Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb used his rookie season to show that he isn't just a returner or trick-play guy. His ability to impact football games came in multiple ways in 2011 and the ways the Packers use him in 2012 could be countless.
With a plethora of talent at the wide receiver position, Cobb's speed helps him stand out amongst the bunch, bringing something different to the table.
Cobb may not be a Greg Jennings or Jordy Nelson type of receiver this season with big yardage and touchdown numbers, but he will have plenty of opportunities to have a difference.
Cobb makes the Packers offense that much more dangerous and flexible.
The Packers haven't had a dangerous punt returner in quite some time. Cobb adds a dangerous dimension to the Packers' special teams.
Last year, Cobb burned the Minnesota Vikings on an 80-yard touchdown return. Even if Cobb can't score multiple touchdowns, the yards he gets on returns make the field that much shorter for the already dangerous Packers offense.
In OTAs and past years, the Packers have used Tramon Williams, Jordy Nelson and even Charles Woodson as returners. Having a reliable returner in Cobb allows the Packers to protect the health of those players.
Another area where the Packers have lacked a specific go-to player, kickoff returner, will be filled by Randall Cobb. With less chance of returns with the new kickoff rule, there isn't as much danger in putting Cobb back at the kick return spot in 2012.
Cobb got his rookie season off to a hot start during the first week of the season with a huge 108-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. With his speed, Cobb could certainly do better next season than his one score from a kickoff return in 2012.
The Packers were rumored to have been working on implementing the Wildcat formation with Cobb taking the snap. During the 2011 season, the Packers ran the Wildcat very limitedly, but did have Cobb take a snap as quarterback and attempt a pass. He threw incomplete.
One of the reasons why the Packers may have avoided the Wildcat was that Cobb was trying to learn the offense at a quick pace after the the lockout.
Many have questioned why the Packers would use the Wildcat and take the the ball out of the Aaron Rodgers hands. The truth of the matter is that the Packers offense is predictable. Unstoppable, but predictable. Using Cobb in the Wildcat would add a little unpredictability.
Cobb is undeniably fast. The Packers can take advantage of his speed by directly handing him the ball. With a weak running game, this is a way to give the defense a different look and force them to adapt to a non-passing look.
In the past, Donald Driver has had success running reverses because his speediness allows him to get to the edge quickly. Cobb perfectly fits the mold of a receiver ideal for running reverses. Any way to get Cobb in space should be effective.
Randall Cobb did exceptionally well in the passing game for a rookie. As the Packers' sixth wide receiver for most the season, Cobb still managed to catch 25 passes for 375 yards and a touchdown. The rare quickness that Cobb brings to the table made it hard for the coaching staff to keep him off the field.
The most effective way to use Cobb in the passing game is to get him the ball quickly. Cobb should be working mostly in the slot, running slants or quick crossing patterns.
If on the outside, Cobb should be given quick outs and wide receiver screens, these routes will get the ball to Cobb and give him an opportunity to use his speed in space.