Packers Want Cobb Off Returns

Only two players have scored more touchdowns on kick returns than Randall Cobb over the last two seasons. The Packers, however, must weigh the reward of Cobb's explosive return ability against the risk of injury.

Randall Cobb is one of the NFL's better kick returners.

Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy wants to make a change, nonetheless.

"Our special teams in a number of areas was about as good as we've played in our time there in Green Bay, and Randall is a big part of that," McCarthy said at the Scouting Combine on Friday. "I hope he's not playing next year. That's really the responsibility of the rest of the skill players in the locker room. He's someone who spent a lot of time this time last year developing packages for him, as far as putting him in the backfield and so forth. I prefer not to play him on special teams. We'll let time answer that."

With a vastly expanded role on offense, Cobb set a franchise record and led the NFL with 2,342 all-purpose yards this season. He led the team with 80 receptions and 954 yards, and was second with eight touchdown receptions.

He continued to make a dramatic impact on special teams, though. In just two seasons, Cobb is second in franchise history with three touchdowns on kick returns (Travis Williams leads with six), and only Jacoby Jones and Patrick Peterson (four apiece) have more during that span. Cobb ranked 12th with a 25.4-yard average on kickoff returns and 14th with a 9.4 average (with one touchdown) on punt returns.

However, a sprained ankle sustained on a punt return against Tennessee cost Cobb a game, which only reinforced the risk-reward of using Cobb on special teams.

The in-house options are limited. Jeremy Ross was outstanding at times in limited work, with a 28.7-yard average on three kickoff returns (long of 44) and a 25.8-yard average on punt returns (long of 58). However, ball security is first and foremost at that position and Ross has had issues. He fumbled Cobb's lateral late in a win at Chicago, and his muffed punt return turned the momentum in a playoff loss at San Francisco.

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

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