Cory’s Corner: Randall Cobb is too valuable to return kicks
In everything you do, there’s a certain element of risk.
I’ve seen numerous pedestrians nearly get hit by cars or walk into street signs because they’re too busy texting. The water we drink is becoming more and more flammable thanks to your home’s proximity to fracking wells and returning kicks and punts is and has always has been hazardous to your health.
I’m not sure coach Mike McCarthy and special teams coach Shawn Slocum understand the last portion. The kickoff is a bull rush where 11 guys run full blast at the ball carrier in attempt to decleat him.
For the last several years, the NFL has been looking at ways to make the game safer and one of the topics that popped up was eliminating the kickoff entirely. Just have the receiving team take the ball at their own 20 every time has been discussed. The number of injuries that result from the returner getting pulverized and the kicking team getting plowed under in the wedge by the receiving team would go down dramatically.
Yet, Slocum is still going to put Cobb back there. He said he won’t use him all the time, but will insert him when the time is right. I didn’t know there was a right time to put the team’s most dynamic weapon in harm’s way?
Cobb opened the season with back-to-back games with over 100 yards receiving and last week had two carries for 72 yards thanks to an impressive 67-yard run where he kicked in the afterburners down the left sideline and nearly scored.
Let’s also not forget about Cobb’s hidden value. He was a quarterback at Kentucky and if there’s ever a time where the Packers need a gadget play to kick-start the offense or to quickly put some points on the board, he would be a great person to start with.
I realize that Cobb has averaged over 25 yards a return in 72 kick returns the last two years and has gotten over 9 yards a return in 57 punt returns the last two seasons. Those are decent numbers. And in today’s NFL where parity is the new buzzword, an extra 10-15 yards of field position each time out could mean the difference between winning the division and starting your own “Terrible for Teddy” campaign that Jacksonville unfortunately has already started.
But it also comes down to a risk/reward scenario. Is the reward of a potential NFC North crown with the opportunity to host a playoff game worth more than the possibility of losing Cobb for multiple games and quite possibly the season?
I would vehemently say no. Take a peek at the wide receiver depth chart behind Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Cobb. We’ve seen glimpses of Jarrett Boykin and most of the time it’s been a forgettable experience. I haven’t seen enough of Sederrik Cunningham and Kevin Dorsey, who are on injured reserve with a dislocated wrist and toe injury, to make a valid judgment on either. The only one with legitimate upside is Dorsey who electrified fans with a vibrant junior campaign in college that earned him comparisons to Baltimore’s top wide receiver Torrey Smith.
Aaron Rodgers has said that Cobb has the tools to be 100-catch receiver. The last time that happened for the Packers was when Robert Brooks snagged 102 passes on a 1995 team that didn’t have a lot of receiving threats outside of Mark Chmura, who was third on the team in receptions. Nelson and Cobb could be No. 1 wideouts for 14 other teams this year and Jones is the best complementary wide receiver in the league.
Which gives even more worth to Rodgers’ statement. If Cobb can get 100 receptions on a loaded receiving corps like this one, just imagine the numbers he could put up as the consistent go-to receiver?
But Cobb isn’t just a wide receiver. Saying as much is doing him a vast disservice. He’s arguably one of the most valuable tools in the game next to Philadelphia’s LeSean McCoy.
So why throw all of that away just to gain a few extra yards of field position?——————
Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn