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Archive for the tag “Randall Cobb”

Are The Green Bay Packers Getting It Going At The Right Time?

(photo courtesy of Associated Press)

(photo courtesy of Associated Press)

The Green Bay Packers and the Washington Redskins were going in opposite directions going into the playoffs. The Packers entered the playoffs on a two-game losing streak. They had been embarrassed on national television against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 16 38-8. And in the season finale going for the division crown, the Packers lost to the Vikings at home 20-13. The feeling around the Packers were that they had some issues on both sides of the football. Defensively, the Packers were solid up front. But in their secondary, there were some things going on there that were not conducive to good defense. Who can forget how the Cardinals had some fun at their expense in Week 16? But not to be left out, the offense definitely had their share of issues. The running game has been inconsistent all season long for the Packers offense and Eddie Lacy had not been himself. The wide receivers had not been able to get separation so Rodgers could throw them the ball. And the offensive line has been depleted all year. The feeling some in media had was that the hot team, the Washington Redskins, were better than the Packers at this point in the season. And if they were able to come out and jump on the Packers, then the Redskins would be marching on to the next game. But little did we know, the real Packers would come to play.

The Redskins came out and shook up Green Bay at first. The Redskins sacked Rogers in the endzone making it 2-0. And the Redskins took the next possession and drove it all the way down into Packers territory. From there, the Redskins squandered an opportunity while the Packers stood up. The Redskins thought they had scored when DeSean Jackson ran a dig across the field and got free. It appeared Jackson beat the defender to the pylon, but unfortunately Jackson did not stick the ball inside the pylon. That nullified the touchdown and put the ball at one-yard line. From there, the Packers defense made a stand. They stuffed the Redskins three straight times to force a field goal. The result of doing that missed opportunity was the potential four points that was left out there. The Packers had not shown that type of resolve in a few weeks and when put in a tough situation, they responded to the adversity instead of crumbling under the pressure. And as far as the running game, the Redskins had only 84 total rushing yards. That is outstanding rush defense.

But this was not all the Packers defense did. The aforementioned DeSean Jackson is an electrifying player. He can score from any angle on the field and make it look real nice while it’s happening. Against the Packers, it seemed the defense was clued into him and his abilities. And even though tight end Jordan Reed had a great day(9 receptions for 120 yards and 1 touchdown), the Packers were able to hold Jackson to just two receptions for 17 yards, with his longest being that reception that he should have scored on. The Packers communicated with each other and in doing so, helped each other do their jobs and keep Jackson in check. He did test them a few times down the field, but Green Bay was right there to swat the ball away. The young defensive backs of the Green Bay Packers (Quinten Rollins, Damarious Randle) handled the pressure of keeping up with Jackson and the Redskins passing attack quite well. And as a whole, the defense held the duo of Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson to under 100 yards total. That kind of defense, along with them putting heat on Cousins all game, will make any offense uncomfortable.

The defense played well, but the offense turned a corner on Sunday. It looked like the fun was out of the game in the last few weeks for quarterback Aaron Rodgers. He was visibly frustrated at what was going on. He started off rough, but he soon found his rhythm. He would end up getting it going in the passing game to Randall Cobb, James Jones and Davante Adams. The one that got him even more pumped up was the score before halftime. The defense had held the Redskins before the two-minute warning and got the ball back to the offense. And the Packers took it 60 yards for the score before halftime. That throw and that drive let people know that Rodgers was really feeling good and the confidence the offense was missing had started to reappear. Rodgers would only throw for 210 yards, but he was solid and looked like he was at the beginning of the year. And as far as the offensive line, they held up admirably after giving up the sack for a safety early in the game.

The passing game looked good, but the element of the run was a welcomed addition to this game. All season there has been no consistency there. When Lacy and James Starks were present, the team and the offense looked better and was able to win. When Lacy and Starks were not running the ball well, the Packers faced even more challenges to their offense. Sunday, the Packers’ running backs came out and ran the ball hard and tough. Eddie Lacy ran for 63 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown, including a crucial 30 yard run in the second half. And as for James Starks, he ran for 53 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. When these two are running the football with conviction and toughness, the Packers are a tough team to beat. And with the holes the Packers offensive line was opening, it was definitely a sight for sore eyes to see that size of a hole. But what made their performances even better is they did not have to have the big holes to make yardage. There were a few times that Starks and Lacy had to duck their heads and get what they could get. And both realized that and did what they had to do. Eventually, they helped tire out the defense and make Aaron Rodgers even more lethal. When a passer like Rodgers gets a running game, it can keep the defenses guessing all game long. And that is something you don’t want with Rodgers at the helm.

