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Taking Cobb Off Returns is Common Sense, Not Cowardly

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Taking Cobb Off Returns is Common Sense, Not Cowardly

As Packer Nation held their collective breath in the middle of yesterday's blowout of the Tennessee Titans, many not only prayed that Randall Cobb would recover quickly from his ankle injury, but began the predictable process of questioning why he was put in a position to get injured to begin with.  After all, the return man for any NFL team runs the risk of getting his bell rung on every play that doesn't end in a fair catch.

However, you may want to avoid asking the question of head coach Mike McCarthy, who snarled when asked if perhaps Cobb should be taken off the return team.  “I don’t understand how you play scared," said McCarthy. "You can’t sit here and say special teams (are) important if you don’t put a guy like Randall Cobb out for a return.”

Now, the man is head coach. However, given the recent Mason Crosby fiasco, just having him get all gruff and ornery on a topic doesn't necessarily mean his viewpoint is the most prudent.

Obviously, McCarthy doesn't like to be second-guessed, and the injury opens up the door for a lot of folks with 20/20 hindsight to question why he places his star receiver in a position where injuries are more prevalent. But common sense observers among fans and the media have had the foresight to mention this many times over the course of the season, particularly as Cobb's role has grown in the absence of Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson (and the decline of Donald Driver).

This was no surprise for most fans and media who had be questioning it all along. The fact it happened while being up almost thirty point in a blowout just makes it a little bit worse.

But, its not just the timing that gets McCarthy flustered. It's the very thought that he shouldn't be putting his starting wide receiver out there every play. You have to remember that Cobb technically started the season as, at best, the third wide receiver and might have been regulated to Tim Tebow-type appearances had James Jones and the other two starters remained healthy and productive all season long. In that case, certainly Cobb could and should have remained as the returner.

But over the course of the season, Cobb has grown into even more than just a starter: he is Aaron Rodgers' possession receiver and security blanket. Jones is the playmaker, for certain, but Cobb is the guy Rodgers looks for when he's in trouble or needs a first down. It's a critical role in the offense, and the offense isn't going to run as well in the post-season without him.

Even more concerning is the becoming-ever-clearer impending divorce from Greg Jennings. Body language says a lot, and when Jennings was clearly upset about being overlooked despite being wide open in the third quarter, Rodgers seemed to try desperately to get him the ball afterwards (getting him a short touchdown). Jennings seemed to refuse to celebrate with Jermichael Finley, and bypassed a Lambeau Leap with the fans.

In other words, you may want to get used to Cobb's name at the top of the depth chart, because that's where he's going to be staying.

Look, McCarthy trying to state that starters on special teams is something all teams do is ridiculous. Why do you think rosters have expanded to 53? Why do we not see Clay Matthews as the gunner on punts? Wouldn't he be the best guy for it? Why do final roster spots come down to which backups can play special teams?

In the 1990's, the Packers had some of the best special teams in the league, led by players like Travis Jervey, Desmond Howard, Don Beebe, Mike Prior, and Bernardo Harris. None of these guys were starters. It was true then, and true today: your depth makes up the bulk of your special teams players.

Now, it is true that, come playoff time, Packer stars such as Charles Woodson and Robert Brooks have taken to the field to return kicks. While some point to this is evidence that starters can play special teams, I would point to it as proof the other direction: you don't put your most talented and valuable players out there week in and week out during the preseason and regular season. When the chips are down and the game is all-or-nothing, pull out all the stops.

In the end, realistically, Cobb is an adequate returner this season. The Packers rank 12th and 11th in kickoff and punt return yardage, respectively. Cobb has scored one touchdown on a punt return, but with the recent rule changes, Cobb gets fewer and fewer chances to make a consistent impact on the game (Cobb ranks 6th in the NFL in fair catches and 14th in touchbacks).

In other words, Cobb's impact on the return game has been important, in that he has sure-handedly fielded punts and kicks and advanced the field position in a positive fashion: which, to be honest, is incredibly important, as we remember not too long ago we couldn't find a player who could even do that.

