GREEN BAY - In what might be known as the season of weight loss for the Green Bay Packers, what with Eddie Lacy, Josh Sitton and Richard Rodgers all slimming down, the envious problem of gaining belonged to the wide receivers.
They stood before their lockers Tuesday, slot receivers Randall Cobb and Jared Abbrederis, and playfully bemoaned the challenge of frailty in a league defined by its bulk.
“I put on about three pounds,” Cobb said after the first day of training camp. “I got up to about 197 and came in right at 195 when we weighed in yesterday. That was a challenge for me.”
Oh to be svelte.
Unlike their heftier counterparts, Cobb and Abbrederis are tasked with finding the proper mixture of skinny and strong. They’d like enough muscle to endure the hits and bumps dished out through the middle of the field, but too much weight is a hindrance; it robs them of invaluable quickness.
By the end of last season, Cobb said as many as five pounds had melted since the start of training camp. He withered from 192 to 187, losing 2.6% of his body weight from an already diminutive frame.
Cobb dipped as low as 184 during the recovery from a bruised lung suffered against Arizona. It was the lightest he had been since his sophomore year of college, and that realization sparked change.
“I wanted to put on a little bit more weight, just to hold my strength and stay strong through the whole season, hopefully to keep some nicks and bruises away,” Cobb said.
“If I don’t work out, I lose weight. And a lot of things were going on last year I couldn’t continue to maintain my strength. I couldn’t do a lot of exercises, so I lost a lot of weight during the season. I mean that happens normally, but not today. I just want to play a little heavier.”
In the case of Abbrederis, a lithely player whose route running astounds, the offseason goal was to increase his overall strength. That the scale crept up in the process could be viewed as an auxiliary bonus. Like Cobb, he wants to absorb hits more comfortably and avoid the type of nagging injury (ribs) that sidelined him last season.
“It's just more about the strength,” Abbrederis said. “I don't really need to be a huge guy. It's just more about the strength that you have within your frame. That definitely helps when you're at the line, when you can throw guys off or get them running and toss them on the top of the route. It definitely helps. I feel good with that.”
Added Cobb: “Jared Abbrederis is working his tail off. He’s a great receiver. I think we’re both competing in the slot.”