Is Randall Cobb In For A Letdown in 2013? All Green Bay Packers All the Time

WR Randall Cobb needs to reduce the number of drops if he wants to become an elite NFL receiver in 2013

A trend has begun to emerge at training camp for the Green Bay Packers and if it carries over into September, the team’s high powered offense could be in trouble.

No, Aaron Rodgers has not suddenly started throwing passes into the bleachers at Ray Nitschke Field. One of his favorite targets however seems to be having difficulty hanging onto the football. 

Randall Cobb led the team in drops in 2012 with 10 and the habit has carried over to this season thus far in training camp. According to Ty Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Cobb has dropped at least four passes in competitive drills and the Packers are barely a week into camp.  Many were concerned about tight end Jermichael Finley, but so far it’s Cobb with the bad case of butterfingers.

With the loss of wide receiver Greg Jennings to the Minnesota Vikings via free agency, Cobb was expected to become Green Bay’s number one receiver thanks to his versatility to line up all over the field.  He very well may be on his way to becoming a perennial All-Pro player, but Cobb needs to cut down on the drops to get there.

Cobb has been pegged by some to have a 100+ catch and 1000+ yard season.  It’s definitely not outside the realm of possibility, even with the way Rodgers like to spread the ball around to his receivers.  With such high expectations on him despite having issues catching the ball, Cobb could be a prime candidate to have a bit of a letdown season in 2013.

This is not to say Cobb is doomed as receiver.  It’s far from it.  Cobb had a fantastic 2012 despite the dropped passes.   The Packers on paper have enough talent at the position to overcome occasional drops.  However, with the amount of weight Cobb is expected to carry on the offense it’s unclear whether Jordy Nelson and/or James Jones can overcome a slumping Cobb.

It’s also possible Cobb may still be returning kicks as well.  It’s not a situation many prefer, but coach Mike McCarthy has by no means ruled it out yet.  Everyone has been focused on the one muff Jeremy Ross had but could Cobb’s case of the drops carry over to special teams?  It might sound crazy but you can’t rule it out especially if the problem is between the ears of the receiver.

The good news for Cobb is that the Packers as a whole have faced multiple drop epidemics over the past several years and have been able to overcome them.  Some of that perhaps is the depth Green Bay has had at the position but a lot of it also is the faith Rodgers has in his receivers.   The team struggled during Super Bowl XLV with drops but Rodgers hung in there and the receivers recovered nicely.

If Cobb does have a rough 2013, that is not a condemnation of his potential in the NFL.  He made his presence known last year and the sky is still the limit for him.  One “down” season does not define an NFL career.

That said, fans should not turn a blind eye to the drop issue Cobb has continued to show.  Just because he isn’t as loud and talkative as Finley doesn’t mean the drop issue for Cobb is any less severe.  It’s a real reason for concern and something the team needs to watch as 2013 continues to unfold.

It’s hard to draw conclusions from training camp alone, but again looking at 2012 has made this more than just a coincidence.   That’s why when some people shrug this off it’s actually just wishful thinking.

Hopefully Cobb will be able to work through this before the games start to count in September.  That’s the beauty of the preseason—players can work through whatever funk they were in during camp and not have it affect the team’s 2013 standings despite being in four game environments.

This isn’t meant to sound the alarm on Cobb for 2013. Rather it’s to make sure that expectations are not getting out of hand for the third year player out of Kentucky. Cobb is going to be a great weapon for Rodgers, there is little doubt about that anymore. That said, fans need to avoid putting Cobb on a pedestal too early. 

His time will come, but he is still learning the game.  Don’t forget Cobb is only entering his third season. The Packers and their fans can afford to be patient. That patience will be rewarded.  In a way, it already has begun to be.

Greatness will come for Cobb.  It just may not fully arrive in 2013.


Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and


19 thoughts on “Is Randall Cobb In For A Letdown in 2013?

  1. He may have too many drops. As you said, GB has had this problem before. I do think it’s way too early to worry. He’s got a month to clean things up before the drops matter.

  2. No matter what, Cobb will have a better season than Jennings. Don’t worry be happy! 🙂

    1. Probably a Vikings fan. Who else would dislike the statement, “Cobb will have a better season than Jennings”? A realist, perhaps?

  3. Alright, he’s dropped too many balls early in camp. That is fair to discuss.

    But you do realize that his “OH MY GOD, 10 DROPPED BALLS!” was with over 100 targets? Randall Cobb had the second highest catch percentage in the league last season.

    Note that it’s not organized by full season percentage. Randall Cobb’s 76.9% catch rate is second only to Brandon Stokley, who was only targeted for half as many passes.

    He also had a very robust yards per target average, which means his catch rate isn’t a result of a bunch of short passes due to being a slot receiver. I think we can all recall a number of circus-type catches Cobb made last year.