But since Cobb has not been a Desmond Howard-esque level of returner, his impact on the return game is nowhere near the impact he's having in the regular offense, where he leads the team with 80 receptions and 954 yards. He is the possession, security-blanket receiver for Aaron Rodgers.

It isn't "coaching scared" or cowardly to protect the guy who has ascended to your #1 receiver status over the course of the season, and will likely keep that status for the foreseeable future. And if you have a guy like Jeremy Ross on the roster who can cleanly field the kicks and advance it a decent amount...well, what's the difference between that and what Cobb is offering you?

Nobody...I mean NOBODY...has their #1 receiver returning kicks and punts. It's just common sense, Mike.

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C.D. Angeli is a longtime Packer fan and feature writer at CheeseheadTV.com. He is also the co-host of Cheesehead Radio at PackersTalk.com. Follow him on Twitter at @TundraVision.

Comments (77)

zeke's picture

Disagree completely. First, I don't think Clay Matthews is built for the gunner position on the punt unit;). And I'm not sure what Jennings' perceived pouting has to do with whether Cobb is playing special teams. As MM said, next year may be a different story, but this team was built for 2012 and Cobb on ST has been a huge part of that. And finally, I think the NFC championship game last year is recent proof of how important it is to have a sure-handed punt and KO returner, as you pointed out.

Mike's picture

Exactly! As good as Ross looked, I would hate to see this season wasted because he muffs a punt in the playoffs!

Ron G's picture

Agree. It is ridiculous to think that with 1 game to go and about to start the playoffs, you change your kickoff/punt returner because he might get hurt. Next year they probably will change but not at this point.

T's picture

We signed Cobb as a KR/WR. Next year if we go forward without Jennings, then Cobb can be a WR only. But until then, he is "slash".

CSS's picture

Dynamic players need touches, you don't take away his touches on special teams. Where do you draw the line with risks? Let's stop sending him over the middle, he may get led into a linebacker and crushed. No more backfield options either, running him into the teeth of defensive lineman may get him injured. Hell, I'm all for letting Cobb run only outside breaking routes, off the hashes, so his break leads him directly outside of bounds thus avoiding all physical contact. Safe. Common sense says it becomes overreaction central every time a good player has an injury near miss.

Few guys on a roster are capable of flipping field position off a single touch, Percy Harvin and Randall Cobb are among the few, you don't limit their touches.

Rocky70's picture

A great point & the only one that truly counts. Cobb has 38 kick-returns to go with 31 punt returns to equal 69 touches. He has 80 pass receptions. If he were to be removed from the return duties, GB would be ruducing his touches by almost half. That would be crazy.

It would be like having AR only throw 20 passes a game instead of 30+ to reduce how often he gets sacked.

PacMan's picture

+1

With 1 game to go and hopefully a bye, it should be enough time to practice with the new guy to at least make sure he get's over any starting jitters.

"don't know how you play scared" - That explains Crosby. Every other fan in Packerdom is scared every time Crosby kicks lately. Fear is your friend! It needs to be dealt with, not ignored.

With some of the play calling he's done this year, Crosby, now Cobb issues - you've (unfortunately) got to start questioning MM's role.

Zeke's picture

Wow. Everybody has their own definition of what constitutes success I guess, but it seems to me that McCarthy has done as good or better a job of coaching this year than maybe even 2010. Getting past the fail Mary, the endless injuries, improving team play as the season progresses, winning the division, and doing it with class... On the list of problems this team has, it seems to me MM is at or near the bottom and his role should remain as is.

PacMan's picture

Maybe 'just a bit' overstated but looking back, Packers have crawled back to the top of the division - in spite of themselves sometimes. I just read some article that Matthews (I think) said something like - "last year while we were winning, we let mistakes go but this year we are holding everyone responsible." Virtually nobody agrees with the Crosby decision. Ross looked pretty good and has the credentials. I would definitely try him out more against the Vikings.

toolkien's picture

In spite of themselves? The Packers had a tough row to hoe the first 7 weeks of the season - playing the two opening home games in a short week, then 4 out of 5 on the road, and played several of the top passing defenses in the league to boot. And then the rash of injuries set in just as the schedule was loosening up, but the Packers continued to win, though perhaps not in the grandest of style (to give superstitious people a nice feeling that the Lombardi Trophy was in the bag).

