Randall Cobb is ready for a powerful bounce-back season.
A shoulder injury sustained last preseason sapped Cobb of his strength and style. His injury, and Jordy Nelson’s torn ACL, conspired to ruin Cobb’s season. After catching 91 passes for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2014, Cobb caught 79 passes for 829 yards and six touchdowns in 2015. Cobb caught a career-worst 61.2 percent of his passes, averaged 3.6 fewer yards per reception and scored only two touchdowns during the final 13 games. Cobb's 6.43 yards per target was the sixth-lowest for any Packers receiver with at least 30 catches since 1992, as far back as Pro Football Reference has the data.
“I dealt with a couple of things throughout the entire season,” Cobb said. “That’s part of it. It’s the NFL. Nobody cares about what you have going on. Everybody has something going on at this level. I didn’t perform as well as I could with the situation that I had. So, it’s on me.”
And Cobb took it upon himself to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Healthy and stronger than ever, Cobb has a point to prove – even if he won’t say it.
“They’ll see. I don’t need to say anything,” Cobb said. “My play will speak for it, hopefully. If not, then people will keep talking all they want. Give you more to write about, right?”
The only thing being written about Cobb at this late stage of training camp is he’s having an exceptional summer. It helps that he’s healthy again, something he wasn’t after suffering a sprained right shoulder during the third preseason game. Normally, Cobb plays at about 192 pounds. Because his weight-room work was limited even deep into the season, Cobb’s weight was down to about 189 by season’s end.
“I feel great,” Cobb said. “I lost a lot of weight last year during the season. It doesn’t help when you can’t do much upper-body (training) to hold your strength. Obviously, it weighed a lot on me but I feel great right now, and that’s the plan -- to try to maintain my weight and try to stay as injury-free as I can.”
During the offseason, his weight fell to as low as 184 pounds, Cobb said, before he resumed his training. He’s up to about 196 pounds now.
After Friday’s win at San Francisco, in which Cobb powered into the end zone to complete a 6-yard touchdown catch, quarterback Aaron Rodgers said he teased Cobb about the added weight making a difference on the play.
“We’ll see,” Cobb said of the long-term impact. “I don’t feel like I’ve lost any speed, any quickness. I feel like I move pretty well with it. I’ve been able to go in the backfield a little more and take a little more pounding, been able to absorb some of those hits a little better. The more strength I can have, the better.”
Cobb will play a major role in what could be a greatly improved offense. With the return of Nelson and the addition of tight end Jared Cook providing the long-ball potential that the offense so badly lacked last season, Cobb should have ample room to exploit defenses underneath, either as a slot receiver or as a running back.
“His ability to get in space and make plays from any position on the field, that’s really part of the Randall, I know, as a play-caller and when you build a game plan, that you love,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “He’s just so smart with the football, too. He’s a very instinctive player, understands defenses, very detailed in his route-running and really everything that you do.”
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.