Cory’s Corner: Could Davante Adams replace Randall Cobb?

Trust me, I am surprised by the headline too.

Randall Cobb and LeSean McCoy are the most dynamic players in the league — when healthy.

But therein lies the rub.

Ravens safety Matt Elam hit Cobb’s right fibula — nearly breaking it all the way through — which caused the wideout to miss 10 games last year. He came back for the season finale to catch a pair of touchdowns to beat the Bears and send the Packers into the playoffs.

But he hasn’t exactly been dynamic this year. Cobb is known for his speed and elusiveness, but he has been unable to get a lot of separation from defenders which has been his calling card ever since he came into the league as a second round pick.

Cobb is an unrestricted free agent after this season. The Packers gave Jordy Nelson a $39 million extension in July. The question is whether 2014 second rounder Davante Adams can elevate himself into the No. 2 wideout job and consistently produce.

Cobb has 29 catches on 41 targets with 331 yards and seven touchdowns. Adams has 16 grabs on 25 targets with 167 yards and one touchdown.

If the Packers do in fact decide not to bring Cobb back, a lot of money would go toward Mike Neal. He becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2016 and is one of the Packers best defensive players so far this season.

Even if Cobb’s knee still doesn’t feel right, even if he still feels a tinge of pain, there’s no way that he’s going to say it.

The Packers brass may not have thought about replacing Cobb before but now that Adams is starting to gain confidence with Aaron Rodgers, it’s a question that’s worth asking.

Before the season, I wondered what wideout the Packers would choose. Now that Nelson is having his first Pro Bowl season by leading the NFL in yards (632) and yards per game (105.3) he is Green Bay’s bona fide No. 1.

Rodgers has said that Cobb could be a 100-catch receiver in the NFL, so it has to eat at him that he’s been held to under 60 yards receiving in five of six games. And he’s been under 40 yards in three of those games.

Letting Cobb walk would be a huge gamble. First, the Packers don’t want to face a versatile player that can beat them catching, running and throwing. And second, the Packers want to keep that flexible threat on their sideline to always make defensive coordinators think.

But Cobb has barely been involved in the running game with just three carries for seven yards and Mike McCarthy hasn’t dialed up any exotic pitch passes that can take advantage of Cobb’s arm.

By not taking advantage of Cobb’s tremendous multitasking ability, whether due to nagging injury or play-calling, the Packers are reducing him to just a run-of-the-mill wideout and part-time punt returner.

As the season goes on, Rodgers will be apt to spread the ball around even more. He has a lot of young receivers like Adams, Jeff Janis and even tight end Richard Rodgers that will only get better as the year rolls on. Veteran receivers will get nicked up and the youngsters will get more of a chance to step in.

When Cobb was drafted, he was placed on a track as a long-term solution at receiver. But ever since he took a helmet to the knee, the Packers were forced to forecast if that knee will morph into a future problem.

If they believe so, the door is wide open for Adams to take the coveted role of a Packers’ starting receiver.


Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn


23 thoughts on “Cory’s Corner: Could Davante Adams replace Randall Cobb?

  1. As of today, I don’t see any reason for the Packers not to re-sign Cobb. Unless he demands some ridiculous sum of money Cobb should be re-signed. Cory, you say that he doesn’t get separation but he is almost always open in the end zone when Rodgers is on the run. See 2nd TD against Miami as an example. He is also a very sure handed receiver. Adams is playing great for a rookie wideout but let’s face it, some of his success is due to the fact that defenses are focusing on Nelson and Cobb and leaving Adams one on one. Defenses are certainly not focusing on our TEs. Do we have any? If you take Cobb out of the equation defenses will shift towards Davante. I say keep this 3 headed receiving monster. It creates the one on ones for Rodgers to exploit so effectively, e.g., the winning TD against Miami. If we added a playmaking TE and the OL became consistent this offense would be unstoppable. If Cobb is healthy and his salary demands are reasonable re-sign him by all means. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ’61

    1. Dead on since’61 The only sensible thing to do. Hoping the TE and OL pan out this year as you said because they would be a monster. Hell I would like to see two TEs and sets emerge and then Cobb would have a field day