In the short term, as of right now, the Packers are the #2 seed with a 12-3* record. In the long term (since 2009 - regular and post season), the Packers are #1 in W/L record, #2 in point differential, #6 in yardage margin, and tied for #1 in turnover margin. There's a lot of credit for that to go around, and MM gets a slice.

Once upon a time, the Packers gave a coach 9 years and he ran up a team that was 23rd (out of 28) in W/L, 22nd/28 in point differential, 27th/28 in yardage margin, 26th/28 in turnover margin. Even Holmgren was 3rd, 3rd, 3rd, and 7th in the aforementioned margins, in 7 years.

Do you REALLY want to be this persnickety about McCarthy over the call of who the kick returner is supposed to be? Nobody is above some criticism, but sometimes people seem to get carried away. If a coach has the most wins of any team over a 4 year period, he's earned himself some wiggle room.

And back to the tough row to hoe, I get the very distinct feeling that those who are so easy to criticize rarely factor in the resistance against which a certain success is accomplished. Whether people like to hear it or not, when the Packers were on their 19 game winning streak the resistance the Packers were up against, on average, was pretty light. This year has been tougher and the Packers still have been able to (as of now) grab a 2nd seed and a bye.

Now, if the Packers again washout of a playoffs by giving the ball away 3+/4+ times, completely out of character, because they don't seem to be prepared for the upgrade in ferocity of the post-season, then I will be on the same end of the rope of criticism.

bill from jersey's picture

pacman,you are without question doing way to much peyote.MM is a top 3 coach in the league.stick to watching the games and not commenting about them.wow,we should get rid of thompson also...lol. lets hire sherman or ray ro.....nevermind

PackersRS's picture

"Now, it is true that, come playoff time, Packer stars such as Charles Woodson and Robert Brooks have taken to the field to return kicks. While some point to this is evidence that starters can play special teams, I would point to it as proof the other direction: you don’t put your most talented and valuable players out there week in and week out during the preseason and regular season. When the chips are down and the game is all-or-nothing, pull out all the stops."

I think this is the key. He's obviously become a key piece of the offense, so IMHO the answer is to be judicious. Playoffs yes, Regular Season no could end up costing them a spot.

If he's injuried, don't put him out there. If the game is won, take him off. If the game is meaningless, don't use him.

If it's playoffs, if the season is on the line, he's playing.

Fish . Crane's picture

a lot of protections have been put in place re: special teams. I believe it is safer than it was 10 years ago but i'll still take a pass on it.

If we didn't change our kicker...no way we change our return man...this year. Especially since we have our punt return pass play all set up, and our final trick of special teams for the year...the kickoff return drop kick play.

MLecl0001's picture

Some times Packer fans truly amaze me, and not in a good way either. I swear this same argument was being thrown around in the past except for Randall Cobb it was Tramon Williams. Seriously how many Super Bowls have you won? How many 15-1 Teams have you coached at the NFL level? How many of you have had sustained success in the NFL? Since McCarthy has taken over the Packers he has one of the best winning records over that period.

Yet people still whine and complain, they still think that sitting on the couch at home gives them a better perspective of his team. The man just wins, period.

tundravision's picture

Ah.

I happen to know a guy who has won a Super Bowl. He has also quarterbacked a 15-1 NFL team. He also has won an MVP award and is on pace to lead the league again in efficiency rating this year. I supposed that could be defined as "sustained success".

And his feelings on the matter?

"I hope we can get him off special teams soon," Rodgers said after the game.

http://www.foxsportswisconsin.com/12/23/12/Pack-QB-Rodgers-wants-Cobb-of...

And, mind you, McCarthy's own stance has softened on the matter, too.

When Cobb is back on the field and healthy, McCarthy said the team could "potentially" change its special-teams plans.

