There’s a lot of chatter in Green Bay about the need for Davante Adams to take over for Jordy Nelson. The Packers need Randall Cobb to be just as good.
Green Bay’s decision to cut Jordy Nelson leaves a pretty massive hole in the Packers’ receiver room. Most fans and pundits are calling for Davante Adams to fill Nelson’s role in the offense. The reality is Randall Cobb needs to shoulder just as much responsibility.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy refers to Adams as the team’s best “perimeter player” but that undersells just how important Cobb can be for Aaron Rodgers. He isn’t Adams’ equal as an aerial threat, but he’s a superior runner with the ball in his hands.
The reality is there was only an eight-catch difference between the two receivers last season. Adams played one less game than Cobb, but he also enjoyed 25 additional targets on the year. When you add everything up the statistical difference between the two receivers was pretty negligible in 2017.
The real difference between the two came in the yards they were able to produce. Adams bested his teammate by 222 yards in that category. That comes out to a difference of over two yards per catch in Adams’ favor.
SImply put, Cobb needs to bridge the gap this season. Nelson’s departure clearly passes the baton to him and Adams. There aren’t any more excuses for Cobb. It’s time for him to step up and fulfill his substantial potential.
It was only four years ago when it looked as if Cobb was on his way to stardom. He was Rodgers’ go-to receiver for most of the 2014 campaign. He hauled in 91 catches for 1,287 yards that season. Green Bay doesn’t need him to get back to that level in 2018, but a significant step forward is warranted.
Cobb should also benefit from the fact that most defenses choose to put their top cornerbacks on Adams. That’s largely a result of his ability to work deeper down the field. If Cobb can become a legitimate co-number one receiver it’s going to be really a serious problem for defensive coordinators around the league.
Some of the responsibility to get Cobb going lies with the Packers’ coaching staff. They need to find different ways to exploit his talents. He has dynamic running ability after the catch. Cobb and the Packers offense could benefit greatly from quick throws designed to get him the ball in space. Even at the age of 27, he’s still capable of turning short passes into touchdowns.
Green Bay’s Super Bowl aspirations are largely dependent on Aaron Rodgers and the offense’s ability to put serious points up on the scoreboard. If they’re going to manage that, Randall Cobb needs to play like a number one receiver. He shouldn’t cede that title to Davante Adams just yet.