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Cory's Corner: Randall Cobb Must Reinvent Himself

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Cory's Corner: Randall Cobb Must Reinvent Himself

It’s time to worry about Randall Cobb again. 

The slot receiver is entering his eighth year as a pro and is looking to catch over 80 balls for the first time since 2014. That’s also the last time he was a Pro Bowler with 91 receptions, 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns. Juxtapose that with the last two years, which he has combined for eight scores.

The reason has been injuries. He hurt his ankle in practice last week Friday, which caused him to miss Family Night. The reason why it’s concerning is that the ankle in question is the same right ankle that was placed in a walking boot earlier this summer because he had minor surgery to remove cartilage.

Not to bring up hindsight here, but in the decision to keep Randall Cobb vs. Jordy Nelson, I was firmly in the Nelson camp only because Nelson was showing that he could be a versatile receiver because he showed he could also play the slot. Both have had numerous injury concerns but Nelson isn’t as athletic as Cobb and has put up better numbers than Cobb mainly because he can do so many different things. How good is Cobb without his dynamic and athletic persona? Can he still produce even if his yards after the catch takes a dip? That has happened every year since 2014.

Those are questions that will be answered this year. If Cobb can produce without having to be a home run threat, then the Packers may have reinvented another weapon. If Cobb cannot produce, then the Packers will have spent $12.7 million this season on a wideout that will try to do things that his body won’t let him.

Ankle injuries are a fickle thing. You can hurt it once, but it makes you more susceptible to the next injury. He had ankle problems in 2012 and 2016 and now it’s causing him an issue before this season has even started.

It’s also pretty disconcerting that Cobb was ranked as the No. 33 slot receiver last year — behind Dez Bryant and Nelson. You know who the No. 1 slot receiver was in 2016? Nelson.

Nelson isn’t faster or as nearly dynamic as Cobb but he has been able to carve out a niche in this league because he mastered a route that is nearly unguardable. Cobb utilizes lateral quickness and quick feet to create space.

The time has come for Cobb to reinvent himself. All top athletes must do this. Michael Jordan knew he couldn’t keep beating up his body in the paint into his mid thirties and developed a mid-range jumper. Peyton Manning reinvented himself after having four neck surgeries and was fine playing on a Denver team that stressed defense and running the ball.

Cobb is an excellent option for Aaron Rodgers, given his 71-plus catch percentage the last two years. But now, he’s going to have to change his philosophy. Instead of catching a ball three yards shy of the sticks on third down and relying on his edge speed to do the rest, now he will need to get to the marker first.

Seems simple, but understanding limitations isn’t always easy.


Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He is also nearing completion of a master's degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter @Coryjennerjohn

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (42) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Guam's picture

With the youth and inexperience behind Adams and Cobb, both veteran wideouts will need to be healthy and good this year. Either that or Gute needs to go shopping again. Given limited cap space (TGR: about $10 mil?) and a need that has already developed at ILB, it would be much better for the Packers if Cobb has a solid year.

The TKstinator's picture

I usually save all my “worry” for tomorrow.
(Which never comes.)

dobber's picture

<patting seat next to me> Got a seat saved for you on the worry bus.

The TKstinator's picture

Gracias, amigo!

The TKstinator's picture

2nd last paragraph: does 18 (or any receiver) have the option to adjust his route like that? Isn’t that what causes 12 not to trust them?

LayingTheLawe's picture

Exactly my thoughts TK. It is not like Cobb chooses what route he wants to run on a given play. If it had said the coaches need to use Cobb differently that would be all right but to say Cobb has to do something is incorrect.

cap&#039;n kirk's picture

Cobb is what he is - an overpaid #3 option in this year's offense, who has limitations due to his size & injury history. His hands are elite, as he has one of the highest catch % in the NFL, so that's what most hang their hat on. Hopefully he can stay healthy, catch 80 or so passes, & help the team win games; regardless, this will be his last year in GB.

Gutey is going to have A LOT of money to play with next offseason, once Cobb, Clay, & possibly Perry are off the books.

dobber's picture

"Gutey is going to have A LOT of money to play with next offseason, once Cobb, Clay, & possibly Perry are off the books."

If Cobb and CMIII have productive years (especially CMIII in Pettine's defense) I wouldn't be at all surprised to see them back in GB, only at a lower cost. Cobb hasn't shown productivity during the lifetime of his contract to match his pay rate, but look at what the Vikings just paid Stefon Diggs. The pay rate and the cap have caught up to WRs, now. Who knows what Cobb brings as fair market value in the offseason. Don't get me wrong: the Packers are much better off if one of these young WR steps in and becomes a useful slot receiver (I'm betting on Moore, myself), but Cobb could be back.

As for CMIII, the Packers have painted themselves into a corner at OLB/edge. Is CMIII producing at the rate he's being paid? Not the last couple years, no. But they might be forced to bring him back or extend him by a year or two, especially if he looks good in Pettine's defense. Unless he shoots up a McDonald's or blows both knees out, Perry's going nowhere until after at least the 2019 season with the needs the Packers have at OLB/edge and the dead money he'd incur on the cap.