"We'll see, we'll see," McCarthy added when asked if Cobb would remain the team's kick and punt returner. [same link]

MLecl0001's picture

I'm sorry I love Rodgers, always have. He got me when he said his favorite movie was Princess Bride. But if you think that a player and a coach are the same I don't buy it. No offense to Rodgers, Manning, or Brady but they are great players, leaders, and QBs. However they are not coaches, not yet anyway.

Do I trust Rodgers to lead this offense as a great player, great QB and great leader? Yes I do. Do I trust him to make personnel decisions that effect all 3 phases of the team while balancing both winning now and sustained winning in the future? No.

In that same interview if you listen later Rodgers is asked to compare EDS and Jeff Saturday. His response to that was something along the lines of its not his job to do risk assessment and to make those decisions. He should have listened to his own advise, its not his job.

Leading a NFL team as a Player is much different than as a coach. And any one that doubts the impact of a head coach need look no further than San Fran, Seattle, and St. Louis.

Bomdad's picture

Reminded me of the guy that made a fuss about Randy Moss.

Cobb needs to make returns. Like Harvin and Sproles. It's his role. Going with someone unproven is foolish and special teams makes a huge difference in the playoffs.

tundravision's picture

Did you even read the last part of my last post? MIKE MCCARTHY is walking back his own declaration of Cobb returning kicks.

"We'll see..."

So, if he takes his 90-degree turn and makes it a full 180-degree turn by Viking Day, are you standing by what MM said first, or what he ended up doing?

It's a coward's argument, MLec. Nobody can say anything against what McCarthy said because he's so much smarter than everyone else?

I'm sure you never disagreed with Mike Sherman, who had a far better coaching record than you did sitting on your couch. For that matter, I'm sure you disagreed with nothing Barrack Obama OR Mitt Romney ever said because they both have far better leadership credentials than you do.

The ability to offer constructive criticism is open to all Packer fans, just as it is to all citizens. I disagree with McCarthy's statements following the game. So does Rodgers. And, now, even McCarthy is second-guessing them.

So, what are you going to do if he sits Cobb down on returns? Methodically go search out everyone who disagreed with me and tell them how wrong they are for disagreeing with the coach, even though they agreed with him before?

imma fubared's picture

The Vikes have one person to do that job, his only job and it ain't percy harvin

cow42's picture

you're long winded.

MLecl0001's picture

Honestly I don't care enough to even bother with whatever McCarthy ends up doing. And I don't see him saying "We'll see" as him backtracking.

Who are we going to stick back there? Jeremy Ross? Based on 1 good return and a couple catches? So what happens if we go into the play offs and he muffs one? Are you going to go off on McCarthy? Because even if you don't you sure as hell know most fans who are bitching about him having Cobb return will crucify him for having some PS scrub returning instead of Cobb.

Like I said this argument has been done to death before, except it was with Tramon Williams. Funny enough people were using the same reasons except for defense.

This is a violent game, injuries are going to happen, they suck but you deal with them. I would rather have play makers getting injured playing and not pacing the sidelines healthy. The very fact that he can take it to the house every time he returns is proof enough of his value there.

tundravision's picture

Seriously, MLec? Now you don't care to bother with what McCarthy does? Wasn't his judgment the entire basis for your original disagreement?

That's why its a coward's argument, and why you waste my time chasing your tail to cover yourself. I'd rather deal with 40 people frying me over a griddle with an intelligent counterargument than one person who pull this stuff.

jeremy's picture

You do know what the Princess Bride is for don't you? Probably not...

cow42's picture

stupid movie.

RON's picture

Playing non scared has got people knockout.Playing smart is much better.

Mani's picture

The thing is that Cobb himself has previously mentioned his desire to get off special teams. He felt earlier in the season that he has earned the right to get off returner. P

zeke's picture

I'm not sure that's the strongest argument. I'm sure there are plenty of players who feel they should be playing more, targeted more, asked to block less, etc., because their assessment of their own talents aren't necessarily the same as the coaches. I doubt there is one player on special teams that doesn't feel he should be starting, and you probably wouldn't want players on your team that don't feel that way. Bottom line is that Cobb has had a terrific year, but he is not (yet) indispensable to the offense, due mostly to the other receivers currently on the roster. He is very close to being indispensable on ST however, given the pressure he puts on the other team. Next year that equation likely changes.

