Randall Cobb's Return Would Help Ease Aaron Rodgers Back into Lineup

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistDecember 26, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - OCTOBER 07: Randall Cobb #18 of the Green Bay Packers runs for a touchdown during the NFL game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 7, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Green Bay Packers are hoping to be close to full strength for their final game of the season against the Chicago Bears. Part of that is the potential return of Randall Cobb.

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports notes that the squad already had big news come forth on Thursday:

Now, the question is whether Cobb can join him on the active roster after missing most of the year with a broken leg. The good news is that the receiver was apparently close to returning in Week 16, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com:

Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel quoted head coach Mike McCarthy on Cobb's status as of Thursday, Dec. 26:

I thought Randall had a very good day today. He was very positive at the end of practice, his evaluation (for) tomorrow and how we work him tomorrow. I feel a lot better now than probably I did this morning. He definitely took a step in that direction.

Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune notes that the Packers think he will play:

While Rodgers' return is certainly the more important factor for Green Bay on Sunday, fans should not discredit the impact that Cobb can have on the field.

A year ago, Cobb came out of relatively obscurity to earn the trust of his All-Pro quarterback with his great route-running and his secure hands. This helped him lead the Packers with 80 receptions and 954 yards while finishing second with eight touchdowns.

Additionally, the former Kentucky star is extremely dynamic with the ball in his hands and finished eighth among NFL receivers in 2012 with 479 yards after the catch. 

He was well on his way toward replicating his success in 2013, but a big hit against the Baltimore Ravens knocked him out after just five games.

However, he could be a big help to the Packers if he is able to return for Week 17.

Rodgers obviously has plenty of talent, but he cannot win a game all by himself, especially with only Jordy Nelson and James Jones as familiar faces in the receiving corps. Jarrett Boykin has performed well over the past few months, but he has still only paired with Rodgers for a couple of games.

Cobb represents a trustworthy option for the quarterback as someone he knows will always be in the right spot at the right time. The Bears have talented veterans in the secondary that can defend one or two receivers at a time, but this addition could make the offense almost unstoppable.

Meanwhile, the receiver has the ability to make big plays in the open field once he gets the ball. This will take the pressure off Rodgers as a simple screen pass could end up going for a large gain.

It is important for Green Bay to make things as easy as possible on the quarterback after missing seven weeks of action. This not only requires a heavy dose of Eddie Lacy and a strong rushing attack, but also receivers who can come up big in an important game like this one.

This makes Cobb a valuable piece of the puzzle if he is able to play on Sunday. 


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