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No plans to take Cobb off special teams this season

Dec. 24, 2012
 

Assuming his ankle injury isnít serious, Randall Cobb will remain the Green Bay Packers' primary kickoff and punt returner for the remainder of the season.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy reiterated during his Monday morning news conference that the team is sticking with blossoming second-year wide receiver as its returner despite being injured on a punt return in the fourth quarter of Sundayís 55-7 thrashing of Tennessee.

Itís the second consecutive week Cobb has been the recipient of a big hit during a punt return after also being on the receiving end of another last week against Chicago, but walking away unscathed.

With Cobb in the locker room, the Packers inserted reserve wide receiver Jeremy Ross, who came through with a 58-yard punt return in the fourth quarter that set up Ryan Grantís 7-yard touchdown run.

After the game, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers quipped that he's hopeful the team would relieve Cobb of his special-teams duties, but there's no plans for that to happen this season, according to McCarthy.

ďIíll be honest with you. I donít have a really high tolerance for this because I donít understand how you play scared in the game of football. I donít get that,Ē McCarthy said. ďI understand the risk involved in every single play. Some plays are higher risk than others and Iím fully aware of that, but you canít sit here and say special teams is important if you donít put a guy like Randall Cobb out there as a returner.

ďNow, if weíre sitting here next year, we might be having a different conversation, but the way our team is built for 2012, Randall Cobb is a huge part of our success on special teams.Ē

On Sunday night, Pro Football Talk reported X-rays taken on Cobb's ankle came back negative, but McCarthy said he remains optimistic while awaiting further testing taking place on Monday.

This season, the 22-year-old Cobb has taken a more active role on offense this year with injuries to Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson, but still has carried the same workload on special teams en route to him breaking Ahman Greenís 9-yard-old franchise record for combined total yards in a single season (2,342).

Cobb leads the Packers with 80 catches for 954 yards this season and another 132 rushing yards to go along with his 25.4-yards per kickoff return and 9.4-yards per punt, which includes one returned for a touchdown in the regular-season opener against San Francisco.

So while there's a chance the Packers could re-evaluate Cobb's status on special teams during the offseason, the team won't change gears as it prepares for its fourth consecutive playoff appearance.

ďRandall Cobb is a big part of our success on special teams,Ē McCarthy said. ďOur special teams has been our most consistent unit of our football team from week 1 to Week 15. You donít establish the way you play, the vision of the way you play, and then all of a sudden change going into the last week of the season. Weíll see what happens here with Randall and weíll evaluate his injury and then weíll make decisions as we go forward. The philosophy of him playing on special teams has not changed.Ē

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Get Green Bay Packers updates as they happen from our reporting team: (from left) Mike Vandermause, Wes Hodkiewicz and Pete Dougherty.

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