Gannett Wisconsin Media’s Brett Christopherson caught up with Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb, who looked ahead to Sunday’s NFC wild-card matchup against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:40 p.m.:
Now that the playoffs have arrived, does it feel like the grind and adversity of the regular season has passed and the slate has been wiped clean? Do you feel like a burden has been lifted and you’re starting over?
RC: I don’t think I would word it that way. I would say we put ourselves in a position that has an opportunity to chase what we’re all chasing. Obviously, we would have loved to have won our division and have a home (playoff) game, but that’s not the case, that’s not the scenario. But we have given ourselves the opportunity. And really, that’s all you can ask for — an opportunity. And it’s on us to make something out of that now.
The Packers were two-of-15 (13 percent) in third down efficiency against the Vikings and finished the regular season ranked 28th in the league in that category at 34 percent. How important is it for that number to improve as the offense looks for better production in the postseason? Is that a top priority?
RC: Yeah, for sure. Third down is what keeps you on the field. It gives our defense a break, and that means you’re sustaining drives whenever you’re picking up third downs. It’s always nice to be able to move the ball on first and second down to pick up first downs. But when you get in those third down situations, being able to capitalize and keep drives alive — it’s huge for your team. And that’s one of those momentum things. The third down is one of those plays that you can gain momentum from, and it’s also one of those things that can kind of take (momentum) out of your drive and out of your team when you don’t capitalize.
Washington’s defense, which is ranked 25th against the pass, 26th against the run and 28th overall, is anchored by a pair of veteran safeties in Dashon Goldson and DeAngelo Hall. What are your impressions as you study that unit? What’s the scouting report?
RC: They have a really good secondary. They’ve had some injuries and have been suffering through some things, but they have a good secondary led by Hall, who has been doing it for a while. He’s a veteran player. He understands the game. He understands route concepts. He’s a very active player. Dashon Goldson, he’s a big hitter. He’s a smart player on the back end. He likes to get involved in the run game. He does a pretty good job in the pass game. And they also just picked up (cornerback) Cary Williams off of free agency (on Tuesday). So that’s another guy that we saw earlier this year when he was in Seattle before they cut him. He’s a solid player. He has been out for a few weeks, and he’ll be new to their system, but I’m sure they’ll find a way to be able to get him in there and get him in some calls.
What’s your message to the nervous and frustrated fans now that postseason play is about to kick off? Why can the 2015 Packers make a playoff run?
RC: We have the pieces to the puzzle. It’s just putting the pieces together. And I know it has been a long season and a frustrating season — not only for us as players, but for the fans, as well. We’ve given ourselves a chance. We’ve put ourselves in position for the opportunity. And if I’m not mistaken, the last time the Packers were in the playoffs in this position (in 2010), something great happened. So, don’t lose faith in us. Just stick with us. And we can carry you through.
Brett Christopherson: 920-993-7117, or email@example.com; on Twitter @PCBrettC