    So… yes, that does not completely absolve him of dropping passes. You could make the argument that he could have closer to an 85% catch rate were it not for the dropped passes. But even asking the question: “Is Randall Cobb in for a letdown in 2013?” … well. It’s a bit sensationalist. It’s a question based on a few very early training camp drops, because there are certainly no statistics from 2012 to justify the question.

  4. The funny thing about dropped balls is that the more you worry about it, the worse it gets.

    1. Or maybe it’s just that once it becomes an issue your awareness gets dialed up a notch. Something you once thought little of is now rattling around in your head.

  5. Im still baffled by those having the expectation of Cobb being our #1 WR this season… did everyone forget about Jordy? Remember what he did in 2011 before having to fight injuries last season? Also James Jones was by far the most impressive WR last season for me. He led the league in TDs (thats right, more than Calvin Johnson or Brandon Marshall) in a somewhat minor role– and that stat doesnt even describe how AWESOME most of his TD catches were. It seemed like every time Rodgers threw the ball upto JJ he made a spectacular grab over the defender. Im pumped to see what Boykin can bring too. As long as Cobb can be the same player he was last season and we have #12 throwing the ball, we’ll do great things.

    1. All excellent points, especially about Jones. I was stoked the Packers signed him when everybody else was dumping on him about all his drops. I think Jordy is a better #2 receiver, but the way the Packers interchange receivers and line them up all over the place, as long as they stay healthy they’ll be fine. Boykin will be a move the chains guy. He’s big, physical, and has good hands. Cobb dropped the ball last season so it’s not that big of surprise he’s still dropping it. I remember one against the Bears he dropped a sure 40 yard gain that hit him between the 1 and 8. But on the very next play he made a catch on the sidelines that was unbelievable. He’ll get it resolved by week one. I still think we have one of the top 5 receiver groups in the NFL from top to bottom. Now if we can just get Finley to start where he left off last season, catching the ball, and scoring some touchdowns (2 TD last season) and a second TE to run some two TE sets, this group will do big things.

      1. I agree the Packers WR group is still one of the best in the NFL. I think Jordy is definitely a #1 WR tho. He’s what teams look for in a true #1 WR. Big, strong, fast, stretches the field. Commands attention from the D and creates mismatches. I still think Nelson and Jones are ahead of Cobb. But training camp will sort that out.

        All the angst about the WR is ridiculous. Boykin will be a good #4 WR, if he develops beyond that IDK, but Jones is probably gone next year, and I could see Boykin moving into Jones role rather seamlessly. I always thought Jones would be back a couple years ago too, but this is probably his last year in GB IMO.

  6. Positive thoughts, Positive thoughts, Positive thoughts! I’m wasn’t worried about the offense this year as much as I was concerned about the D. After watching the D crumble against good teams last year, I was a bit skeptical about 2013. But after reading reports out of training camp, I think we will field a top notch team this year, on both sides of the ball. The drops may happen, but I hope the O is more balanced with the running game ,this year, which will make the O that much more powerful.

    Im going with positive thoughts until the opener. Then we will get a glimpse of what the 2013 Packers will look like. I hope we look more physical and explosive on both sides of the ball against the niners. If not, and the results are the same as last year against SF, then my thoughts my not be as positive. But, in the mean time, my thoughts are that I will still be positive after the opener ,because we are going to beat the niners!

  7. Do the receivers make the QB or the other way around. Rogers had a successful year in 2012 pretty much without Jenkins. The other 3 are back & healthy so far. The Pack needs to find #4 & will probably be better out of the backfield with franklin. It sure would be nice if J. Finley had a big year

    1. regardless of whether you called Jennings “Jenkins” on purpose or not, I love it

  8. Cobb is in the first WEEK of training camp, it’ll be fine, he’s been asked to do a number of things already who nows how many possitions at reciever, punt and kick off returns!! lets see how the preseason goes before JUDGING, Go Pack

  9. Been thinking for awhile that GB has a very realistic chance in the road opener @SF. They’ve had a long time to dwell on those 2 embarassing losses last yr and prepare for the read op, but more importantly look to improve across the DL w/Jones, Jolly & Daniels all impressing early, and at olb opposite Matthews w/the return of Perry as well as many injury recoveries across the board. The secondary is looking very promising too. I don’t wish injuries on any team because you like to beat the best they have to offer. Having said that, already SF has lost 2 critical players on both sides of the ball which may be a factor @gm time. We just need to stay healthy ourselves and try to play smart.

  10. For all of you Packers fans who never got to see Randall Cobb play at the University of Kentucky–never fear about Cobb-his whole collegiate career was carrying the Wildcat offense, whether he was QB’ing in a “wildcat” scheme that was made popular in NFL by Ronnie Brown and Dolphins two-three years back, or as WR, KR, etc..we’ve seen James Jones correct this problem, Cobb will–but will Jermichael Finley? He’s been doing it since coming back from IR in ’10, it’s a contract year, Finley shows up for money-time.

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