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Despite heavier workload, Cobb still embraces returning roots

Dec. 22, 2012
 

Standing on the doorstep of Green Bay Packers' franchise history, Randall Cobb has no intentions slowing down despite an increased workload this season.

With two games left in the regular season, Cobb is on the brink of his first 1,000-receiving season and needs only 9 more total yards to break the franchise’s record for all-purpose yards.


All that production for a barely 22-year-old wide receiver in his second NFL season.

In a league that continues to place value on versatility, Cobb has been the benchmark over the past two seasons.

Whether it’s returning, lining up in the backfield or playing his natural position, Cobb’s explosiveness and flexibility has helped the Green Bay Packers curb the loss of starting receivers Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson, who have missed a combined 11 games this season.

As the injuries have mounted so, too, has the demand for Cobb’s services. Along with a team-leading 77 receptions and 892 receiving yards on offense, Cobb has maintained his usual workload in returning kickoffs and punts.

The added snaps have exacted some toll. Cobb was limited for the first two days of practice this week with a shoulder injury, but is probable to play Sunday against Tennessee.

As his role expands, Cobb understands the day might eventually arrive when he isn’t allowed to handle return duty any longer, but that day isn’t today.

“I think it would be hard for me because I love being on the field. I love playing football,” Cobb said. “Yeah, I understand the reasoning and maybe at some point it will be the best thing for the team or me, but right now I feel like I can handle the duty. As long as coach thinks I can handle it, we’ll be fine.”

Cobb still attends both offensive and special-teams meetings and estimates he splits his study time about 70-30 between preparing for offense and his return work based on the wider variety of schemes on the offensive phase of the game.

The work has shown on the field. Through 14 games this season, Cobb has compiled 2,241 all-purpose yards, which already ranks 43rd in league history, according to Pro Football Reference. It’s a substantial improvement over the 1,616 yards he amassed for a franchise rookie record last season.

While there may be some nicks and bruises that come along with seeing the amount of action Cobb has seen this season, the 5-foot-10, 192-pound receiver welcomes it.

“Football wears on you regardless of what position you play,” Cobb said. “I’ve maintained my health for the most part throughout the season, so I’m just trying to finish strong and hopefully be out there for another six weeks and a little relaxation after that, but right now, it’s time to grind.”
-whodkiew@greenbaypressgazette.com and follow him on Twitter @WesHod.

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