Packers Need Randall Cobb to Deliver

After choosing to keep Randall Cobb over Jordy Nelson, the Packers need Cobb to produce. 

This offseason, the Green Bay Packers had a difficult decision to make. After giving Davante Adams the money they did, a wide receiver had to go.

The choice essentially came down to Jordy Nelson or Randall Cobb. The contracts were similar and the Packers had enough space either way. But in the end, the Packers chose to stick with Cobb, the younger of the two.

Nelson was released after Green Bay offered him a low-ball contract and signed with the Raiders.

Truth be told, neither Nelson or Cobb stood out in 2017. The loss of Aaron Rodgers can explain some of that. However, Nelson’s numbers dropped off drastically. He finished the season with fewer than 500 yards receiving and averaged just 9.4 yards per catch.

Cobb wasn’t much better. He hauled in 63 passes for 653 yards, also an average of less than 10 yards per reception. Maybe because of his age or his versatility, the Packers decided to keep Cobb instead of Nelson. The team also added Jimmy Graham, who will face some pressure but there is no doubt Cobb needs to have a big year.

Outside of Adams, the Packers don’t have another receiver they can truly count on. Geronimo Allison has flashed plenty and it will be interesting to see what he can do with more snaps. There are some intriguing rookies too along with second-year player Michael Clark.

Surely, with Rodgers throwing the ball to them, some of those young guys will contribute and bring back some of that lost production. Yet, if the Packers offense is going to be as good as we all hope it can be, Cobb needs to be a difference maker, not just another guy. More accurately, he needs to play like 2014.

Since getting his big contract from the Packers, Cobb has never lived up to it. In 2015, he had a bad case of the drops. He has corrected that the past two seasons, catching 71 percent of his targets, but still, the big plays haven’t been coming as often as they once did. He has had 829 yards receiving, followed by 610 and 653. Not exactly pro bowl numbers.

That needs to change.

Adams will do his part. He’s a true No. 1. But he can’t be the only viable option. And when defenses focus in on him, others have to take advantage and one of those guys should be Cobb.

It has been reported recently that Cobb was worried about getting released after Nelson was let go. If the Packers had signed another receiver, those fears might have been legitimate.

But in the end, that’s not what happened. Green Bay decided to stick with Cobb for one more season at least. However, if he has another mediocre campaign, don’t be surprised if it’s his last with the Packers.  

 

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Chris is a sports journalist from Montana and has been blogging about the Packers since 2011. Chris has been a staff writer for CheeseheadTV since 2017 and looks forward to the day when Aaron Rodgers wins his second Super Bowl. Follow him @thepackersguru

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Comments (50)

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Nick Perry's picture

July 01, 2018 at 10:52 am

Gutekunst did right in keeping Cobb. To get rid of both Nelson and Cobb would have been to much to overcome for this offense. Change can be a good thing, but like anything to much of good thing doesn't always work.

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Bearmeat's picture

July 01, 2018 at 01:25 pm

I don't agree. I think he could have cut Cobb, and paid more to Allen Robinson, and gotten more out of the exchange than he will. But, what's done is done. Hopefully, Cobb can excel as the #3 pass catching option in the offense, regardless of how overpaid he is compared to his rank on the production totem pole.

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DD's picture

July 01, 2018 at 08:22 pm

Bearmeat: I agree with you. Nelson in the slot? We'll never know. Cobb needs reps and must, must remain healthy!

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Nick Perry's picture

July 02, 2018 at 04:43 am

I don't know BM...Jordy Nelson was/is one of my all time favorite GBP ever, so many huge plays over the years plus a class act through and through. But Nelson looked done last year. I was shocked watching Nelson even for the first few weeks with Rodgers still in the line-up.

Staying healthy will be Cobb's biggest contribution. If healthy he'll get his targets and as long as that happens he'll be fine. His catch percentage is over 70% the last 2 seasons.

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croatpackfan's picture

July 03, 2018 at 05:16 am

I'm with you Nick!

Randall Cobb rise the number of yards last season from 610 to 653 yards and, while it does not look like huge improvement, that improvement came in the season when Brett Hundley was throwing the ball...

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Nick Perry's picture

July 03, 2018 at 05:49 am

I think Cobb has around 70 catches for 800 yards and 8 TD's. He'll get more targets simply because Rodgers trusts him as much as just about any WR he's ever thrown to and he the most obvious Nelson is gone.

