Schedule An Appearance

More TEs could mean less action for Randall Cobb, but ‘that’s OK’

September 6th, 2017

Story by Rob Demovsky, ESPN.com.

GREEN BAY, Wis. – Yes, Mike McCarthy said he wants the ball in Randall Cobb’s hands more often. And during training camp, the Green Bay Packers’ seventh-year receiver has looked as good as ever.

But this isn’t the offense of the last few years, where McCarthy sends out three receivers, a tight end and a running back for snap after snap. Since 2013, only four teams have run more plays with three receivers on the field than the Packers, according to ESPN Stats & Information. In that same stretch, no team has run fewer plays with multiple tight ends on the field than the Packers.

That all could change this season with the addition of veteran tight ends Martellus Bennett and Lance Kendricks, and it could impact Cobb more than any individual on the roster.

Take the Packers’ last preseason game, for example. In the two series with quarterback Aaron Rodgers on the field, the Packers opened in their “12” personnel package. That’s two tight ends (Bennett and Kendricks), two receivers (Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams) and a running back (Ty Montgomery). It wasn’t until third down that McCarthy went to his “11” personnel of three receivers, one tight end and a back. In that formation, Cobb replaced Kendricks and was back in his familiar slot position.

“I think one thing that we got back to that we had gotten away from over the past couple of years was being a normal offense and being able to rotate multiple personnel groups and then get in a game situation and go into a no-huddle set,” Cobb said. “I think being able to have more versatile packages is going to be great for our offense.”

But it may not be great for Cobb.

“That’s OK,” he said. “It’s all about winning a championship. It doesn’t matter how many plays I get or how many plays whoever gets. It’s about getting a championship and whatever it takes to get there.”

Whatever pressure there is on Cobb to have a bounce-back year after a couple of injury-hampered seasons, he’s not worried about his numbers being a reflection of his play even though he hasn’t been able to match his production from 2014, when his 91-catch, 1,287-yard, 12-touchdown season helped him a land a four-year, $40 million contract the following spring.

“My ego is left at the door when I walk in every single morning,” Cobb said. “It’s all about getting a ring here. Nothing else matters.”

Cobb said it’s also why he’s, in his words, “pushing to be a [punt] returner, too.” The Packers have limited Cobb’s return opportunities in recent years because he’s been so vital to their offense, but he said earlier this summer that it was “never my decision not to be back there.”

“That’s another set of opportunities,” Cobb said. “I’m trying to do everything I can to help this team out wherever it is.”

Cobb’s role could change from game to game depending on matchups. One week, two tight ends might be the norm. The next week, three receivers could be McCarthy’s base offense.

“When push comes to shove, we’re going to rely on what we think is best and it’s about creating opportunities for our players,” McCarthy said. “So we’ll just operate that as a weekly basis. As you know injuries are a part of the game and those things kind of work themselves out as far as personnel groupings when you get into the season. I know in my particular process of putting together a game plan, I never like to be one player away from being out of a personnel group. So those are things that factor into building an offensive game plan and it definitely reflects on your 46-man roster for that week.”

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