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In Cobb's Eyes, McCaffrey Is Shining the Brightest

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In Cobb's Eyes, McCaffrey Is Shining the Brightest

How the Packers handle their influx of talent at the wide receiver position come the September 2nd cut-down day—or even before then—is likely going to draw in a hoard of mixed reviews.

From 6-5 ½ Michael Clark to golden-boy Max McCaffrey, there's no denying that the cluster of receivers is creating even more of a challenge for general manager Ted Thompson and his front office crew.

There's no certainty at any position in the NFL, but there are players whose roster spots are all but solidified and likely have been—and will continue to be—for an extensive period of time.

Randall Cobb is one of those players, and from the seventh-year receiver's perspective, McCaffrey has been exactly as advertised and has stood out to Cobb the most.

Why? His reasons were seemingly endless.

"He's shown up every day, he's done everything right, he's answered all the questions right in meeting rooms, he's practiced really hard, he's played well in games," Cobb said of the second-year McCaffrey. Someone who Cobb claimed has had "a great camp so far."

McCaffrey catching a pass in the Packers' preseason loss to the Denver Broncos. (Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports)

McCaffrey hasn't gotten into the end zone through the Packers' three preseason games, however, his seven catches on his 12 targets that totaled 81 yards is apparently enough live-game action to help support Cobb's opinion. Chances are, Cobb isn't the only one who feels that way either.

As for No. 18, he enters 2017 still sporting his honorable, yet, arguable title as the league's top slot receiver. It's where he's made his money the last few years—$10 million to be exact—and where he'll likely continue to thrive in his seventh season.

He didn't skip a beat in the Packers' wild card win over the Giants back in January, not even after missing three games during the regular season with hamstring and ankle setbacks. He missed the final two games of the season before returning for the aforementioned playoff game in which he caught three touchdowns.

It's the end of August, but all signs are pointing towards Cobb staying upright and continuing to prove as a valuable, off-the-grid asset to the Packers' offense.

"I feel great right now," Cobb told reporters, knocking on the wood face of his locker. "I'm doing everything that I can in the weight room and in the training room, nutrition-wise. I think the biggest difference for me this year is my hydration. I'm making sure I drink 100 ounces of water a day, so that's been huge for me.

"I don't have much muscle soreness, so I feel like it's made a huge difference for me."

Barring his health, Cobb could add to his already impressive catch percentage, which, of receivers who have played at least six seasons (since 2011), Cobb has the highest with 70.1 percent. 

Even since the 1970 merger, Cobb's feats hold true. Of receivers with at least 500 targets, he holds the second-highest catch percentage. His 70.1 percent rate is just behind Wes Welker (another renowned slot receiver) and his 70.8 percent.

His dependability is why he has become such an intricate part of the Packers' offense, not to mention Aaron Rodgers hasn't exactly held back in singing his praises for Cobb. When he's on the field, the offense seems to move fluidly. Both coaches and front office personnel seem to recognize that.

"I'm looking forward to week one and that opportunity," Cobb said. He's one-third of what may very well be one of the most potent receiving trios in football.

"But, the biggest thing for me is to continue to work in practice and get ready for week one. Taking care of my body and doing everything that I can to be at full-go come week one."


Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (49) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

Patriots lost Edelman, we're loaded at WR, and Cobb is counting about $12 million against our cap.

Jus' sayin'.

Finwiz's picture

You can't possibly be suggesting we give Cobb to NE?
They don't need any help, and you don't help rivals like that to begin with.

rdent's picture

I wouldn't put NE in the category of "rival" but I agree, don t give them any help

Finwiz's picture

They are the MOST likely opponent should the Packers somehow make the Super Bowl! I'd call that a rival, although not a traditional divisional opponent like Chicago or Minnesota of course.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

I'm sorry, did you say, "give"????

The TKstinator's picture

Did you just use the dreaded "Jus' sayin'"??

dobber's picture

I bought a bunch of Roundup the other day...weeds sprayin'....

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

Yes, I used "Jus' sayin'." I am a heratic who must be put to death.

dobber's picture

Not death...but we might yank out all your fingernails. ;)

The TKstinator's picture

Nah, man, you ain't no heretic! I was merely making reference to another dude who used that expression a lot. I thought I good naturedly teased him about it, and he later went on a profane rant threatening bodily harm and quit the site! I had no idea I was such a ferocious cyber bully, but apparently I am no one to trifle with. So take warning, ALP, or I shall taunt you a second time!
(Extra thumbs up for the first one who can name the film I lifted that last line from.)

BamaPackFan's picture

That line is from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, a classic. You get bonus points for quoting it correctly. Most say "again" instead of "a second time". Well done!

Zachary Jacobson's picture

Now wait just a damn minute.

dobber's picture

They picked up Brandin Cooks in the off-season, have Gronk and Allen at TE, and Hogan and Amendola at WR. They're not buyin'.

The TKstinator's picture

Rumor has it that in addition to being well stocked at receiver, NE is going to implement a Washington Redskin style running game too...counter treyin'!

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

Probably not, dobber, as Cobb's contract makes him untradable.

Still, I can dream.

I like Cobb a lot, but his performance has lagged far below his contract, and Cap is King in the NFL. He'll always make some plays, but at an overloaded position where we could have other guys make those plays, I can't justify crippling our cap when options exist.

Unfortunately, it appears we're stuck without options.

dobber's picture

While TT has come off as cheap over the years, players know that they're generally going to finish the contracts they sign in GB if they're healthy. Sitton might be the only real counter-example.

