Green Bay Packers: Who Must Step up in Randall Cobb’s Absence?
The Green Bay Packers will not have two of their top three wide receivers for numerous weeks. James Jones, who led the NFL in touchdown receptions last season, could be ready to go as early as Sunday if his leg injury comes along quickly. Meanwhile, Randall Cobb’s knee injury could force him to miss up to eight weeks. With two key players out, who will need to play a big role for the Packers?
Cobb and Jones combine to make up one-third of Green Bay’s offensive production. Obviously, not having either player for the team’s Week 7 contest against the Cleveland Browns could be a problem, especially since the Browns have proved to be solid on defense this season. If Jones is physically healthy enough to suit up then he really needs to. However, he should not play if the team doctors feel he needs an extra week to rest.
The Packers have proven players who can carry the offensive load. There is no question Jordy Nelson comes to mind as someone who must perform at a high level going forward. However, that is a given considering he is the top wide receiver on the team.
The player that really needs to step into the spotlight is tight end Jermichael Finley. Green Bay has been waiting for him to turn it up a notch, while quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been a supporter of his for years. Finley talks the talk and occasionally walks the walk. The reality is there is no time for him to take a game off here and there. He needs to go 100 percent every time he steps onto the field. That means hauling in every pass that comes his way and not showboating just because he picked up eight yards.
Not only do the Packers need Finley but it is a great opportunity for him to show the rest of the league what he can do. I understand the first half of the season is not a time to talk about free agency but Finley definitely needs to impress if he wants a big contract next year.
The 26-year-old did a good job picking up the slack after Jones and Cobb went down. Against the Baltimore Ravens, he caught three passes for 75 yards. His third reception was a huge 52-yard gain that helped Green Bay seal the victory.
I fully expect Green Bay to feature Finley frequently on Sunday.