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Ferrari Driver's picture

July 07, 2018 at 10:00 pm

Jordy was super in every respect and my favorite all time Packer player, just behind Bart Starr.

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Barnacle's picture

July 01, 2018 at 11:36 am

Did anyone get any value out of Spaeder’s 50 words?

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Barnacle's picture

July 02, 2018 at 03:25 pm

Wow..........Mr nasty genius.............impressive......great “worthwhile “contribution?

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Barnacle's picture

July 03, 2018 at 04:28 pm

With a name like yours(and a super high forehead), you probably should not be trashing others.

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Tarynfor12's picture

July 01, 2018 at 10:59 am

" Adams will do his part. He’s a true No. 1. "

This is perception by deception and labeling Adams a 'true' number one is the ultimate desire intended.
Adams doesn't command double coverage.
He isn't fast enough to beat the better corner back.
He is more a benefactor of others than the supplier of benefits to others.
Saying Cobb needs to deliver is as much saying Adams cannot as a number one.
Defenses don't need to plan for Adams more than simply knowing he's 'part' of an offense.
The Packers RB will be by committee and so will the WR's and that's because there is no ' true ' number one WR on the Packers.
I do agree that Cobb needs to deliver every week.

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stockholder's picture

July 01, 2018 at 12:33 pm

This is perception by deception and labeling Adams a 'true' number one is the ultimate desire intended.
Adams doesn't command double coverage.
He isn't fast enough to beat the better corner back.
He is more a benefactor of others than the supplier of benefits to others. There are no guarantees in the NFL. Adams is OVER PRICED! The person that must deliver every week is Arron Rodgers. The defenses will plan to stop A- Rod, not Adams or Cobb. No WR or RB will come up big in every game. The Rookies were late draft picks. And they will be expected to develop faster than either Cobb or Adams. Burn the defense week after week, will be by committee.

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Rak47's picture

July 02, 2018 at 04:57 am

Sorry but your post is waay off base. Are 40yd dash times what you believe goes into making a great player. Jerry Rice, and Cris Carter both ran low 4.5 40's. Keenan Allen is another who is outstanding with avg speed, Larry Fitgerald is another and so is Brandon Marshall. Your assertion that Adams does not have the speed to be a true number 1 is rather weak and holds no water. Davante does not get jammed at the line unlike so many speedster WR's you seem to be enamored with. He creates separation, catches with strong hands, and uses his big frame and 40+ inch vertical to box out and go up over defenders. But I'm sure you think an extra half second off his 40 time is more valuable and would make him a true number 1.

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stockholder's picture

July 02, 2018 at 05:25 am

Tarynfor12 was correct. Don't believe he was referring to 40 times. He was responding to being a #1. Adams won't draw double teams. He is now against the #1 cbs. The packers need Adams to draw the safety to him. The #1s do that. I don't agree with your strong hands. His speed has improved on his cuts. But ADAMS STILL CAN'T CATCH DEEP. He's a short yardage WR so far. His Yac is what got him the $$$. He's outside now to pertect him from cheap shots. So don't compare him to any greats. Because he isn't.

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Rak47's picture

July 02, 2018 at 01:05 pm

"Adams won't draw double teams." Say's who? Once again do you and he think that only speed burners draw double teams? Opposing defenses double team the other teams best receiver not necessarily the fastest receiver. Just like Keenan Allen, Davante cannot be held up at the line and runs wide open most of the game. Not being able to shut down an opposing WR with single coverage is the prerequisite for a double team, not their 40 yd dash time. And as for "now he's going against opposing teams #1 CB now", he's been doing that since 2016 while Jordy was in the slot most of the time and he beat # 1 CB's weekly with Rodgers and Hundley both at QB. Hence his #45 overall ranking by the players who's respect he's earned. Sorry stockholder but just because in your mind and Taryn's Davante is not worthy of double coverage does not make it so in reality. For example I compare 40yd times and that equates to you as comparing Davante to past greats on the playing field,lol. Just because you think it or believe it doesn't make it true.

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Duke Divine's picture

July 02, 2018 at 03:29 pm

Adams can ball out! He's a true number 1. He played at a high level when Butt Chumpley was the QB. All comes down to health with both Cobb and Adams..

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TXCHEESE's picture

July 02, 2018 at 04:47 pm

DD is right. Please go back and look at the last couple of years of film on Adams. That man has made several truly remarkable catches. The fact is, there really is ANY receiver the constantly commands a double team. Adam is pretty darn good one on one against anyone. Great foot work at the line and he's one of the very best at tracking the ball in the air and making the contested grab.

