2013 Packers: Who’s Returning?

ALLGBP.com All Green Bay Packers All the Time
Randall Cobb vs St. Louis Rams
Cobb remains the Packers top kick return man

The Green Bay Packers entered this year’s training camp with several position battles promising to stand out.  The running back competition, the battle for the starting safety position opposite Morgan Burnett and the defensive line, to name a few.

One of the battles that has taken a bit of a backseat is at kick returner.  It’s interesting because at face value, there should be no battle to begin with.  The Packers have a great return man in that of Randall Cobb.  The problem with that scenario is that Cobb is just as, if not more important as a wide receiver.  Some past players have had success in being both a returner and playing their natural position, but Packers head coach Mike McCarthy has made it known that he would like for someone else to emerge and take hold of the return duties.

With the loss of Greg Jennings, Cobb will be asked, along with Jordy Nelson and James Jones, to carry much of the load in the passing game this season.  Questions started to emerge last season as to how long the Packers could afford to keep Cobb on special teams.  Cobb was injured on a kick return in the week 16 game against the Tennessee Titans and he did not return to that game.  He also missed the following week’s game against the Minnesota Vikings.  Many reports were that Cobb could have played in that game if he was really needed, but alas, he was held out and the Packers fell to the Vikes.  Suddenly those questions about the risk of hanging Cobb out there in a sometimes-vulnerable situation became more pronounced.

So far and between the team’s organized team activities in the spring and in the few training camp practices, the team has given some of Cobb’s usual return reps to others such as Nelson, Deangelo Pease, Sam Shields, Jeremy Ross, Omarius Hines, Loyce Means, Johnathan Franklin and James Nixon.  Ross spent some time returning kicks last season after Cobb was injured, including an appearance in the postseason as well.  Despite some of his ball-handling woes, many are hopeful that Ross can secure the job and relieve Cobb.  Even if not Ross, with some decent alternatives to Cobb, surely someone is bound to stand out, right?  Well, after today’s practice, McCarthy stated that if games started now, Cobb would still be the return man.

It’s a good problem to have, but it could soon become a not-so-good problem if Cobb’s production as a receiver suffers in any way.  With the majority of the preseason left, look for the battle at kick returner to become regular news as the team tries its best to keep its most dynamic player fresh and ready to haul in touchdown passes from quarterback Aaron Rodgers.  Still, field position is key and if Cobb presents the best chance to shorten the field for Rodgers and the offense, he will continue to be the team’s choice.

As a little something to ease the minds of those who worry about Cobb’s current return duties hindering his progression as a wide receiver, here is an excerpt from NFL Network today.  It’s a four-minute segment featuring Cobb demonstrating how he navigates life as a slot receiver.  If this short glimpse is any indication of his abilities and understanding of the game, Cobb appears to be ready to take another step forward as a go-to receiver in Green Bay’s offense.


Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on AllGreenBayPackers.com

Follow Jason Perone:



8 thoughts on “2013 Packers: Who’s Returning?

  1. I think for Cobb to be the returner this season is just reckless. I’m sorry but they (The coaching staff and T.T.) have had 7 months to figure out this issue. To even risk Cobb on ST is crazy IMO. If they really lack anyone else out of the 88 or 90 guys they have in camp, I’d bet they could go to the FA market and sign a guy that won’t matter much in the big picture cap space wise.

    1. It appears that they TT and coaching staff have alternates. Ross will probably step up and win job for regular season!

      However, in the Playoffs if Cobb is still better return man, than I hope he is used for the Final 3 games (including SB).

    2. You mean like when Woodson or Tramon were returning punts? Its not crazy. ST are 1/3 of the game and taking Cobb off ST makes the ST a lot less dangerous and effective. Field position wins game as often as not, and ST play a huge role in field position!

      Ross btw was an outstanding returner at Cal, so he could still be good enough to pass Cobb. My guess is Ross or Franklin on KR and Cobb on PR.

      1. Yes, just like when Woodson and Williams were doing it. The Packers become very thin at receiver if Cobb goes down. I also know Ross was a excellent returner at Cal. Matter of fact the few chances he had last season, he did a excellent job. (Not talking about the fumbles). Not many teams put their number one receiver on punts or kickoff returns. If Cobb isn’t number 1 then he’s 1.A. Maybe you missed the play where Cobb got bent backwards. ST OR the offense wouldn’t be very dangerous then huh?

  2. I love “bent arm pressure” as his NFL legalese for “elbow push-off”.

    I like Ross at least as KR if not PR. People forget that Cobb puts the ball on the ground too.

  3. I’ve been saying this all off season. With Cobb taking over in the slot now that Greg Jennings has left the building, they need to find someone else to be the designated return specialist, and based on how he did last year, I think Jeremy Ross is the guy for that role. But, of course, he’s going to have to compete for it, if he wants it…

  4. I love the anticipation of a kick to Cobb but I would rather Ross or Franklin take it because of Cobbs receiving abilities being more valuable in the long run. Ross did great (Mostly). So why risk Cobb? Franklin could be a pleasant surprise in the Kick Return side show? Try Cheesestradamus.com for the upcoming game? If you know the Packers so well? Prove it!

  5. I just don’t believe McCarthy would be willing to risk an injury to Cobb in KR’s when he’s had since last season to consider options. Ross looked very good at the position in the limited action he had except for the two drops–the pass back across the field from Cobb on one kickoff/the drop in playoffs. He tried to “cheat” on both plays, taking his eye off the ball to look for run lanes and defenders before handling the ball and dropped both-expect that to be corrected and unless another KR beats him out-he’s likely the heir for returns.

Comments are closed.