Cobb practices, but still questionable for Sunday

Dec. 28, 2012

Mike McCarthy is going to take the weekend to let Randall Cobb’s ankle sort itself out.

Despite practicing in a limited capacity on Friday, the Green Bay Packers coach believes the dynamic second-year wide receiver will be questionable in every sense of the word for Sunday’s regular-season finale against Minnesota.

After sitting out of Thursday’s practice, Cobb looked fine cutting on his ankle both in routes and the individual workouts he participated in during Friday’s final run-through.

However, McCarthy doesn’t want to jump to any conclusions just yet.

“We had a menu set for him as far as going through a workout. He was able to accomplish that,” McCarthy said. “He did some returns. He took some practice reps, so we’ll see how he is in the morning. He looked pretty good.”

After exiting in the second half of Sunday’s 55-7 win over Tennessee, Cobb was limited at practice on Wednesday and said after missing Thursday’s practice there was a possibility he would play against the Vikings.

Both offensively and on special teams, Cobb has been a key component to the Packers' game plan this season. Along with being the team’s primary kickoff and punt returner, Cobb also leads the Packers with 80 catches for 954 yards to go along with eight receiving touchdowns.

Cobb’s offensive breakthrough, along with that of sixth-year veteran James Jones, helped curb the loss of starters Jordy Nelson and Greg Jennings, who were sidelined by injuries for a combined 12 games this season.

The currently second-seeded Packers likely will get Nelson (hamstring) back against the Vikings, who need a win to clinch an NFC playoff berth, and will want to do whatever it takes to ensure they’ll have their full complement of receivers available for the playoffs.

It’s a luxury the Packers haven’t had since the regular-season opener against San Francisco, especially given the unit’s ability to line up both in the slot and outside when at full capacity.

“You can create mismatch problems for the defense,” Jones said. “We don’t have just one guy who sits outside and plays one spot. Everybody moves around, everybody’s able to make plays all over the field, which makes it better for our offense.”

Since Cobb injured his ankle on a punt return last Sunday, questions have been tossed around if the team should consider removing him from that role, a notion McCarthy rejected earlier this week and said won’t be addressed until after this season.

If he isn’t able to go or the Packers decide to limit his reps against Minnesota, they would turn to first-year wide receiver Jeremy Ross, who uncorked a 58-yard punt return in relief of Cobb last Sunday.

Ross, who’s the University of California’s second all-time leading returner, said he’s ready if his number is called, but agreed Cobb appeared to be “running pretty good” in practice.

Whether Cobb is allowed to do that on special teams against the Vikings is another story and a determination that won't be made on Sunday.

“I think that’s really your question for Sunday.” McCarthy said. “This is part of the game-planning aspect of it. You have a player coming off an injury, a very good player as far as returner and offensive player. So we’ll let Sunday answer that question.”

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