A trade might be the best way to preserve that image, but I just don't see Cobb disappearing this season, and -- frankly -- I see it as out-of-character for TT to cut him after the season. I do understand your frustration over his play. It's a lot of money for a guy who is playing like a borderline 2/3 WR.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

I agree he won't be gone now--much to my chagrin--but I'm very, very confident both Cobb and Matthews are playing their final season in Green and Gold.

dobber's picture

I actually think they'll renegotiate Matthews down to a more reasonable number. They'll have more leverage on him after 2017. They're so thin at OLB that they might have to do so.

Could be they'll try to restructure Cobb in the off-season, but here's a good read on why it's not likely...

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

It depends on the number with Matthews, but I could see that. In fact, I think Matthews will play this year like he's playing for a contract, since his performance will weigh heavily on the final number--or on his outright release.

With Cobb, given the current roster, I'd release him and save $6.5 million. Again, nothing against him, but we can easily replace his production, and it would allow us to retain another young receiver for development.

Of course, if Cobb would accept a restructured deal, that alters things. But he won't.

Johnblood27's picture

Please, please...

stop using the word "aforementioned" in every story you write.

trade mccaffery to the hoodie, keep cobb

Zachary Jacobson's picture

I'm sorry the aforementioned word bothers you.

The TKstinator's picture

Athreementioned, aforementioned, afivementioned...

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

Why would we trade our cheapest, best-performing receiver?

Doesn't anyone here EVER take the cap into consideration? It's the most important factor in maintaining a roster!

Ferrari Driver's picture

Cobb is solid both on and off the field. He is a key player who can help our team make it to the Super Bowl this year. He is especially good at finding an open spot when Rodgers extends a play.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

Cobb has dramatically underproduced for his contract, and we now have 3-5 more explosive players at his position.

He's a fine player and terrific person, but you can't build a roster with your heart.

Cap is King. Cap is King. All hail King Cap.

dobber's picture

"He's a fine player and terrific person, but you can't build a roster with your heart."

I want to print and frame this statement.

If we did build rosters this way, AJ Hawk would still be manning one ILB position.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

True that.

(I needed a phrase on par with "jus' sayin'")

GatorJason's picture

If Cobb is drinking a 100 ounces of water a day, it's no wonder the Packer offense is operating fluidly when he's on the field. :-)

Cobb is a winner who makes big plays when the Packers need them the most. He and Jordy are the Packer's dynamic duo. Adams is probably the most athletic of the WRs and the wiry 6'3" Allison is a solid 4th WR. Rodgers has a lot of great options when those four are healthy.

With Janis/Davis handling most of the ST return duties, there just are not a lot of opportunities left for McCaffrey. He'd be an insurance policy at best as the Packer's 7th receiver if he makes the 53 and a good bet to go elsewhere if he does not make it onto Green Bay's active roster. I think he makes the initial 53 but drops to the PS when Allison returns the 2nd week.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

From what I've seen, McCaffrey is our 3rd best WR. He's like Allison with wheels.

dobber's picture

I tend to think of McCaffrey as Jared Abbrederis with a little better wheels.

You'll all notice that McCaffrey is being given a shot at returning punts. If he can secure the football and be somewhat productive there, I wouldn't be surprised if Davis isn't nearly the roster lock that some people think he is.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

And better health.

I predict Davis, McCaffrey, and Janis all stick on the final 53.

The rookies will drop, and be picked up by other teams. Clark and Dupre will hurt the most, but that's the price we pay for keeping Cobb.

dobber's picture

Given Allison's one-week vacation, I think you're right...and someone on the roster will get hurt in week 1 meaning when Allison comes back, there's a chance that extra WR sticks (if the injury is at a position that's not roster-hobbling).

The fact that Dupre has been hurt and has played very few PS snaps makes him someone who I think shoots through to the PS. I think Clark likely makes it, too, if they want to go that way. There's not a lot of film on either guy.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

Knowing this team, Allison will return in Week 2 as our only healthy receiver.

dobber's picture

Bite that tongue...

snowdog's picture

Yancey . Have not heard his name called or film on him . Dupre good .
Yancey to PS

Duke Divine's picture

better wheels and stronger

Spock's picture

If I was a betting man (I'm not) I would bet that McCaffrey either makes the 53 or is the first guy on the PS. Personally, I'd rather have him handling punts than Davis. Davis, if he catches the punt, is more dynamic, but I trust McCaffrey to CATCH the punt over Davis and that is job one. I suspect we will see McCaffrey doing more punt returns on Thursday and that should solidify his position.

dobber's picture

I wish I'd read ahead to your post, Spock. You said exactly what I was thinking.

In Edit: About return duties and making the roster, I mean.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

McCaffrey will get snatched up if we dare cut him.

No way we can hide him on the PS.

Lphill's picture

McCaffery gets cut he goes straight to the Patriots . We need to keep him . He will be a playmaker with a good QB . Or a star with a great QB .

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

Amen! Finally, a voice of reason!

snowdog's picture

With McCaffery , your heart won't skip a beat ( or two ) when receiving a punt .

dobber's picture

If he's not better than the WR who make the team, frankly, you cut him. If you release a better WR what have you done?

And who cares who picks that player up? You can't always make roster decisions based on who you think might sign a player you cut.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

Point is, dobber, you don't cut a cheap player who is outperforming most everyone else.

dobber's picture

It happens all the time...

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

Please, not this time.

rdent's picture

Too bad GB wasn't able to distribute depth across a wider area of the team. They have a glut of talent at WR and S but are woefully thin at OLB and OL. Hopefully they can do something about that after cut down

RCPackerFan's picture

Hopefully they will add Brooks, and hopefully when Biegel does play he can give us what we are hoping for.

I agree they need to look for help on the OL. Barclay is supposed to be coming back soon, but even if he comes back they need more help.

4zone's picture

Has McCaffrey dropped a single pass he has gotten his hands on in a game yet? Haven't watched every minute of every game. But from what I've seen, he's got the best hands I've seen in a long time.

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