Overall, the Packers looked like a much different team than they did the last few weeks of the year. And because of the polish they showed, they looked like the team that everyone thought they would be all season long. After this 35-18 win, the Packers head back to the desert to play the Arizona Cardinals next weekend. It will be interesting if they can carry the momentum from this win to next week or if it was just a win against the winner of a pretty bad division.

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No Need To Panic In Green Bay Over The Loss Of Jordy Nelson

Jordy Nelson falls to the ground as he suffered a knee injury versus the Pittsburgh Steelers (photo courtesy of Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports)

Jordy Nelson falls to the ground as he suffered a knee injury versus the Pittsburgh Steelers (photo courtesy of Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports)

The Green Bay Packers were one of the favorites to go the Super Bowl this year. With wide receiver Randall Cobb re-signing with the team this offseason, the team had all their weapons back. Everyone was expecting this offense to be prolific with the Aaron Rodgers pulling the strings. The only thing they had to do is make it through the preseason healthy. The Green Bay Packers were healthy so far until their second preseason game. Wide receiver Jordy Nelson, a consistent veteran on the team, caught a pass and without anyone touching him, crumbled on the field. At that point, the Packers and their fans had their collective hearts in their throats. They were hoping the injury was not serious, but they knew it could be due to the nature of what happened. Earlier this week, Carolina Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin went down without contract and was grabbing his knee. The result for him was a torn ACL. Well, after hoping for the best, the Packers got the same injury news the Panthers got on Benjamin. Nelson has been confirmed to have a torn ACL and will be lost for the season. And just like that, many began to question whether the Packers still had enough in the passing game to get it done. Well, the answer is unequivocally yes.

Losing a top receiver is never easy. And quite honestly, it will be very hard for Green Bay to replace Nelson in the lineup. But the Packers do have one weapon that can cause stress on the defense with his versatility. His name is Randall Cobb. The 5th year wide receiver out of the University of Kentucky had his best year as a pro last season. His 91 catches and 1,287 yards were second to Nelson on the Packers team. Cobb isn’t the offensive deep threat that Nelson is, but he is definitely more versatile. Over his time in Green Bay, he has lined up in a multitude of spots. That ability to line up in the backfield, in the slot and potentially in the Wildcat formation at quarterback can give defenses fits. And with Nelson out, expect Mike McCarthy and crew to get the ball in Cobb’s hands as much as possible. With him involved more, look for more quick strike things like bubble screens and crossing patterns so Cobb can use his skills. And along with the offensive abilities, Cobb can also be a spark in the return game for the Packers. When he first came in the NFL, he was dynamic as a punt and kickoff returner. With those skills, they Packers need to make sure and use them as much as possible.

Cobb will definitely be utilized more and will have some huge numbers this season, but he needs someone else to help him out in the passing game. And that help will more than likely come from a man that the Packers have a tremendous amount of belief in. Second-year wide receiver Devante Adams showed flashes of brilliance last season when given the opportunity. His seven reception, 117 yard game against the Dallas Cowboys in the postseason only furthered the belief the team had in him. Heading into this season, the Packers were sold on the fact that Adams could be the third wide receiver behind Nelson and Cobb. Well, that plan has been altered for now. With Nelson out for the year, Adams now has to step into the starting lineup. He has the size at 6’2” to give defensive backs problems. And at that size with the skills he has with the ball in his hands, he could give defenses fits. Of course the biggest thing is he has to be consistent for the Packers this season. Last year, he was inconsistent when given opportunities. But the Packers could afford his inconsistencies with Nelson and Cobb on the field. This season, he will be looked at to make it happen opposite of Cobb. And with more targets from Rodgers, he will definitely have plenty of opportunities to make it happen. The big question will be can he take advantage of more opportunities. The Packers think that he can.

The Packers still have championship aspirations despite the loss of their best wide receiver. And through drafting well, the team has two weapons that can make it happen in the passing game. You couple these two with the running game of the Packers (led by Eddie Lacy) and the Surgeon, Aaron Rodgers, at quarterback, and the Packers still have a very dangerous offensive team. Nelson will be missed, but the beat goes on in Green Bay. And contrary to popular belief, the Pack still have enough to win a title offensively.