Jason's picture

Jezzus balls.

After years of complaining that the Packers don't have a decent returner and lackluster special teams, some Packers fans want to take the best returner the Packers have had since the late 90's off special teams because....he might get hurt.

Why don't we just make Cobb inactive every week? Then he's guaranteed to be healthy.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

:-)... We're never happy. Reminds me of 'The Matrix', when the agent is explaining that they tried to give humans a perfect life... But they rejected it. Needed the turmoil to be happy.

RC Packer Fan's picture

I personally would like to save Cobb for Offense. He has become to valuable on offense to risk on Special Teams. I personally would rather put Jeremy Ross on Punt and Kick returns.
With the injury's at the WR position Cobb really gave Rodgers the stability he needed and now he has become Rodgers number 1 person to look at in key situations.
Right now there is no one else that can do the things that Cobb does on offense and if they lose him, it will dramatically change the offense.
Heading into the playoffs we want to keep the offense going. not take away from it.

imma fubared's picture

Tell MM that he doesn't get it

Mike's picture

It's not that he doesn't get it. Had Cobb rolled his ankle back in week 7 or 8, I'm sure MM would have been fine with replacing him with Ross. But this isn't the time. Don't forget, back in 2010, Tramon was our PR for the entire season. You don't change these kinds of roster spots in week 16.
I'm still pretty surprised MM switched out centers now, as it's pretty late in the year, though I think performance/age/wearing down all had a hand in it.
I do think next season MM & SS will have someone else returning punts - whether it's Ross or someone new (draft/FA) remains to be seen - and Cobb will return occasional punts, like Westbrook later in his career.

Ct Sharpe Cheddar's picture

Randall is also a smart player and a student of the game.He knew on one kick return when the ball is near the sidelines a returner can step out of bounds and grab the ball to make it out of bounds.That is why the Packers were able to start on the 40

imma fubared's picture

WTF - one of my points all year is MM is not a rocket scientists thats for sure. Why risk a valuable commodity in Cobb having him return punts, a job that claims a lot of victims each year. You sacrifice a nobody to do that job.
Now what, Cobb out for the year? Acl? ML? Who knows.
MM just keeps amazing me with his stupidity. hey Mike lets run one back all game until he gets hurt then put someone else in. Ya that's bright

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

"a job that claims a lot of victims each year."

Is that actually true though?

Is returning punts any more likely to get a player injured than running routes or taking a handoff and going? I don't know, would be interesting to see some #'s on it.

murphy's picture

Your command of the English language is bright. Congratulations.

Yes, it's a good thing that the Queens kept Percy off of Special Teams. If they hadn't, they might be missing him right now!

zeke's picture

"MM just keeps amazing me with his stupidity." I'm curious as to what you think their record would be if McCarthy weren't such a poor coach? I don't get to watch the games (or even see highlights)and have to rely on newspaper/internet to get recaps, so I'm asking legitimately. What am I missing, because I haven't read much in the way of the Packers blowing games due to poor decisions, preparedness, play calling, etc.?

Bill's picture

How long has GB gone with out a threat in the return game before Cobb? Special Teams are a big part of any game. McCarthy stupid? HUH???? Find a threat to return kicks who's reliable and smart first, then you can have Cobb.

Bill's picture

Lets see, Jennings, Nelson, Sharpe, Megatron. AJohnson. Rice. Finley. Some names. Point is recievers get hurt all the time. How many returners have been hurt in the nfl returning kicks????? Not too many. I love these guys who call MM dumb. Not a clue Foo.

Mr.Bigg's picture

Wasn't one of the all-time best punt returner's Deion Sanders also a great DB? He returned punts year after year. I don't remember people questioning his coach.

You don't play scared. You play to win.

Rocky70's picture

MM may opt to remove Cobb from returns in season 2013 but giving the role to an unknown just before playoffs is just as MM stated--- 'playing scared'. --- I can imagine the comments here if Ross fumbled away a punt return in game 1 playoffs that would lead to a 'one & out' scenario. That would be a major fail on MM's part.

I have to repeat it. I sleep well at night knowing fans/bloggers have 'zero impact' on the decisions made by the GB hierarchy.

Tommyboy's picture

Do you include yourself in that?

Rocky70's picture

Of course I do. I'm perfectly content letting TT/MM make the decisions. They aren't perfect but they'll only trail Vince when all is said & done (in a few more years).

packeraaron's picture

And I sleep well at night knowing you have no idea why people come to a blog,

Rocky70's picture

And you can kiss it.

murphy's picture

I had an involuntary shudder thinking about the content a Rocky70-run blog would publish.

Thank you for the nightmares, Nagler.

Fish . Crane's picture

Christmas eve and day talk....

Tommyboy's picture

Rock on :)

CSS's picture

CD, not insulting or minimizing your opinion. For me, It's a matter of opportunities for the kid in a stretch run. With this offense and all the options, Cobb is likely to see maybe 10 targets that may be 8 touches a game in prime time. Absent a special teams role, is that adequate? No way. Without Jennings or even Finley next year, his reps and touches increase, then we have this viability discussion. Now, the 2012 squad needs this kid to touch the ball at least 4-8 more times per game VIA special teams.

tundravision's picture

Honestly, I don't disagree for the playoffs, and mentioned it in the original article. But do you but him back there if he is available for the Viking game? Not sure, especially if he's still recovering.

Trust me...I get the "have to get him as many touches as possible". I just don't see the Lions doing this with Megatron or the Cardinals doing it with Fitzgerald.

Heck, even the guys like Welker, Bryant, etc. only return punt, not both punt and kicks. I get the counterargument...I just don't think many people would have really disagreed with my opinion prior to Cobb and McCarthy's statement on Sunday.

CSS's picture

You don't see other teams doing it because they're talent deficient at receiver. Megatron would have 40 fewer targets if he shared the field with Jennings, Nelson, Jones and Finley. Kind of a moot point to compare other situations.

tundravision's picture

But that was my point: had that talent remained all season long, Cobb would still be a role player and a perfect candidate as a returner. But Jennings has been out most of the season and is struggling to regain chemistry with Rodgers. Nelson has been out too, leaving Cobb and Jones as our two primary receivers.

I'm trying to wrap my head around your argument. Megatron is too valuable to put on special teams, but Cobb is too valuable to not put on special teams?

CSS's picture

And my point is you need to manufacture his touches via special teams, especially in the playoffs, when the offense at full force doesn't run through Cobb. He's merely an option then.

Madison GB Fan's picture

Jason Sehorn. That's all that needs to be said. Perhaps one of the best talents at the db position (and the only white starting corner in the league at the time) in the nineties lost his entire career because a coach didn't want to play scared. Football is about numbers. Randall Cobb will score one TD on punt and kick returns for every 10 TDs he scores on offense regularly, and for that reason no one in their right mind would want him on the return game. I have always hated watching talented players risk life and limb on returns, Tramon Williams included. Special teams is just that. For the fill in guys. The guys you'd be able to literally sacrifice at the alter of the football gods and not feel like your general offensive capabilities would be hindered. To those above arguing that Cobb needs more touches, i couldn't agree more...but not on special teams, just throw it to the man. Hell, i don't even like seeing his small frame take hits coming out of the backfield. The reason the NFL is considering eliminating the kickoff is that it's a deathwish. It was even when i played high school ball. If you want to watch a 5'10" talent destroy his career on the field in the name of toughness, you are on the wrong side of history. His name was Jason Sehorn. His name was Jason Sehorn...His name was...

zeke's picture

I think it depends on how much you value special teams. If all you want out of a punt or kickoff return is someone who will catch the ball and nothing more, then I'd agree with keeping Cobb on the sidelines. And if I recall correctly, Sehorn was hurt in a preseason game on a kickoff return after having never been used as a kick returner before. The big question was why the Giants would risk their starting DB in that role given his lack of experience (and therefore production). Cobb is a game-changer on ST. Sehorn never was.

