Cobb wants more after big game in Chicago
His 29 yards and two dropped passes weren't enough. In Detroit, standing inside the losing team's locker room, Green Bay Packers receiver Randall Cobb heaved more weight on his back.
"Embarrassing," he called his performance. Nowhere near the standard he's set since arriving in Green Bay four seasons ago. Quietly, Cobb burned inside. He didn't speak with the media last week. Every ounce of energy was spent preparing for Sunday.
Waiting for a chance to redeem himself against the Chicago Bears.
"I'm my biggest critic. I've always been my biggest critic. I'm going to always continue to be my biggest critic," Cobb told Press-Gazette Media on Tuesday. "That's what drives me. My energy, my motivation, is fueled from bad things, or negative things that have happened.
"So my dropped balls is the reason I succeed. My missed blocks, my bad routes, that's the reason I continue to get better. Because I know I can be better than some things that I do."
Cobb was better last week.
His seven catches and two touchdowns busted him out of a mini-slump. Cobb walked into Soldier Field with just 126 receiving yards in his first three games. In Chicago, he led the Packers with 113.
It's no secret why the Packers offense went from scoring seven points against the Lions to 38 against the Bears, its highest output in the rivalry since quarterback Aaron Rodgers became the starter in 2008.
Green Bay's resurrection came with Cobb's resurgence.
"I mean, he's a big-time player for us," Rodgers said. "We've got to find ways to get him the football."
Cobb said he never put pressure on himself last week. Neither did Rodgers or Packers coach Mike McCarthy. He was upset with his performance in Detroit, clearly. He was also ready to move on.
Rodgers said it was Cobb's best week of practice. McCarthy said he never doubted his receiver would recover.
"Randall's a tireless worker. He's a true pro," McCarthy said. "He was that way at a young age. His rookie year, he was clearly one of the most impressive rookies from a maturity standpoint that we've had come through the doors. He's the same guy every day.
"The performance of prior games, it might give you more motivation. I've never seen him need more urgency in his approach. He's a very consistent professional."
Receivers coach Edgar Bennett smiled when Cobb's words about internal motivation were relayed Tuesday. He's heard the mantra before. It's the mindset Bennett teaches all receivers.
Few follow it as efficiently as Cobb.
Bennett said he sensed Cobb was ready for a big game last week. It started in the classroom, carried to the practice field, and showed up Sunday in Chicago.
"He's one of the toughest – I say receiver – but football players I've been around," Bennett said. "Not only from a physical standpoint, but that's mentally as well. He's tough minded. He understands what goes into it, and what it's going to take to go from good to great. That's always the standard.
"Good is not enough. It's always about improving and becoming great. I think that's the mindset, certainly, that he has."
Cobb didn't rest on one good game. On Tuesday, he said he was "still upset" with how he played against the Bears. To him, those 100 yards and two touchdowns should've been more.
Standing at his locker, Cobb recalled the touchdown he didn't catch. Late in the third quarter – second-and-9 inside the red zone – Cobb ran free to the goal line. Rodgers' pass split two Bears defenders, but it was behind Cobb, forcing him to turn
Cobb got his hands on the football. For him, that should've been enough to make the play.
"For my standard, it was a drop," Cobb said.
Next play, Packers receiver Jordy Nelson caught an 11-yard touchdown in the back of the end zone. The score gave Green Bay a two-touchdown lead. It never looked back.
"I told Jordy I gave him a touchdown," he said.
Cobb wasn't even impressed with his video game juke move on Bears rookie cornerback Kyle Fuller. Yes, he's seen the replay. A few times, Cobb said.
He shrugged off the highlight.
"I was just reacting," Cobb said. "I didn't think it was as big as what it was. I caught it, I thought he was going to be a little bit more behind me from the route that I had. But I caught it, and I saw the backer coming toward me. When I turned out, I saw him right there.
"I just stuck my foot and got vertical."
Cobb hopes his season keeps going vertical.
Through four games, his five touchdown catches are tied for most in the NFL. He's on pace for 20. His career high is exactly half.
Still, Cobb wants more. Next week is another challenge. Cobb will see a familiar face when the Minnesota Vikings come to town. Across the field, former teammate Greg Jennings will be on the other sideline.
Jennings marveled at Cobb on Tuesday morning. When he left for Minnesota, Cobb was only beginning his journey. Now he sees a complete receiver, one ready to break out.
"He has so much ability, so much potential, and he's such a smart kid," Jennings said. "It's hard not to root for him. I think he's done a great job."