Packers Set to Face an Old Friend in Randall Cobb Sunday vs Texans

When the Green Bay Packers face the Houston Texans Sunday in Houston, the Packers will see an old friend lining up with the Texans offense: wide receiver Randall Cobb.

Cobb is now playing for his third team in as many seasons, having spent 2011-2018 with the Packers before heading to Dallas last season and now Houston in 2020. In eight seasons with the Packers, the former Kentucky star caught 470 passes for 5,524 yards and 41 touchdowns. He also ran the ball 59 times and did a good job of returning kicks and punts earlier in his career with the Pack.

But injuries slowed down Cobb and the Packers opted not to re-sign him after 2018. He had a solid year for Dallas last season, catching 55 passes for 828 yards and three touchdowns.

Now with the Texans, Cobb is finding his niche. Through six games, he has 22 receptions for 277 yards and two touchdowns. That puts him on pace for a 59 catch season for 739 yards and five scores.

Because of the lack of preseason games and in-person offseason work, it took Cobb a little time for him to become comfortable working with Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson. Watson has some deep threats in his receiving corps in Will Fuller and Brandin Cooks but Cobb has settled in as a reliable catcher of short and intermediate routes for his new club. So far, 13 of Cobb’s 22 catches have resulted in Houston first downs. He is averaging 12.6-yards per catch, slightly above his career mark of 12.1.

Cobb had a lot of memorable moments with the Packers. In his first game as a pro in 2011, he caught a 32-yard touchdown pass on national television against the Saints and then ran back a kickoff 108 yards for another score.

One of Cobb’s most dramatic moments gave the Packers the NFC North title in the season finale against the Bears in 2013. Cobb and Rodgers returned from injury to play in the game and in the final minute with the Packers trailing, Cobb caught a 48-yard touchdown pass on fourth down that gave the Packers the division crown and sent them to the playoffs.

In 2018, Cobb caught a 75-yard touchdown pass from Rodgers to help complete a dramatic 24-23 comeback victory over the Bears in the season opener.

Cobb also played very well for the Packers in the postseason. In 2014, Cobb caught 15 passes in the playoffs to help the Packers reach the NFC title game including an eight-catch, 116-yard performance in the Packers win over the Cowboys.

Then in 2016, Cobb was a big reason the Packers defeated the New York Giants in the opening round of the playoffs catching five passes for 116 yards and three touchdowns including a dramatic Hail Mary at the end of the first half that gave the Packers a bigger lead and deflated the Giants as they tried to get back into the game.

Cobb had an emotional departure from the Packers. After his final game with the Packers, he and Aaron Rodgers shared a moment and embraced as they left Lambeau Field. “Obviously, that was the last year of my contract, the last game, and we had no idea what was going to happen following that game and in free agency and how it was going to play out,” Cobb recalled. “There was definitely a lot of emotion in that moment. I’d been fortunate to play for that organization for eight years and have some great memories and some great moments in that stadium. And obviously, it all came out in that one moment.”

He also made a post on Instagram that stated in part, "I will never forget the excitement of my first bike ride to trainng camp. The 1st Touchdown. The Barrell Roll. All of the Lambeau Leaps. The feeling I get when Packer fans can vividly remember where they were on the 4th down TD at Solider Field. The Hail Mary catch. We have many memories we will share together for the rest of our lives."

He also indicated he was "honored to wear the 'G'" during his tenure in Green Bay.

In his Wednesday press conference, Packers head coach Matt LaFleur was quick to praise Cobb although he never coached him. “I think Randall Cobb looks great,” LaFleur told reporters. “I’ve got a lot of respect for him and I know just the way he is revered here among the players and within this organization. We’ve got a lot of respect for him, although I don’t know him personally, just everything I’ve ever been told about him is he is first class, he’s all about the team and he’s a great teammate.”

Fellow receiver Davante Adams also fondly recalled how much Cobb helped teach him about professionalism. When asked about the biggest thing he learned from his former teammate, Adams said, “Just how to be a pro, honestly. How to go about your business, how to take care of your body…how to take care of my business with the media. Being smart. Obviously I’m a smart guy, I’m not going to be goofing off and doing anything I shouldn’t be doing off the field, but Randall and Jordy [Nelson] were kind of the poster children for just doing it the right way, just playing ball and letting the ball take care of everything. Not being a diva, nothing outside of playing ball and just being there for your teammates.”

Meanwhile, Rodgers clearly misses his old friend and teammate. “I remember the first game we played together. He ran back a kick, ran the wrong route and got a touchdown. You knew he was going to be special from that point forward,” Rodgers said. “He’s one of the toughest guys I’ve ever played with. He has a great sense for the game, fantastic athlete and can do so many things on the field. He has an incredible understanding of route running. He’s the kind of player you love because if he made a mistake, he never made it twice. When he learned something about a route, he locked it away in his brain and could remember things from years prior, games prior, release patterns, certain guys he was going against. An uncanny ability to set up routes and he’s a security blanket type receiver. When you have a slot guy like that who can get open that’s always a good matchup for you and he was. He did so many things for us when he was healthy for us obviously a dynamic player and a close friend, I was at his wedding years ago and love his wife, now they have two kids. I definitely miss him a lot and always wish he was here.”

Then Rodgers made a comment that may be considered a veiled shot at the Packers organization. “He [Cobb] was always great in the community. There have been a few guys over the years who I feel typified what it means to be a Green Bay Packer. Unfortunately, the majority of those guys haven’t been able to finish their careers in Green Bay. You know guys like Jordy Nelson, John Kuhn, Charles Woodson, Randall Cobb, A.J. Hawk, Clay Matthews. Just staples in the community, long time Packers, great teammates, great locker room guys, leaders. There’s no replacing the character of those guys, they’re all very high character guys. You miss those types of presences in the locker room.”