As for Cobb, he is really good at what he's really good at....the slot receiver and chess piece for MM. Plus, when it's late in the half and all you need is for someone to cleanly field a punt, there is no one I'd rather have than Cobb handling that duty. His younger age and the fact that Adams has progressed as the number one receiver, made him the logical choice over Jordy.

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stockholder's picture

July 02, 2018 at 11:31 pm

Manifestations of insanity ? Stats: Nelson 2016 = 16, 97 for 1257 yds. Adams 16, 75 for 997 yds. 2017 Adams= 14, 75 for 885. . He replaced Nelson you say. Really? Not in Stats. Adams replaced a player that was slowing in 2017. But your argument is that you don't need speed. So Nelson missed on his stats in 2017. Why? Because he's a precise Route runner, Arron Rodgers, Chemistry, Past injury, Pay cut rumors, Etc. Nelson will be better than Devante Adams this year by the argument of stats. I'm sure the packers hope "Drop Vante" gets double teamed. IT opens the slot up more. And the primary WRs are moving to the slot through out the NFL. Devante Adams is no different than any other Wr. He was paid on expectations.

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John Funchess's picture

July 02, 2018 at 11:10 pm

RAK47. Jerry’s time was actually slower at 4.71. I believe Adams was 4.56 and our newly departed deep threat ran it in 4.51. Now our three rooks all ran 4.4 and below. I agree with everything you said though. Devante is a #1.

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John Funchess's picture

July 02, 2018 at 11:10 pm

RAK47. Jerry’s time was actually slower at 4.71. I believe Adams was 4.56 and our newly departed deep threat ran it in 4.51. Now our three rooks all ran 4.4 and below. I agree with everything you said though. Devante is a #1.

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John Funchess's picture

July 02, 2018 at 11:04 pm

Adams is a true #1 and was the only receiver able to get open with Hundley at QB. Did you watch any games because teams slide coverage his way all season because he was the only receiving threat we had after 12’s injury and the one most teams were concerned with before the injury. I loved Jordy and I appreciate him to death because he was magic with Rodgers. That magical connection along with his age was the problem because when Hundley took over Nelson looked lost. Jordy had mediocre production with Hundley and everyone will say that Jordy was the clear #1 at the beginning of the season, but by seasons end that was Devante by a mile as he produced all year regardless of the QB. There is no perception my friend it’s reality and Adams is our future. Go Pack Go!

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PAPackerbacker's picture

July 01, 2018 at 11:15 am

Cobb better perform well because there are some hungry and talented rookies and second year players looking to make a name for themselves. If any of them can form a chemistry with Rodgers and gain his confidence the result could be great for the Packers offense. Cobb was a solid #1 team receiver a couple years ago but his productivity has decreased. It will be an interesting and fun competition to watch at the receiver position. Cobb needs to have a productive year to stay the number 2 man. Injuries will definitely be a factor. He needs to stay healthy as well. A lot of good competition will bring out the best in everyone.
Go! Pack! Go!

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Tarynfor12's picture

July 01, 2018 at 11:48 am

" Cobb better perform well because there are some hungry and talented rookies and second year players looking to make a name for themselves."

If you believe a player needs to play better because of the players behind him, then you made a huge error in retaining that player. He should be playing or striving to play to the level he accepted payment to do.

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Rak47's picture

July 02, 2018 at 05:08 am

Really? WTH do you think competition is for? If that was the case just pay every starter 5-6mil and expect them to perform at a 5-6mil level,lol. And do you really think these men don't try to play up to their contracts? Of course they do, no one wants to be looked at as a bum and it is the players behind them keeping them honest, that's how sports works. The best players are the ones driven the most by competition.

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PatrickGB's picture

July 01, 2018 at 11:32 am

If healthy, then I expect Cobb to have a better year. For the last few years it seemed that he was a security blanket for Rodgers when others could not get open. So a lot of his catches and yardage was probably due to a check down. We no longer have the vintage Jordy and the youngsters are not yet ready. So it’s up the the coaching staff to plan and scheme accordingly. With the addition of the new tight ends some of Cobbs receptions will be taken up by them. Still, I expect a better year from him, just NOT a thousand yard season. Those days are over.

