Randall Cobb committed to helping young Packers receiver Amari Rodgers develop
GREEN BAY – The Green Bay Packers' wide receiver room will look very different in a couple of weeks, but there will still be some recognizable faces when offseason work moves to the practice field.
One of them belongs to veteran Randall Cobb, who reported for the start of the strength and conditioning part of offseason workouts Monday. Cobb will be on hand both to run routes and mentor some of the younger receivers as the Packers try to fill the void left by the departure of Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown.
Cobb is the remaining piece of the franchise’s decade-plus run of 1,000-yard receivers that includes Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson and Adams.
Though he hoped Adams would be on board this year to follow through on his record-setting path, Cobb said he doesn’t take it personally that Adams decided he wanted to play with the Las Vegas Raiders and his best friend, quarterback Derek Carr.
“This is a business; it's a business first,” Cobb said. “Unfortunately, things happen. I'm thankful that I got to play with him as long as I did. I think he gave us eight amazing years. And we got a lot of memories created between the two of us, we got memories with our families, which will continue.
“We'll continue that brotherhood and I'm happy for him.”
Cobb said it’s not that unusual to enter a season where the landscape has changed so dramatically. Not so long ago, he was the one who left the room.
This year, after taking a pay cut to stick around for another year, Cobb will be part of the rebuilding process at the receiver position. In addition to himself, Allen Lazard, Amari Rodgers, Juwann Winfree and Malik Taylor have experience in the offense.
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The Packers are expected to take several wide receivers in the draft and possibly sign a few undrafted ones. There will be a lot of new faces.
“Every year is different,” he said “It's a different team. You have to figure out a lot of different things every season. This league, nothing is a given. There's a lot of moving pieces, a lot of things are probably going to happen between now and the draft and the draft and the season.
“You just you take it day by day and do what you need to do every day to prepare yourself for the next day.”
A big question for this season is whether Rodgers, a third-round pick whose dad coached Cobb at Kentucky and has looked to his veteran teammate for guidance, can shake off a poor rookie season. Rodgers couldn’t get on the field as a receiver and was ineffective as a returner.
Cobb, however, said it would be a big mistake to write off Rodgers. He reminded people that Adams struggled early in his career and there were fans ready to give up on him. He said he will continue to mentor Rodgers and help him become the player he thinks he can be.
“What we do is not easy and for anybody to think that you can just walk into a place and become great … it's a process,” Cobb said. “So, just give it time. Some people take a little longer to blossom. It's about me helping him understand and build confidence and know who he is and allowing him to continue to grow.”
Pat O’Donnell living in Mason Crosby’s basement
It didn’t’ take long for veteran free-agent punter Pat O’Donnell to settle into a new place, thanks to kicker Mason Crosby.
Having been with their respective clubs a long time and being division rivals, O’Donnell, a former member of the Chicago Bears, has gotten to know Crosby. So, the veteran kicker asked him to come and live with him and his family while he looked for his own place.
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Crosby fixed up a place in his basement for O’Donnell, his wife and 18-month old daughter.
“Shout out to the Crosby's for hosting me,” O’Donnell said.
Crosby and his wife, Molly, have five kids and so there’s been no lack of family atmosphere for the O’Donnells while Pat works on getting comfortable with his new job.
O’Donnell said one of the things that swayed him in signing with the Packers was the addition of special teams coach Rich Bisaccia. O’Donnell said he had a strong relationship with Bears veteran special teams coach Chris Tabor and he’s expecting the same thing with his new coach.
Bisaccia had wanted his former team, the Raiders, to pursue O’Donnell the last time he was a free agent. It never happened, but O’Donnell was aware of it and said he was happy to hear Bisaccia was still interested.
“As soon as I found out they were interested, and having an opportunity to reconnect with Rich, it was a no-brainer for me to come up here,” O’Donnell said.