    2. TDs are a misleading stat. Let’s look at explosive plays. It does seem that Cobb’s explosive plays are way down since the injury. We all like Cobb a great deal and sans the injury we wouldn’t be having this discussion. We can’t afford to pay $7-8MM/yr for damaged goods. I agree that it’s too early to know but if his explosive plays are way down at season’s end, I think it is possible TT will let him walk and draft a new guy. I still can’t believe we passed on Dez Bryant and DeMarious Thomas for Bryan Bulaga. Bulaga, like almost all TT OL/DL draft picks, has 30″ arms. Wake made him look bad this past Sunday. TT could take a pass on both Cobb and Bulaga. Bulaga may be no better than Giacomeni at this point but will want a contract twice as big. If we give each of these guys $40MM contracts, we will be strapped going forward. Both are red chip players but are they worth those kind of numbers? Bulaga definitely not. Cobb pre-injury definitely yes, now, jury is still out.

  2. That’s a tough question Cory. Wow, I am honestly clueless as to what they are going to do because I think it’s way too early. Davante is just starting to come on. I would like to answer this question in another 8 weeks or so.

  3. I started wondering about this after Green Bay took all those WR’s in the draft earlier this year. Davante Adams seems to be developing nicely and looks to be a future starter in the Packers lineup. Jeff Janis has shown enough that he may have a bright future with the Packers, and we have yet to see what Jared Abbrederis will bring to the group starting next offseason. I would hate to see Randall Cobb leave, but they would also receive a decent compensatory draft pick (3rd or 4th rounder?) in return if he signs with another team and we all know how Ted Thompson feels about his draft picks…

  4. I too would like to revisit this topic much later in the season. I think Adams is going to be a very good receiver and this offense needs at least 3 stud wideouts. We have lost to much talent at the pass catcher position lately ( Driver, Jennings, Jones, Finley) and don’t need to lose any more. Hopefully Cobb just has some short term lingering effects from his injury and will be more of himself by years end.

  5. The progress that Adams is making isn’t as yet to a level that could warrant letting Cobb go after this season,but rather making the effort to have Cobb,career and financially wise, accept what a co-existence of them means for both,as both careers are young though one is a now a veteran per se.

    Janis needs to get more play time which can help gauge a perspective with a Cobb decision,and resting anything on an injured Abbrederis is risky at best.

    The season needs to play out more for all concerned. 🙂

  6. I don’t see Adams and Cobb as being the same kind of receiver. They’re physically very different, and given the nature of NFL offenses, I think you need to be more specific. Are you asking: Is Adams capable of being a starting NFL WR?…or Is Adams capable of being a quality NFL slot receiver? (where Cobb is better suited to play)

  7. I think it’s entirely possible. If there’s one thing that TT and his mentor have shown over the years, is they’ll usually only pay for one diva. The only exception to that I can recall were Driver and Jennings. All the rest are stock players that get cycled through. Cobb might be becoming one of them.

    Besides the Packers have Jeff Janis, a sure-fire 1st ballot HOF lock. They just need to play him.

    1. Just a stretch here but maybe it’s possible that TT is afraid to play Janis because of all the violence going on in Ferguson at the moment. Could you imagine what people like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton would do and say about the Green Bay Packers if TT has two white receivers starting? Is there even remotely another team in the NFL that starts even one other than Green Bay?

      Yes, it could and probably will happen but not now. There’s just too much tension and violence going on in the country at the moment to do so. TT could be holding back on purpose which is probably a wise move. The last thing TT or GB needs is Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson showing up in Green Bay bringing with them the R word. The last time that happened was when Ron Wolf fired Ray Rhodes after only one season. Boy, that was one heck of a PR mess. I am sure Teddy Tee remembers it well.

      1. Yor a moron. Race has nothing to do with who starts. Janis still has alot to learn cominf from a small college. He is not ready for prime time yet.

