The Green Bay Packers released wide receiver and primary kick-returner Jeremy Ross on Monday after Ross muffed his third fumble in only eight career games as a Packer. The question now is, “who in the heck is going to be the team’s kick returner in place of Ross?”
The answer to that question should be Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb. In only his third season out of Kentucky, Cobb has returned one kick and two punts for touchdowns in his brief NFL career. He is such a dynamic player, which is why pundits and fans can argue against the Packers’ possible decision to put Cobb in danger as the team’s primary kick returner.
Cobb has arguably become the Packers’ most dangerous offensive player in just his third season. Three games into the season, He leads the Packers with 21 catches (sixth in NFL), 290 receiving yards (sixth) and he is tied for second on the team with two receiving touchdowns. At this pace, Cobb will catch 112 passes for 1,547 yards and 11 touchdowns this season … if he can stay healthy.
Besides Cobb, legitimate candidates to replace Ross includes a trio of rookies: running back Johnathan Franklin, cornerback Micah Hyde and even safety Chris Banjo. Because of the massive pile-up of injuries though, Cobb should be the Packers’ kick returner until the team gets healthy.
In the offensive backfield, running backs Eddie Lacy (concussion) and John Kuhn (hamstring) aren’t quite 100 percent. The defensive secondary is in even worse shape, as they have been hampered by injuries to cornerbacks Casey Hayward (hamstring) and Jarrett Bush (hamstring), along with safety Morgan Burnett (hamstring).
The injuries in these position groups is one of two reasons why Cobb should be returning kicks for the Packers instead of Hyde, Franklin or Banjo once the team returns to action in less than a couple of weeks. Once the offensive backfield heals up and at least two-thirds of the injured defensive backs return to the field in October, then it would be a good time to think about taking Cobb out of kick-returning duties.
Cobb is simply the most talented and dangerous weapon the Packers possess. Fans better hope and pray the Packers get healthy with the week off. If the team can’t get healthy, the coaches won’t have a hard time filling Ross’ void on kick returns. Cobb may not be the right decision, but he clearly provides the best answer to the Packers’ kick returning questions.