Last season, Cobb faced the Packers when he was playing for the Cowboys. Cobb had three receptions for 53 yards but the Packers took a big lead and won the game 34-24 in Dallas.

Now he is ready to face the Packers again, this time as a member of the Texans. Neither game has taken place at Lambeau Field, so Cobb has not been able to return to his first NFL home and hear that reaction of Packers fans to his return (of course, with Covid-19 still a big problem in Green Bay, there wouldn’t be any fans at Lambeau this year anyway).

The Packers will have to slow Cobb and the Texans offense down if they hope to get back to their winning ways this Sunday. They will be facing an old friend, but the friendship will be put on hold for a few hours during the game. Cobb would like nothing more than to remind the Packers what they are missing while the Packers want to show Cobb what he left behind.

 

You can follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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Comments (18)

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Bearmeat's picture

October 22, 2020 at 12:23 pm

Yawn. He was a great Packer. Until 2015. Now he is old and bad.

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GilMartin's picture

October 22, 2020 at 12:41 pm

I think the Packers did the right thing in not re-signing him, but he'll always be a great Packer in my mind. Thanks for commenting, Bearmeat.

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Spock's picture

October 22, 2020 at 12:24 pm

"Then Rodgers made a comment that may be considered a veiled shot at the Packers organization." Wow, you're reading a lot into that. I just think Rodgers was reminiscing a bit about former team mates. He's a player and knows its a business. This "veiled shot" reference reminds me of the "MLF and Rodgers will not get along" b.s. that permeated the preseason last year. Just stick to the facts, please.

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GilMartin's picture

October 22, 2020 at 12:43 pm

I know he was talking about a great teammate and he knows this is a business. But if you watch the video, he is complaining about how many leaders have left the organization and how this hurt the locker room. Not trying to stir things up, that's not my style. Thanks for the comment, Spock.

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 22, 2020 at 02:55 pm

Cobb would work better in Le Fleur's offense. Make a deal for him on Saturday.

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GilMartin's picture

October 23, 2020 at 01:59 pm

I doubt that happens. Gute wouldn't pay much to bring in Cobb who would cost a draft pick or player and the salary they would have to pay him. Thanks for the comment, jannesbjornson.

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Coldworld's picture

October 22, 2020 at 01:12 pm

I agree. I don’t think Rodgers is naive.

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GilMartin's picture

October 23, 2020 at 02:01 pm

He is many things but naive is not one of them. Thanks for the comment, Coldworld.

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dobber's picture

October 22, 2020 at 02:30 pm

Who?

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GilMartin's picture

October 23, 2020 at 02:02 pm

Wow. How quickly we forget...lol. Thanks for commenting, dobber.

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Minniman's picture

October 22, 2020 at 02:46 pm

Totally agree Gil that Randall Cobb delivered some memorable moments for the Packers, and in interviews struck me as a high caliber person and a memorable Packer.

This coming week though.... man coverage! From 2016 he seemed to find it difficult to consistently get separation ( much to many on here’s chagrin at the time). Randall is now that savvy veteran ‘gadget’ player who will only hurt the Packers if they fall asleep on guarding him.

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GilMartin's picture

October 23, 2020 at 02:03 pm

I think that's a fair assessment of where Cobb is now. He's a role player who can do certain things well in the slot, but isn't a game breaker or an outstanding player anymore. Thanks for the comment, Minniman.

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Lare's picture

October 22, 2020 at 04:17 pm

Hope the article was good. You lost me at the half-way mark.

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GilMartin's picture

October 23, 2020 at 02:03 pm

Ouch. Sorry, Lare. Thanks for commenting.

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canadapacker's picture

October 22, 2020 at 11:05 pm

Just finished watching the Giants play the Eagles - both Martinez and Fackrell made plays - they also made plays for us but I am glad that they are gone. They may have been good teammates and great in the community - but not worth the extra money and they didnt really get the middle of the D to the top end. I wish we would have been able to keep Fackrell because I think that he was a good situational player but money was probably not there. In any case 2 lousy teams played a lousy game. One final note is it just me or are these refs just horrible. I saw several flags thrown on plays where if they throw the flag on that play throw it on every play. 37 got called for an illegal contact just before the big bomb that the Eagles threw and he barely touched they guy. Seems that there are a lot of ticky tacky calls to go along with a lot of really bad missed calls this year.

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GilMartin's picture

October 23, 2020 at 02:04 pm

That was an ugly game, canadapacker. I agree Fackrell and Martinez were not worth the money they got from the Giants. As for the officiating, it was bad last week against Tampa Bay and last night wasn't pretty either. Thanks for the comment.

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HighPlainsDrifter's picture

October 23, 2020 at 10:48 am

When Cobb was drafted I immediately texted my Kentucky football fan friends: " The Packers just drafted Randall Cobb!!". He was exactly the player the team needed at that time.

Randall never disappointed. Contrary to some comments above, he was always able to get open, always there when AR needed a safety valve, and never lost his speed. Most importantly, Randall had uncanny field vision/awareness. I always believed that he would have been a great safety.

The Cobb haters need to grow up.

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GilMartin's picture

October 23, 2020 at 02:11 pm

Cobb was a great Packer during his tenure here although his injuries limited his effectiveness a bit later in his Packers career. I always enjoyed watching him play. Thanks for the comment, HighPlainsDrifter.

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