Jeremy Ross

There was a day not too long ago when we called Mike McCarthy a buffoon for insisting he wouldn’t take Randall Cobb off returns. That day came after the Green Bay Packers leading receiver injured his ankle returning a punt. Why not Jeremy Ross on returns, we asked?

Then Jeremy Ross went out and tore it up last weekend as a return man. Ross is averaging 25.8 yards per punt return and 28.7 yards per kickoff return. Both averages are better than Cobb’s.

That’s not to suggest Ross is the superior returner, but he’s clearly a threat to take one to the house. And of course, now the Packers are open to replacing Cobb with Ross on returns, although they’re not exactly tipping their hand.

“We can use both guys,” special teams coach Shawn Slocum said. “I think in the last two ballgames Jeremy’s production has demonstrated that he’s capable of being an impactful returner, and that helps us because it gives us more depth in the position.

“We’ll look at Randall, where he’s at as we get closer to game time in terms of his physical situation. We’ll move forward. I’m glad Jeremy has had some production there, so it helps us.”

It’s been suggested that Ross and Cobb could split return duties on Saturday. If the Packers were smart — and they’ve been awfully conservative when it comes to injuries this season, so there’s reason to believe they are — they’d let Ross handle all the returns.

Losing Cobb as a receiver for the playoffs could really hurt the Packers chances of advancing.

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