will be different and the Packers should start faster, but again it will be because of the schedule and not preseason playing time. They get Seattle at home this time, four of their first six games overall are at Lambeau Field and the two road games are at Chicago and San Francisco — both of whom are projected to have poor seasons.
If Cobb was out for the season it would have been basically season over for Green Bay. Maybe with them dodging bullets on Cobb, Bryan Bulaga and Micah Hyde it means their injury luck might be turning around this season.