It was late July, the bikes were lining up at the Lambeau Field gates, and Training Camp was just getting started. A long-time fan favorite in the Green and Gold then posted on his Instagram, “I’M COMING HOME!” The Green Bay Packers had sent a sixth-round draft pick to Houston in exchange for Randall Cobb. This brought the Wide Receiver back home to Green Bay where he spent his first eight seasons in the league, after a two-year absence.
Social media was flooded with highlights of Cobb’s previous time in a Packers uniform. Reporters were stating that Aaron Rodgers had a true slot receiver weapon once again; the first since Cobb’s departure. But after only 28 catches on 39 targets that resulted in 375 yards and 5 trips to the endzone, it left many wondering, was the weapon truly back?
The 2021 season is now in the past, and Randall Cobb has restructured his contract so that he may remain in Green Bay for the 2022 season. So, will we see the Randall Cobb of old become a factor for this year’s Packers?
Looking to 2022
After the departures of receivers Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, the experience in the Packer’s Receivers room took a hit. The addition of veteran Sammy Watkins may help, but the Packers will definitely count on Cobb to lead the room. This is especially obvious given that he’s the most experienced with the four-time MVP QB Rodgers. Cobb also has a bit more experience with Head Coach Matt LaFleur’s playbook than Watkins has. This playbook experience may benefit Cobb heading into year 2 of his return.
When Cobb arrived last year, he had to cram the playbook immediately into his head, as he only had a month to be ready for Week 1 of the Regular Season. Given his short preparation time, he still managed 11 catches for 157 yds and 2 TD’s in the first five games. But everyone knew that Randall Cobb could do better. Cobb was absent on the field during times many knew he likely should’ve been reeling in catches in key situations.
How will it happen?
This year, Cobb will have a full year under his belt, and a soon-to-be full offseason with LaFleur’s system. I think we see Randall Cobb on the field more this year with the Packers’ Offense than we did last.
Will we see a return to Cobb’s 2014 or 2015 season form? I don’t know about that, but I think we could see Aaron Rodgers rely on his old friend Cobby to bail him out a lot more this year than we did last.
Running Backs Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon have proven themselves enough as receiving threats that we shouldn’t count out Randall Cobb starting a few plays in the backfield. This could place Jones or Dillon at receiver where they have excelled when called upon. With miss-matches in coverage, Cobb can still be a threat to get that easy first down. We might even see an explosive play or two down-field. There is no question that Cobb isn’t just here to be a teacher, he’s here to win.
When second year receiver Amari Rodgers was drafted out of Clemson, comparisons to Cobb were immediately drawn. How could they not? After all, Rodgers idolized Cobb and had a great relationship with him after Rodgers’ father coached Cobb at Kentucky. Before we knew it, Cobb returned, and many said “Who better for Amari Rodgers to learn from than Randall Cobb?”
Of course, Randall Cobb learned from some of the best pass-catchers to put on a Packers uniform. Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, James Jones, Jordy Nelson, does it get much better than all of those names in a receiver’s room? So, Cobb knows the value of learning from your predecessors.
Many of those great players lead by example and Randall Cobb will likely do the same. In the film room, he’ll use his experience to help Amari Rodgers and any other young receivers learn to perfect their game. On the field, he will show them first-hand how it’s done as he’ll surely be a reliable target for Aaron Rodgers in key situations. Maybe we’ll see Cobb in the slot or in the backfield on some plays, and then Amari Rodgers in the same position the next drive. Who knows, maybe we’ll have a little fun and see both of them in the backfield together, that could surely make things interesting.
This year, I think we’ll see Randall Cobb in two forms. The first where he’s showing the young guys how it’s done and the second where he’s making sure his Franchise QB has a security blanket. Either way, I’d bet on Randall Cobb having a better season this year than last, if he can stay healthy.