4 Downs: Packers QB Aaron Rodgers makes case for keeping slot receiver Randall Cobb
Each week I’ll share four observations the day after the Green Bay Packers' game. Here they are after the Packers’ 24-17 loss Sunday at the Chicago Bears:
Aaron Rodgers appeared to be subtly been lobbying after the game for the Packers to re-sign receiver Randall Cobb. When asked about the problems in the passing game all season, Rodgers brought up Cobb’s being in and out of the lineup all season because of injuries as one of the issues. “When Randall’s healthy, I think our offense has been different because we have a true slot guy who can make plays in the slot consistently,” Rodgers said. “But he’s missed a lot of games this year and he got banged up today late. Having a slot guy like that who legitimately can get open time after time, when we need him.” Still, the guess here is the Packers will move on from Cobb after this season because of his age (28), accumulation of injuries and young receivers (Equanimeous St. Brown and Marquez Valdes-Scantling) being ready for more playing time next year.
Packers’ run defense held up better than expected without linemen Mike Daniels and Kenny Clark, and it’s mainly because undrafted rookie Tyler Lancaster continues to play solid defense against the run and had a team-high seven tackles. Daniels is on injured reserve and Clark (elbow) was a scratch Sunday, which left the Packers without two of their best defensive players (Clark has had a borderline Pro Bowl season). But aside from Jordan Howard’s easy nine-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, the Bears didn’t exploit the Packers up the middle. Howard, who’s a good runner between the tackles, gained only 60 yards on his 19 carries, and Tarik Cohen ran for 21 yards on five carries. If you take out quarterback Mitch Trubisky’s 16 yards on three scrambles, the Bears rushed for only 81 yards on 26 rushes. The Packers have to consider that a plus in a game in which Daniels and Clark didn’t play.
Receiver Jake Kumerow didn’t play on offense until the fourth quarter, but the Packers had him out there in the final seven minutes as they were trying to come back from a 10-point deficit. Kumerow caught one pass for five yards when he sprung free on a play as Rodgers scrambled to his right. In the final two games, Kumerow should get a chance to play more and get a jump on winning a roster spot next year by showing whether he has the chemistry with Rodgers and ability to get open against starting-caliber cornerbacks.
Defensive lineman Fadol Brown has been with the Packers only two weeks but already has moved ahead of former third-round pick Montravius Adams in the playing rotation. With Daniels and King out, Lancaster and Dean Lowry got the majority of snaps for the two spots of the defense line in the nickel defense, but when the Packers went with three defensive linemen they used Brown first, and the snap counts when they come out later Monday are likely to show he played more than Adams also.