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DetroitSUCKS's picture

July 01, 2018 at 11:42 am

i read on rival blogs how rodgers is done now that he doesn't have Jordy his security blanket . How when Jordy was hurt AR had the worst season of his career. And now our OL is a hot mess and Statsford Tubachitbinski and Cousinscrewer are going to torch our secondary gonna be fun to watch these pukes wallow in their own mess all season

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Ferrari Driver's picture

July 01, 2018 at 12:22 pm

The Packers need to put some of the young fast receivers in the lineup and Rodgers needs to throw to them. Brady and others do it and so can the Packers.

This is a young man's game and size and speed are an advantage for receivers. They don't have to absolutely master every route tree to be effective; that can come with time.

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4thand10's picture

July 01, 2018 at 10:43 pm

Your right on. The Pat's offense has been the same...they use one fast WR as a decoy. The Slot, TE and RB passing game is how they make their living from what I've seen. Then they always have 1 bruiser RB for short yardage. But the slot, TE and RBs catching passes is the bread and butter. I think the TE position (Gronk) is what makes it all click. It forces teams to cover a 6'5 TE, speedy RBs who act as receivers out of the backfield and a take your pick slot receiver. Makes coverage challenging. I can only hope GB designs a similar offense because it's designed to make defenses sell out in certain areas...and then the mistakes pile up. I was impressed with how Jacksonville shut NE down the majority of the game last year. But I agree, speed, especially at that slot position is crucial I think. I can't help but wonder if this is why Graham and Lewis were signed...it opens up that short passing game.

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TJ Coon's picture

July 01, 2018 at 12:36 pm

He should have a decent season without Jordy due to all the attention Adams will receive this season. I wish Trevor Davis could have made some sort of impression besides being a moron.(airport). The slot could have had some comp instead of giving it to Cobb. I'm sorry but Cobb looks 30 out there.

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Tarynfor12's picture

July 01, 2018 at 12:51 pm

" He should have a decent season without Jordy due to all the attention Adams will receive this season. "

Adams will not command the level of attention Nelson did, so Cobb will be a factor based more on another drawing attention but still needs to up his game regardless.

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Oppy's picture

July 01, 2018 at 01:45 pm

I've watched breakdowns that illustrated Adams has generally been opposing defenses' top priority since the last few games of the 2016 regular season.

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Tarynfor12's picture

July 01, 2018 at 01:58 pm

A teams top corner needs to cover somebody but commanding such is a whole different reason. Not denying Adams will have his moments...they're just not near frequent enough and without the many drops to be bestowed the rating of ' true number one '. But, we'll see soon enough again what he really is...number 2...number 2...not the toilet kind just to be clear. : )

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Oppy's picture

July 01, 2018 at 02:11 pm

Well, I suspect you know it isn't about which corner is on the receiver. It's about making special adjustments and rolling coverage towards a receiver.

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Nick Perry's picture

July 03, 2018 at 05:43 am

Wait...WHAT???....2 thumbs up Oppy!

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croatpackfan's picture

July 03, 2018 at 05:26 am

Tarynfor12,
why are you acting (writing) like the big, big troll?

Why are you following Packers if you are constantly against anything Packers do? What is your ratio to be Packers fan?

Because, if you are truly Packers fan, you must be either troll or hard masochist...

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Oppy's picture

July 04, 2018 at 01:37 pm

While I disagree with taryn’s takes frequently, being a skeptic doesn’t necessarily make her a troll, Croat.

Some skepticism is a good thing.

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Similis's picture

July 01, 2018 at 12:38 pm

63 passes for 653 yards = 10.365 yards per catch.

Not sure why that would be so hard to figure out, but I guess "also an average of less than 10 yards per reception" goes along better with the point you're trying to make? True or not...

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The TKstinator's picture

July 01, 2018 at 04:56 pm

Kick some math.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

July 01, 2018 at 08:19 pm

Cobb had 66 recs for 653 yds. That is a 9.893 yard average. Looks like a typo, but the point is correct: Cobb averaged less than 10 yards per reception.

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Lare's picture

July 01, 2018 at 01:01 pm

Cobb hasn't produced much the last few years, he needs to show something this season or his market value will drop considerably. No team is going to give him top 20 salary dollars again if he can't do any better than be the 56th ranked WR in the NFL when it comes to production.

With opposing defenses having to devote resources to Adams, Graham, Lewis and one or two of the younger speedy WRs, there should be opportunities across the middle of the field for a slot receiver. We'll see if Cobb still has the abilities to take advantage of those opportunities.

