With the recent release of kick returner Jeremy Ross, the Green Bay Packers have a new position to fill.
Ross was handed the position in training camp and did enough to become the number one kick return specialist on the team’s depth chart. However, he failed to produce in the first three weeks and had a costly fumble this past week vs. the Cincinnati Bengals, which led to a touchdown.
That was the final straw for Ross, and General Manager Ted Thompson finally decided to release the 25 year old.
Now, the Packers are faced with the dilemma as to who will replace Ross. The number two kick returner on the depth chart currently is Randall Cobb. The Packers must have more confidence in Cobb than they do with the possibility of putting rookies Johnathan Franklin or Micah Hyde back in that position. However, there are both pros and cons with putting Cobb in that spot.
I’ll start with the cons. Although there may not be many, you have to ponder a few things. First, if the Packers decide to use Cobb, they are risking putting him in a position to take more hits and he may potentially be more prone to injury. Cobb came into his own last season and has proven he is a big time receiver so putting him in a position where he may get hit more is questionable. Secondly, Cobb, just like Ross, has had his own issues in the kick return game when it comes to holding onto the football.
The pros of having Cobb back as return man are that he has experience doing so, is returning punts for the team and has amazing speed. He has also proven that he can be an electric kick returner. Just ask the New Orleans Saints who got a close up of Cobb in 2011 when he returned the opening kickoff of the season for a touchdown.
The loss of Ross really does open up a lot of questions about the Packers return game. I believe that Cobb can step up into the role and be an amazing return man, but at what price?
Only time will tell who will return for the Packers. They will have the bye week to decide, and by next Thursday I expect a full answer by head coach Mike McCarthy as to who has been chosen to return kicks vs. the Detroit Lions in Week 5.