Talk is cheap, my friends.
Sometimes Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy says his team needs to run the football more. We all laugh uproariously because we know that will never happen. And it never does, even though most of us believe it should.
Here’s something else Mike McCarthy is saying: we need to get the ball to Randall Cobb more.
Like running the football, we agree. Will it happen?
Well, it should.
It’s well-documented that Cobb has had two substandard seasons since signing his big contract ($10 million annually). After going for 91, 1,287 and 12 in 2014; Cobb went for 71, 829 and six in 2015; followed by 60, 610 and four in 2016.
That’s what you would call diminishing returns. Part of that has to do with injuries, especially in 2016. In 2015, Cobb was also being asked to be the Packers’ No. 1 receiver with Jordy Nelson sidelined. He got no help from Davante Adams, who had a terrible season, and was largely overmatched in that role.
So you’d probably be surprised that Cobb still grades out as one of the best receivers in the NFL. These tidbits from Pro Football Focus.
- Cobb has been one of the most consistent receivers in the NFL, being top-25 graded in four of the past five seasons. Cobb’s best season was 2014, when he earned the fourth highest wide receiver grade at 88.5. This past year Cobb was graded 22nd out of 115 eligible receivers with a mark of 81.0.
- In 2016, Cobb had the most reliable hands in the NFL, dropping zero of his 60 catchable targets and ultimately ranking first out of 96 eligible receivers in drop rate.
- When Cobb is targeted, good things happen. Since 2012 Cobb ranks third among all WRs (min 250 receptions) in wide receiver rating at 116.2.
The second point is perhaps most impressive, although the third isn’t bad either. Their receiver rating is much like passer rating, except it is calculated only when the quarterback targets that specific receiver.
If Cobb can stay healthy — a big if, lately — the Packers should make him a big part of the offense. He’s extremely reliable and he’s capable of making big plays.
It wasn’t that long ago that Aaron Rodgers seemed to look to Cobb every time he needed a big third-down conversion.
The question is, will the Packers actually follow through on this one? There’s only one football and a lot of guys who want to touch it in this Packers’ offense.