One of the biggest debates that will occur over the next couple months in the state of Wisconsin is if the Green Bay Packers should take wide receiver Randall Cobb off special teams. There are certainly pros and cons for each scenario. However, what decision will ultimately help Green Bay win football games in 2013?
Cobb recorded 2,342 all-purpose yards, which was the most in the NFL last season as well as a Packers franchise record. His role will expand this year with the departure of Greg Jennings via free agency and Donald Driver’s retirement.
“It’s definitely going to be a lot more weight on me (and) James’ (Jones) and Jordy’s (Nelson) shoulders,” Cobb said before the start of the Packers’ Tailgate Tour on Tuesday, according to USA Today.
“But we’re taking on the challenge head-on. We’ve been really excited to get back and work. We’ve got some young guys, some drafted guys that (are) coming in. We’re excited to see how it’s going to turn out this year.”
Considering there is much to be expected from the trio of wide receivers, who are widely regarded as the best in the league entering the 2013 season, there is a big reason to remove Cobb from special teams. However, are the Packers prepared to lose their best special teams’ weapon since Desmond Howard?
The 22-year-old has averaged 26.5 yards per kickoff return and 10.3 yards per punt return since his arrival in Green Bay two years ago. Not to mention, he has recorded four touchdowns in the process, including a 108-yard kickoff return in his first game, which tied an NFL record. To take this part of Cobb’s game away from him could be very costly for the overall well-being of the team.
On the other hand, the Tennessee native will be used more than ever in Green Bay’s offensive scheme. That will certainly take a toll on his body, which means there might not be enough fuel in the tank to be effective in multiple roles. Not to mention, risking his safety every game in the ever so dangerous return game could be costly if something were to happen to him. With that being said, there is really nothing safe about the game of football in general.
“We have to look at special teams and wide receiver and be smart there, whether we fully take him off special teams or only partially,” Mike McCarthy said at the NFL owners meeting, according to USA Today. “That’s a decision we’re talking through right now. Everyone wants to know: ‘Why wouldn’t you just do it?’ I look at decisions like that as a responsibility to the locker room. It’s a responsibility of the players. It’s about opportunities.”
Considering Cobb led the Packers in receptions (80) and almost had his first career 1,000-yard receiving season last year, it is hard to believe Green Bay will allow him to continue returning punts and kicks. Not to mention, there are several players, including wide receiver Jeremy Ross, who have shown the ability to dominate that part of the game.
At this point, the most logical decision is to use Cobb in a variety of ways on offense only.