11

September

Meet the Packers Newest Running Back: Randall Cobb

Randall Cobb

Could we see Packers KR/WR Randall Cobb on the reverse in 2012?

Despite losing to the 49ers last weekend, several things jumped out at me about the Packers; their offense can be as powerful as it was last year but look like they are going to need some time to get “tuned up”, the defense isn’t as bad as it was last year, but it’s still the weakness of the team, and the Packers might have finally figured out their problems at running back.  Their solution: second year man Randall Cobb.

The Packers have taken a page from the Minnesota Vikings and have positioned Cobb in a very similar manner as Percy Harvin, another player who perhaps doesn’t have the traditional skill set of a wide receiver but makes up for it in diversity of ability.

During week 7 of the 2010 season, the Vikings and Harvin fooled the Packers with a deceptively simple formation, with a twist:

 

The Vikings start in a 311 formation (3 WR, 1TE, 1RB) on 1st and 10 with Randy Moss at the bottom of the screen split wide, Harvin in the slot next to Moss and Bernard Berrian at the top of the screen split wide.  Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe is inline outside the right tackle while fullback/tight end Jeff Dugan lines up offset on the strong set (much like where a fullback would be in the I-formation).  The Packers, seeing 4 receivers and a fullback in a position to block naturally suspect the pass and counter with their nickel package, with Tramon Williams lining up against Moss and Sam Shields lining up against Berrian.  Charles Woodson lines up in the slot and naturally is covering Harvin, who again is also in the slot.

 

Now here’s where the trickery comes in, right before the snap Favre motions Harvin from the slot to Farve’s right and then proceeds to execute a draw play.  The Packers defensive linemen and linebackers abandon their run gap assignments as they play the pass and are completely caught off guard by the draw. Harvin stutters at the line, which only causes more confusion with the Packers pass rush as they don’t immediately see that its a run play.

 

27

July

2012 Packers Training Camp: Randall Cobb as Placekick Holder?

Randall Cobb

Is Randall Cobb’s role on special teams being expanded this season?

It hasn’t been long since I last talked about Randall Cobb here at AllGreenBayPackers.com. The Green Bay Packers’ kick returner/wide receiver is one of those special players whose set of talents runs deep, and today at Training Camp, we might have glimpsed another card McCarthy is holding up his sleeve when it comes to this young man.

Hidden among all of the training camp updates around blogs, Twitter, and articles was a short but noteworthy tweet by JSOnline.com beat writer Tom Silverstein:

 

Here’s the obvious part: Randall Cobb is a triple threat as a placekick holder. Not only can he run with the football on a fake, but he can also deliver a pass if needed. And just to top things off, the threat of those two options can keep the opposing defense from going all in on a rush to block the field goal.

Now, it’s interesting to note that this possibility was brought up by one of our commenters on the last article I wrote about Cobb being used on the reverse. A visitor by the name of “zac5” posted, “The occasional reverse would be exciting but I would love to see Randall as holder on field goal attempts.”

Zac, perhaps you should be betting on the horse races right now.

To be completely honest, though, I was originally skeptical of this suggestion. We had seen kicker Mason Crosby go through some rough patches with inconsistent placekick holders. Matt Flynn was the holder before punter Tim Masthay finally settled into the position. And although it’s hard to tell whether the consistency of Masthay is the true cause behind this, Crosby had his best field goal completion percentage last year (24/28, 85.7%).

So while I think the option of Randall Cobb as a holder has its merits, I’m still not sure I’m ready to take the dive. I would have to see that it’s not affecting Crosby’s accuracy before I could fully commit to the idea.

I must say though, we might be seeing a side of McCarthy never before experienced. As was also pointed out by a commenter, the head coach’s playbook mantra last season was: “Less volume, more creativity.” The Packers have never really had a gadget player quite like Cobb during McCarthy’s tenure, so it may spur him to try some new things to take complete advantage of the talent available.

14

July

Packers Playbook: Randall Cobb on the Reverse?

Randall Cobb

Could we see Packers KR/WR Randall Cobb on the reverse in 2012?

I was wandering around my usually Green Bay Packers news and blog sites the other day, when I happened across this article on Bleacher Report from our very own Michael Dulka. It’s a list of “5 Ways to Utilize Randall Cobb’s Skill Set,” and one way in particular really intrigued me. This is what Michael had to say about Cobb being used in the running game:

Cobb is undeniably fast. The Packers can take advantage of his speed by directly handing him the ball. With a weak running game, this is a way to give the defense a different look and force them to adapt to a non-passing look.

In the past, Donald Driver has had success running reverses because his speediness allows him to get to the edge quickly. Cobb perfectly fits the mold of a receiver ideal for running reverses. Any way to get Cobb in space should be effective.

Last season, Cobb had two running opportunities, though none of them actually came on a reverse. His first chance was on a handoff from Rodgers in the shotgun formation. It was during a Week 7 game against the Minnesota Vikings, and it only managed to gain the offense a yard. (Though to be honest, having Cobb motion to the backfield was kind of a giveaway.)

Cobb got another shot at running the ball against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 15. It was the Packers’ second play of the third quarter, and Cobb received a direct handoff as the quarterback (Rodgers was on the sidelines). The Packers were in a Wildcat/Joker formation with four wideouts (including TE Tom Crabtree) and TE D.J. Williams lined up as a fullback. They managed 4 yards on the play as Cobb took off running directly after the snap.

Though none of these plays highlighted Cobb on a reverse route, Michael makes a great point about Cobb’s speed. Along with instinctive vision for finding running holes, this could make him a big play threat on the reverse.

But why stop there? As a part-time Pittsburgh Steelers fan, I can’t help but recall a play from Super Bowl XL that could fit Cobb’s skillset. Here’s the video from YouTube: