Packers Annual Checkup: Randall Cobb
Randall Cobb, wide receiver
FOX Sports Wisconsin’s Paul Imig gives an in-depth statistical analysis and film study of every Packers player in his annual offseason checkup. You can find every report here.
Season stats (playoffs included): 18 games, 18 starts (1,076 snaps; 88.5 percent of total offensive snaps); 106 catches, 147 targets, 1,465 yards, 13 touchdowns, eight dropped passes, forced 20 missed tackles, four fumbles; 13 rushing attempts for 42 yards
ProFootballFocus.com season rating: 16.4 (ranked No. 6 out of 21 Packers offensive players; ranked No. 7 among all NFL wide receivers)
Best game: Divisional round win over Dallas (played 64 of 71 snaps); eight catches (11 targets), 116 yards, zero touchdowns, zero dropped passes, one forced missed tackle; 3.9 PFF rating
Worst game: Week 3 loss at Detroit (played 45 of 54 snaps); three catches (six targets), 29 yards, zero touchdowns, two dropped passes, forced zero missed tackles; minus-1.9 PFF rating
Expectations at the start of training camp: High
Expectations were . . . Exceeded
Looking live: Randall Cobb entered 2014 with one year remaining on his rookie contract. At that point in his career, he had one great season (2012), one season mostly lost to injury (2013) and a relatively unspectacular rookie season (2011). Still only 23 years old at the time, Cobb’s sky-high potential had thus far outweighed his somewhat inconsistent production. It was with that in mind that Cobb understood why the Packers had yet to approach him about a contract extension.
"I don’t believe I’ve done enough, and I think that’s on me," Cobb said on July 27. "I think my job is just to come out here every day, do what I’m supposed to, continue to work hard and hopefully my time will come."
Cobb was ranked No. 6 on FOXSportsWisconsin.com’s pre-training camp "Most Important Packers in 2014" series. At the time, I wrote it was "because there’s no reason to believe that 2014 won’t be the year that (Cobb) does elevate up to ‘star’ status. There are fewer trusted options for quarterback Aaron Rodgers to throw to than there have been in recent years, and Cobb will benefit from that."
The first thing for Cobb to prove in 2014 was that he was completely recovered from the fractured tibia in his right leg that limited him to just six games the year before. It was quickly apparent that Cobb was physically good to go.
Next on Cobb’s list of what he wanted to accomplish was improving upon the 80-catch, 954-yard, eight-touchdown season he had in 2012. Those had all been career highs for him prior to 2014.
"I feel I have a lot to prove," Cobb said on July 27. "I know the player I’m capable of being. It’s just going out and showing that on a day-to-day basis."
Cobb placed an emphasis on not dropping passes during training camp. When he dropped passes during the eighth and 10th practice sessions, he made himself leave the field and do an extended series of pushups. It would pay off in the regular season.
Upon further review: It’s still very early in the career of the 24-year-old Cobb, but 2014 was his best season in the NFL. He was good in 2012 and good in 2013 before his injury, but Cobb was great this past season.
Cobb had a slow start to the regular season, though. He had a touchdown catch in Week 1 and two touchdown grabs in Week 2, but Cobb wasn’t happy with his production. That was because, aside from getting into the end zone, Cobb had only 14 catches for 126 yards through three games. At that rate, Cobb would have finished the season with only 672 receiving yards.
Cobb’s season breakout came Week 4 in Chicago, at a time when the 1-2 Packers really needed a win. He finished with 113 yards and two touchdowns, leading Green Bay to a second-half rout of the division-rival Bears. Cobb had two more 100-plus-yard games before the midseason bye week, as well.
From Week 7 onward, Cobb was in the conversation for being one of the 10 best wide receivers in the NFL. He was easily the league’s best slot receiver all season, finishing No. 1 in every key statistical category for slot receivers. He saved two of his best performances for late in the year, first in the NFC North-deciding Week 17 game against Detroit and then in the divisional-round game against Dallas.
Cobb was as dangerous as any wide receiver in the league with his ability to make plays with the ball in his hands. More than 45 percent of his yards came after the catch. Only Golden Tate and Demaryius Thomas had more than Cobb’s 665 yards after catch.
Overall 2014 grade: A
Status for 2015: Eighty-five percent chance of being on the Packers’ active roster to begin the 2015 season. Cobb is an unrestricted free agent and could begin talking contracts with other NFL teams in less than two weeks. Still, Green Bay has re-signing Cobb as priority No. 1 this offseason, and it’s hard to see Ted Thompson letting him walk. Without Cobb, the Packers would be relying on a very young, inexperienced group of wide receivers behind Jordy Nelson. It would elevate 22-year-old Davante Adams to No. 2 on the depth chart after an inconsistent rookie season. And, unless Green Bay added other receivers this offseason, the likes of Jeff Janis and Jared Abbrederis (and perhaps Jarrett Boykin, a restricted free agent) would be battling for the Nos. 3-5 jobs. Those scenarios only serve to increase the likelihood that Cobb’s career continues with the Packers in 2015.
Next: Kicker Mason Crosby
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