Patrick Duprey's picture

CD: If keeping Cobb on returns makes you write more than once a week here, I'm all for it. :D

But I would tend to disagree with your post, though I think you make a good argument. For one, I think, as others have mentioned, we're too late in the season to consider a change here. At this points, it's got to be full speed ahead, with a bye on the line next week & the playoffs to follow.

In most cases, I disagree with coaching to combat injuries, because you just can't know how or when the injury bug will bite you. I'm all for getting Cobb all the touches we can get him. The rare times he gets in space on a punt return, I know he's at least got a shot to break it. And when was the last time we felt that way about a Packers' returner? Maybe Will Blackmon for a couple-week period, or at least any time he played Minnesota in 2008, but before that? Rossum?

A wise but since departed QB once said, "Super Bowl or bust," and I think that's a good philosophy to coach & play by. Don't leave anything on the field, especially this time of the year.

tundravision's picture

Again, I agree you don't change much when the playoffs start. I don't know if you put him in next Sunday, though. Might be a good time to see if Ross has something to offer. Would be even better if the 49ers game would be done by kickoff, but alas, they're playing at the same time.

24woc's picture

Isn't Ross the guy that had the lateral go right through his arms on the punt return. MM is in a no win situation with the fans. Keep
Cobb in and if he gets hurt, na na na nana we told you so. If Ross is the return guy and he fumbles...why did he replace Cobb? Fans are never happy. Let the coaches coach and you sit back and watch.

Cobb is the best return guy we have (and the smartest), so go with him..if he gets hurt, its part of the game and we'll move on!

(Long winded is an understatement).

tundravision's picture

Ross finished his career at Cal ranked No. 2 on the school’s all-time punt return list with a 15.2-yard average, and 21.6 ypr on kickoffs.

Cobb averaged 9.8 yards on 63 punt returns with two TDs and posted a 24.6-yard average on 44 career kickoff returns at Kentucky.

Ross isn't some "unknown quantity" on the roster. Kid's an experienced returner...and expendable on the offense. You're worried about a fumble on a punt? I'm worried the Packers will be down by six points with under two minutes to play. I would prefer to have my full arsenal at Aaron Rodgers' disposal in that case. So does Aaron Rodgers.

CSS's picture

Graham Harrell destroyed school records at Texas Tech and in the Big XII at the time, threw for far more yards than Aaron Rodgers in college, too. Why are we starting Rodgers? Amateur accomplishments have no bearing on the pro game.

packeraaron's picture

"You’re worried about a fumble on a punt?"

Yes, because I watched the NFC Championship game last year.

zeke's picture

Two, actually. Not to be picky (because Kyle Williams certainly wasn't). I'll show myself out...

24woc's picture

Aren't you the guy that wanted to ride TT out of town for firing MS and hiring MM and not signing Randy Moss, getting rid of Brent Farve etc. etc? Some people think they know more than the GM or coaches...its laughable.

tundravision's picture

I'm the guy that wanted to "ride TT out of town"? Really? I'm sure I must have said those words somewhere. Could you help me locate them? You must have a link somewhere.

tundravision's picture

Incidentally, I'm really not sure how my disagreeing with McCarthy's stance on one particular issue suddenly means that "I know more than the coach". I disagreed, and established the grounds on which I base that opinion.

Come on, people. We're all Packer fans here. Leave the vitriol for the Bear and Vikings fans.

