Tom Silverstein and Ryan Wood discuss the status of receiver Randall Cobb's sprained ankle and the Green Bay Packers' preparions for Sunday's game against the Lions at Detroit. (Dec. 26, 2016) USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin
USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin’s Brett Christopherson caught up with Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb, who shared his thoughts on Saturday’s 38-25 victory over the Minnesota Vikings. This Q&A is presented by Tundraland:
When asked about your ankle injury and the decision to have you inactive against the Vikings, Mike McCarthy said this week, “It was just really the fact of just having to tell him no.” He also said, “Let’s be honest, you’re going to have to chain him down to keep him off the 46.” As much as you want to be out there, how much do you appreciate your coach protecting you from yourself when it comes to risking further injury?
Cobb: I really appreciate it. Sometimes, you’ve got to have those people in your corner that will stop you from hurting yourself. So I think he made a decision that probably is best for me and probably best for this team as we move forward. We’re looking to go on a run, and I think we’re going to need all hands on deck. We’re trying to have everybody as healthy as we can going into these playoffs.
You’re riding a five-game winning streak and a victory away from clinching the NFC North championship. Why didn’t the team fold after that four-game slide and 4-6 start? How were you able to withstand the adversity, stay together as a team and turn around your season?
Cobb: I think it starts from leadership. … When Aaron (Rodgers) said run the table, I don’t think he was predicting that’s what was going to happen. I think it was his way of telling the guys that if we stick together and come together and find a way to get that first win, we’ll get rolling. And I think it also helps that we got some guys healthy, back on the field and able to produce. And being able to make plays. I think the biggest thing in this change has been being able to create turnovers and protect the ball. And we’ve done a great job of that over the past few weeks.
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Even though you’ve won five in a row and are in a groove offensively, Lane Taylor said on Monday’s Clubhouse Live that you’re not too far removed from that four-game losing streak to simply think you can’t be stopped. How much does the hardship you experienced earlier this season serve as an added motivator? Is the sting of that skid still fresh in your minds?
Cobb: I can’t speak for everybody, but I do think that going through that and experiencing that — we felt that pain of loss, that pain of not playing up to our expectations, that pain of not being efficient as an offense. And we saw what that could do to you as far as turning the ball over and not scoring in the red zone. I think that was an emphasis over the last few weeks, and I think that we’ve improved in practice. And being able to improve in practice has led to the games.
You could say rookie wide receiver Geronimo Allison was something of an unsung hero in your win against the Vikings as he finished with four catches for 66 yards and was targeted seven times. How impressed have you been by his play of late? And in what areas have you seen him grow the most to earn him more looks?
Cobb: I’ve been impressed since he walked on the field. I think just seeing his growth from OTAs, into training camp and throughout the season. You see a lot of guys that struggle this time of the year. You always talk about that rookie wall, and some guys really do see that. But Geronimo continues to get better. I think he’s a very gifted player. He continues to grow in the classroom and learn what we do. He’s an excellent teammate, and he has been a great person to see grow. I couldn’t have been happier for his performance this past week. I think he played lights out. He was where he was supposed to be when he was supposed to be there, and he made plays. And he picked up some pretty big first downs for us — kept the sticks moving. That’s what we need. We talk about that all the time, next man up. And whoever that guy is and at whatever position, we need him to be able to step in and contribute the way that he has every opportunity he has had.
Jordy Nelson has 91 catches for 1,191 yards and a league-best 14 TD receptions on the season, and he was spectacular in finishing with nine catches for 154 yards and two touchdowns against Minnesota. How has he been able to reclaim elite status after coming off last season’s ACL injury?
Cobb: I think just continuing to play. People had said earlier in the year that he had lost a step. They said that he wasn’t this, he wasn’t that. But he has continued to go out and work just as hard, and he has continued to find a way to get open. I think he’s finally back in rhythm. And I will say that he was in rhythm early in the season — Week 3, Week 4. I think it was just him continuing to build confidence in himself and knowing that he is who he is and continuing to be that for us. He has continued to make big play after big play and be that guy. It’s great to see him back on the field making those plays.