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Packer Fan's picture

July 01, 2018 at 01:24 pm

Cobb caught an average of four catches per game. If he can improve that by one, it will be 80 catches. An acceptable amount. The yards per catch will increase because of Rodgers versus Hundley. He needs to be relatively healthy though. So the ankle injury is a concern. And I am looking for Philbin to inject more creativity in the playbook. A more creative playbook will help Cobb's performance too. So we are a month from training camp and two months before the season. So if things go awry, like the injury to Cobb persists or one of the young receivers don't step up, then yes, there will be a problem. This is where BG can step in and bring in veteran help. But I think it is too early to make a commitment. And Dez Bryant hasn't signed yet.....

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Bearmeat's picture

July 01, 2018 at 01:27 pm

I don't think anyone on the roster is going to threaten Cobb's spot, regardless of how well or how poorly he plays. Odds are that the UDFA's are going to be core special teamers at best and role players on offense, and the rooks aren't ready.

If Cobb delivers and Davante stays healthy, this offense will be potent. If not, not so much.

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4thand1's picture

July 01, 2018 at 02:43 pm

Everyone has to deliver, that's what they get paid to do. The guy that delivers the ball will enable Cobb, Adams, Graham, etc, etc to deliver.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

July 01, 2018 at 04:46 pm

If I am Randall Cobb I am not assuming I have a safe spot on the 53.

He can still be cut, his roster bonus was only 468,750 and if he stinks it up in Preseason or is sitting on the PUP Sept. 1 I think Gute moving on is a possibility. Veterans get cut before week 1every year, Alex Boone and TJ Ward are examples from 2017.

I am not advocating it, just pointing it out that Cobb on the 2018 Packers is not a guarantee.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

July 01, 2018 at 08:42 pm

I agree. Cobb has probably earned his $400K workout bonus. Still, one of the newer players would have to look really good (or Gute would have to bring in a veteran slot guy) for Cobb to be in serious danger. The $468K is his active game roster bonus ($31.25K per game x 15 games likely to be earned), so he only gets that if he makes the team and is active on game days.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

July 01, 2018 at 11:11 pm

I thought it was a roster bonus and payable June 1. Anyway, if your right then that doesn't help him. Although, BG doesn't seem like a "sunk cost" fallacy sort of dude either way.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

July 04, 2018 at 03:24 am

Yeah, it is annoying that OTC and Sportrac won't put in an extra column to separate game active bonuses from roster bonuses payable the 3rd day of the league year, or payable in June. Worse, they often combine the two numbers.

Cobb actually has a $500K game active roster bonus. Since he was active for 15 games last year, only 15 games are deemed likely to be earned. 15/16ths of $500K is $468.75K, and that is what is counted against the cap for now. After the season, Cobb's actual cap hit will be adjusted up or down based on the # of games he was actually on the active list.

Sam Bradford is listed as having a $625K game active roster bonus, but that is because he only played 2 games in 2017. He really has a whopping $5M game active bonus, or $312.5K per game. His cap is listed at $10.625M, but if he plays 16 games it will be $15M.

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Packmaniac's picture

July 02, 2018 at 07:26 am

It’s important for Cobb and Adams to step up in tbe passing gane, but If the Packers don’t also get solid production out of the toght end position and WR deoth chart, i’m not sure how much it’ll matter.

Rodgers is going to have to spread the ball around a whole bunch (RBs in the passing game as well) for this roster to flourish. Yeah, that’s probably true of most rosters around the league, but I’d really love to see the tight end and running back positions be optimized in the passing game for a change The iso route king (MM) needs to mix it the hell up.

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Hondo 60's picture

July 02, 2018 at 12:49 pm

Not sure where the writer learned math ... "Cobb wasn’t much better. He hauled in 63 passes for 653 yards, also an average of less than 10 yards per reception. Maybe because of his age or his versatility,"

Really??? 63 catches @ 10 yds / should equal 630 yards. Cobb had 653, that's 10.4 in the math I learned.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

July 04, 2018 at 03:39 am

The better point IMO is that Cobb's yards/reception has been on the decline. His averages are 15, 11.9, 14.0, 14.1, and then dropped in 2015 to 10.5, 10.2, and last year to 9.9 yards/rec. [Actually 9.8939 (the 93 is a repeating decimal) in case someone wants to snark on my math.]

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