24woc's picture

I shouldn't have characterized it as "riding TT out of town on a rail", but i know you were extremely critical of many of his moves that turned out rather well in the long run. The same can be said for MM...he makes his share of mistakes but over the course of time his decisions as a coach have been reflected in the Packers winning games on the field.
I am all in favor of intelligent discussion and criticism leveled at GMs, coaches and players. It just seems to me that too often fans are in the trying to "fix what isn't broken" mode.
I believe Cobb is the #1 return guy with sure hands and breakaway speed and as such gives them the best chance to win. You can't play the game worried about injuries or you are not maximizing your potential.
Now I can see MM realizing that Cobb is becoming invaluable to the offense and maybe he is grooming Ross to be the return guy of tomorrow....not today. Patience my young butterflies.
I apologize for being a lil harsh, CD, as i really think you put a lot of thought and good rationale into your analysis and i enjoy reading your take on things....after all, as you said, we are all Packer fans.

cd angeli's picture

Thanks 24woc, seriously. Get a little sensitive when the PC Memoirs get played. Appreciate your thoughts.

Look, regardless of what I or anyone here says, McCarthy is going to do what he's going to do, and we're all going to hope it is the right one.

The last thing I'm trying to do is pull a "gotcha" with MM, hoping somehow I'll be "right". Is my opinion edging on the "safe" or "playing smart" side over the "aggressive" or ""playing to win" side? Sure. That's they way I approach the game, and as someone wisely pointed out, I've never won a Super Bowl.

But any criticism I've had of TT and MM in the deep, dark past, I've come to terms with. Some I've been right on. A lot I was wrong on. In the end, I get paid squat for doing what I love to do, which is to write about m favorite team. The feedback I get, positive or negative, is why I do it. Thanks for reading and providing it. :)

Dennis eckersley's picture

Don't disagree with the post necessarily, but Percy Harvin is a number 1 receiver who fields kicks and punts

tundravision's picture

Percy Harvin has never returned a punt in his NFL career.

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/H/HarvPe00.htm

redlights's picture

I've long pined for stats or discussion of special teams. Namely, which blockers missed their guy resulting in poor returns; or if the returner didn't follow his blockers; etc.

My point is that I see Cobb being a sure-handed returner, but one that has lost some speed. My theory is that his increased reps on offense has gotten his legs a bit tired.

So if we're worried about an injury, we need to look at backups. I'd rather have Ross fair catch a few punts if Cobb gets hurt as a receiver; I really don't relish having Ross take targets if Cobb gets hurt on returns.

Bottom line: Give Ross the kickoffs and half the punts against MN; then Cobb for playoffs.

Tarynfor12's picture

The only way all will or may be happy....put Jennings on returns...we got this far without him and would move on without him.Unless of coarse,those who want Cobb protected still value GJ more..I don't and would have no problem having GJ play the return role.

imma fubared's picture

Either that or let this other guy who looked pretty good return the punts. All I know is the Vikings have Sherrel and the only thing he does, the reason he made the team, was to be the punt return guy.
He does not have to focus on anything else, just returning punts. His is gig if you will.

imma fubared's picture

I don't agree with a lot of MM's coaching philosophies period. I believe you keep your running backs fresh via substitution. That way if one gets hurt the remaining player's don't look like a deer in the headlights when you put them in. Yes MM can say they get that experience in practice and probably why all the injuries this year during practice, people are out of game shape and are getting pulled this and that in practice, not on the field.
Second, if Cobb wasn't filling in for Jennings absence, Finley's sporatic play, Driver's inability to play, then being a return guy could suffice but he is way to valuable right now to lose.
I look at, ok he gets hurt, what have you got? He is already replacing people, who replaces him?

Dave's picture

Yeah, I don't agree either. Your argument, while aggressively stated, ... meh! Cobb should also play defense, I think.

retiredgrampa's picture

We MUST win this game!! We need a bye week to get healthy. We need to stay confident going on. If Cobb gives that to us, go with him. No one can predict the future in any circumstancer. We can only play the odds based on past play. Cobb gives us hope whenever and whereever he plays. USE HIM!!

Packerken's picture

I have no problem with Cobb returning Punts and/or Kicks when the game is in doubt (up 2 scores or less). What I have issue with is throwing him out there in the middle of a blow out.

RON's picture

Do not worry about Cobb missing the next game M.M.said Nelson is healthy to return kicks and Matthews can fill in if Nelson goes down.After that we still have Rodgers.HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

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