Gannett Wisconsin Media’s Brett Christopherson caught up with Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb, who's recharged and ready to go following last week's breather:
The bye week has come and gone. How do you feel mentally and physically? And what’s the vibe around the locker room as the guys have reconvened and started to prepare for that Sunday night showdown against the unbeaten Broncos?
RC: Definitely feeling refreshed and relaxed and ready to look forward to the second half of the season. It’s definitely a great time to break up the year a little bit. And now it’s just back to work. I think everybody is excited. Obviously, coming into the second half of the season, we’re 6-0 and going up against a tough opponent this week.
The Packers are 8-1 following the bye week under coach Mike McCarthy. Is there a formula behind that success? How do you explain it?
RC: It’s going back and redirecting your focus back to the season and back to your opponent and delving in to preparation, making sure that we’re prepared for all the things that we’re going to see. And then going out and executing.
McCarthy talked earlier this week about the self-scout process and said the immediate area of focus in getting the guys back from the bye was on the fundamentals. What does that mean in relation to the offense?
RC: Doing the small things, and doing them right. Fundamentals as a receiver, it’s your technique, your route running and making sure you look the ball all the way in and make the catch before you take off running. So it’s just getting back and continuing to work on those fundamentals in practice, focusing on them and letting your instincts take over in a game. And then everything that you’ve trained for will come right back to you.
Obviously, you’d prefer to have Jordy Nelson on the field. But what kind of impact has he had on yourself and the other wide receivers as he continues to rehab? Has he become an extra coach?
RC: He definitely has. That’s Jordy. That’s his personality. That’s who he is as a player and as a teammate. He’s going to do everything he can to help put us all in a position to succeed. We all try to do that amongst each other. Jordy has definitely helped me throughout my career with different things to add into my game and making sure I stay true to myself and do what I do — not trying to be somebody else. I’ve said that in the past. Just making sure I continue to be the best Randall Cobb and not try to do too much or do anything different.
Last week, we talked about the development of Jeff Janis and the potential he has to be a key contributor to the offense. Let’s turn our focus on Wautoma native and former University of Wisconsin star Jared Abbrederis. How much improvement have you seen from him now that he’s healthy? What impresses you most about his skill set?
RC: The most impressive thing is how he just continues to get open. He continues to make plays, and he asks very smart questions — very football IQ questions, which is important because that’s one thing that we do really well is we have a great understanding. So he just continues to grow as a player. … I really like his game, and I think he’ll continue to progress over time.
You’ve proven to be an effective kickoff and punt return man over your career and understand how difficult those jobs can be. How have you helped the younger guys like Ty Montgomery and Abbrederis transition into their roles as kickoff returners?
RC: I think just making sure that they understand how important ball security is in our special teams play. If you are able to force a turnover or be able to keep a turnover from happening, that’s the most important thing — making sure we have the ball at the end of the play. Because those turnovers on special teams, your winning percentage goes down so low (if you commit a turnover). So trying to make sure that I continue to echo to them the importance of ball security. But the biggest thing for them is just going out and being football players. That’s what I tell them. The game hasn’t changed. When you catch the ball, you know what to do with it. That’s not something I can coach you up. It’s just you going out there, being a football player and making it happen.