Todd Nicholas's picture

The pass rush will be better Rodgers is saying he's been dealing with a lot of free run blitz because schematically the defense is better dom used a lot of safety and corner blitzes that are delayed cause they are too far away from scrimmage and are better used on 5 and 7 step drop backs when teams went vertical more play action used more today game you barely see 7 step drop back and less 5 step back drops most offenses commonly use 3 step some 5 and see a lot of 1 step drop backs offenses are more spread out short passing game watch the tape big difference in how offenses are ran today dom never adjusted players confused on what to do communication was horrible cause dom allowed the other coach's also tell them what to do pettine is one voice only with communicating play after the super bowl teams studied us and dom never adjusted McCarthy never really did either but he's got Rodgers easy to run offense when you got elite talent like rodgers

Since &#039;61's picture

Deleted double post, sorry. Thanks, Since '61

Since &#039;61's picture

Todd - I think that you are new here, so Welcome to CHTV. If you are going to continue posting here I would recommend and appreciate it if you would sprinkle some punctuation marks into the comment box first and then put your words in between them. Thanks, Since '61

Jersey Al's picture

Todd, if you want to be taken seriously here, please use punctuation.


The TKstinator's picture

I miss Doug’s ramblings.

cap&#039;n kirk's picture

What would Perry's dead $ hit be, if they cut him after this season?

ShanghaiKid's picture

@capkirk I believe his dead cap hit in 2019 is 11M. According to over the cap:

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

$11.1M ($3.7M cap savings) assuming he is cut before a $4.8M roster bonus is paid in March of 2019. That would leave us without Perry and CM3 would be a FA unless he was extended at some point.

ShanghaiKid's picture

@TGR, thanks for clarifying. I figured if anyone could provide detailed insight on that it would be you.

dobber's picture

They could designate him a June 1 cut and split his hit over 2019 and 2020, right?

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Ah, someone who can clarify even further. Indeed they could. That would increase Perry's cap savings from $3.6M to $7.3M in 2019, and punt $7.4M in dead money into 2020 (the first year of AR's franchise tag, unless or more likely until he signs an extension). A minor note is that none of the cap savings would accrue to GB's salary cap space until June 1. That only matters if we are trying to sign an expensive FA in March. If designated a post June 1 cut, the roster spot opens up right away and Perry can sign with another team right away, but Perry's $14.7M cap hit stays on our books until June.

Hawg Hanner's picture

The Pack is going to need that cap space as it is improbably to get edge rushing talent via the customary draft position. Will have to go the FA market at great cost. Randall Cobb is a great guy and I hope he earns his contract this year but it looks like his body has taken a beating and he's not the same guy who had the breakout season. It seems we have some rookie talent that could be good down the line.

dobber's picture

This isn't about reinvention. That would imply that he's doing things and filling roles in the offense he's never been asked to fill before. This is simply about production.

"Instead of catching a ball three yards shy of the sticks on third down and relying on his edge speed to do the rest, now he will need to get to the marker first."

Routes are run to the depth called and adjusted to the depth given by the defense. If the defense isn't giving the marker, he's not likely to run the route that deep because the catch isn't likely to be there.

The TKstinator's picture

^^^Great minds once again.

dobber's picture

No...just an inability to read other peoples' posts very closely.

4thand1's picture

Cobb will be reinvented by 12.

dobber's picture

Cobb's target rate when #12 is playing is very high. He could easily have an 80 catch season this year.

LambeauPlain's picture

I do think the run game will be more potent this was good last year even after Rodgers went down.

Mercedes Lewis was a great get! The three RBs are all different looks for a defense and will keep them off balance. Once the D is looking run, the playbook opens up for Rodgers.

I believe this will play right to Cobb's strengths...his short field quickness to create space and catch balls. Having Graham in the middle will create additional space and coverage problems.

I don't think Cobb needs to "reinvent" his skill set....he needs to take advantage of it more than ever before.

Since &#039;61's picture

LambeauPlain - great post and I agree completely. Thanks, Since '61

Duneslick's picture

I think for Greenbay the pass opens up the run. Their Off line are not good run blockers Much better pass blockers

LambeauPlain's picture

Just found an opposing view to this analysis and supports what I believe.


Bearmeat's picture

I tend to agree more with what the Fansided article is saying over Corey.

That said, I do think Fansided is a bit rosy when it comes to Cobb. He has had exactly one excellent WR season. Just like Perry at OLB. Both have strugged with injuries too.

Cobb can't reinvent his game, because he was never a world class athlete. Jordan was.

Since &#039;61's picture

Cory in your last sentence, I think you are saying that; "A man's got to know his limitiations". Harry Callahan (Dirty Harry) played by Clint Eastward in Magnum Force. Thanks, Since '61

Cory Jennerjohn's picture

Nicely done Since ‘61.

I haven’t seen that in ages.

Since &#039;61's picture

Thanks Cory. Since '61

The TKstinator's picture

Looks like the cookie giver is the recipient this time!

Since &#039;61's picture

TK - I’ll take it! Thanks, Since ‘61

LayingTheLawe's picture

How about: "I only drive as fast as I can see, and besides it's all in the reflexes anyway." Jack Burton.

TheBigCheeze's picture

.....Gute has done well so far.......EXCEPT for cutting Jordy.....BIG MISTAKE!!!!!

PatrickGB's picture

Todd, I think I understood your post. Good job. Next time put a few commas in it. ;-)
My guess is that MM preferred Cobb over Nelson because of Cobb’s versatilit and Nelson’s age.

LayingTheLawe's picture

The Packers apparently believed Cobb can still run, cut, and get open and that Nelson was done and could not. I guess we will see how that works out in Green Bay and Oakland this year.

dobber's picture

Maybe the Packers felt that they needed to keep at least one of the two vets and that the younger Cobb would get them a better comp pick when he walks?

mamasboy's picture

" Use his edge speed to do the rest" I can't get the sight of a linebacker chasing him down last season, when he had like an eight yard head start, out of my mind. Cobb has great hands and Rogers likes the way he gets open when he's in trouble, speed is just not his strong suit. They may have kept the wrong guy.

The TKstinator's picture


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