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Reggie Wayne Has A Decision To Make

Reggie Wayne's days in Indy are over. But what is next for him? (photo courtesy of The Indianapolis Star)

Reggie Wayne’s days in Indy are over. But what is next for him? (photo courtesy of The Indianapolis Star)

After he was not re-signed by the Indianapolis Colts, some thought veteran wide receiver Reggie Wayne’s career was over. Considered the second-best wide receiver in recent Indianapolis Colts history behind Marvin Harrison, many were surprised the Colts did not keep him around after this season and let him walk into free agency. But sometimes business means more than the legacy of a player that meant a lot to the Colts. And just like Peyton Manning, the Colts had to make the tough decision to let a key player in their franchise’s history go. Despite the quiet free agency buzz around him, Wayne maintained that he would still be interested in playing with a team if the fit was good. There was a lot of doubt as to if someone would even pick him up after watching him struggle while battling through torn triceps. Recently, a list of teams mentioned they were interested in the services of Wayne. The teams mentioned included the Houston Texans, Baltimore Ravens, Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots. The choice was there for Reggie to continue his career. The Ravens and Texans have reportedly backed down from their consideration of bringing in Wayne. But that leaves two teams that are in play for his services: the Packers and the Patriots. But if you take a look at both teams, neither would be a good fit for him at all.

The Packers are led offensively by quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The veteran quarterback out of the University of California is arguably the best quarterback in the game. For Wayne, aligning with Rodgers would be excellent for his career. But in the scheme of things, how would he even fit that team at that position? This offseason, the Packers made sure to lock up one of their best weapons, Randall Cobb. The dynamic wide receiver signed a four-year, $40 million deal to stay in Green Bay. The deal keeps him paired with Jordy Nelson, who signed a similar deal with the Packers last offseason. After those two receivers, the Packers have a lot of young players. One young player that stood out for them last season was wide receiver Devante Adams. The rookie out of Fresno State only had 38 receptions for 446 yards, but it’s hard to get many catches when you’re playing with two guys that had over 90 receptions themselves. And the thing about Adams is he’s still young and improving. The Packers also have a penchant for drafting and finding good wide receivers. So in signing Wayne, they would be paying him to be a fourth wide receiver. And knowing the amount of money he may command, Wayne should be out of the question for the Pack. Green Bay would be stepping way out of their character if they brought in Wayne and for the veteran wide receiver, he would risk being cut before the season started if he signed there only due to his salary not meeting the potential production.

Tom Brady, like Aaron Rodgers, is in the upper echelon of quarterbacks in the NFL. He consistently does great things with the pieces that are handed to him. And last season, he made won the Super Bowl with a wide receiver crew that no one envied and a beast of a tight end in Rob Gronkowski. Heading into this season, the same cast that Brady had last season is set to return. And with the cast, the Patriots are considering bringing in Reggie Wayne. The veteran wide receiver, at this point in his career, does not have the speed he used to after his serious knee injury a couple years ago. He can probably still run good routes, but the separation from defenders on his routes may not be the same as it used to be. With the Patriots, they love to run the short routes that require separation. In Danny Amendola, Brandon LaFell and Julian Edelman, the Patriots have the wide receivers they need to do the things they do. By adding Wayne, they would be adding one more guy that would be doing the same thing the others do. If anything, the Patriots need a guy that can take the top off of defenses. And Wayne has never really been a guy that strikes fear in teams with his speed. It has been his route-running that has been his staple over his entire career. Wayne would actually find himself in a battle to make the roster in New England like he would in Green Bay. And when it comes down to those choices with teams, you already know which way they will go. Teams would rather pay a young player that has upside and a smaller contract than a guy that an older guy that may command more money. Some fans of teams may or may not like the trend to keep cheaper, younger players, but this is what we are given in today’s salary-cap driven NFL.

The best choice for Reggie Wayne is to accept his time has passed. The veteran wide receiver has played his whole career up to this point with the Indianapolis Colts. With his health declining and with his speed declining, Wayne may not have the same affect he had in Indianapolis. Or even worse, he may not get to have that chance due to getting cut before the season on either of these two teams. Athletes are always on the go and in the end it is their decision when they want to give up the game. But it is also up to the players to actually notice the signs that tell you that it is over. Whether players listen or see the signs is up to them, but Wayne is missing the signs that it is time to call it a career if he steps on the field again.

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