        1. Archie, no I am not a racist. My favorite player is Mike Pennel. I am an African American who is a conservative. You talk about being in the minority. lol I hate what Jackson and Sharpton do. Makes the community look bad. I don’t care for them. If that makes me racist you naming yourself Archie also makes you an automatic racist I guess. I watched All In The Family so I know what your name represents.
          I said “stretch” for a reason. It’s a possibility especially if TT decides to let Cobb go. He promotes Janis and Abberderis with Jordy then all it takes is one person to make the claim (Jennings or even Cobb himself) and GB has a PR problem on their hands. Don’t want to see that but it could happen is all I am saying. Peace out Archie!!

  8. I don’t think Cobb is going to be a greedy pig, I have a feeling he wants Rodgers throwing to him the rest of his career. As far as how TT decides… take away all reasoning and common sense then you have the answer.

    1. I hope you’re right, because I sure would like to see him stay and play out his career in green and gold.

  9. Umm, Cobb is leading the league in TDs… Seems like youre wrong about the lack of separation comment, at least in the endzone where it counts

  10. 2nd in the league in TDs, T11th in First Downs, T24th in receptions, 31st in yards. When the #1 receiving option (Jordy) is leading the league in 1st downs, yards, and is 3rd in receptions … those are really good numbers.

    Also, Adams and Cobb don’t play the same position. Cobb is a slot receiver in the mold of Wes Welker. Adams is a split (where James Jones played). The Packers play a predominantly 3 WR set as it is, they are both starting. Adams would replace Jordy… not Cobb.

  11. Why would you even talk about letting Cobb go? This is moronic. We need all of them for as long as possible. Cobb is nowhere near the point where one would begin to consider a successor.

  12. As noted by others, Cobb is a slot receiver. There is no evidence that Adams can play the slot at a high level. Nelson can play the slot well (but I think he is too valuable split wide though), but the next best slot receiver might be Myles White. Here are the stats for Cobb for 2012 and for this year extrapolated over 16 games:

    ’12: Yds: 954; Rec 80 11.9 ave; Targets 104; TDs 8; 1st Dns: 45

    14: Yds: 882; Rec 77 11.4 ave; Ts: 109; Tds 18.5; 1st Downs 56

    Note that in 2012, Cobb played 15 games. His TDs and receptions for first downs are both way up this year. I think that his yards per catch average is down a bit because I don’t see him catching many balls over the middle in space where his elusiveness and ability to run after the catch can be utilized. I attribute this to having to keep TEs in to block and not running RBs out into the flat, etc., in short, we can’t unclutter the middle of the defense and run crossing routes and delays there.

    The NFL has no love for slot receivers. Good slot guys are getting about $6 or $7 million per year in FA. No reason to think TT won’t pay that over 4 years with a decent % guaranteed for Cobb. If TT declines, the money will not flow to Neal, as suggested for wholly unknown reasons by the author. I like Neal, but he is JAG right now.

  13. We can’t afford to lose Cobb. The Packers already miss James Jones, and losing Cobb would be foolish. I don’t think he’ll break the bank, but losing him could be costly. Adams is awesome, but he needs another year before we can see what his ceiling looks like.

  14. Cobb is awesome. I make it a policy to put wins above stats and in that regard he is invaluable. With 7 TDs already this year, I doubt he or the Packers feel that he is coming up short.

    I expect that Adams has a great future as well. The two of them are different types of receivers. Cobb’s intelligence and agility make him excellent in the slot, while Adams is built for the outside. They compliment each other, not cancel each other out.

  15. I think its way too early for this type of thinking. First because while Adams is off to a good start, janis, Abby, Dorsey and Myles White are still question marks and you need at least 3 proven receivers in today’s game. Second because of the different player’s styles. Adams replaces James Jones, not Cobb. Janis, if he works out, will replace the younger version Jordy Nelson as Nelson replaces Greg Jennings (and at a higher level in Jordy’s case.) Abby, Dorsey and white might become very valuable fourth and fifth good receivers in that group — it would be nice to go back to 2011 and the only ones who cost ‘real’ money for the next few years are Nelson (already paid) and Cobb. We wont need to spend big bucks at TE now that Finley is finished, so there is plenty of cap budget to pay two good receivers.

    As for Cobb not plying as well, other people have pointed out that he is really the only slot option right now. What is limited right now is as much playcalling as it is Cobb’s physical readiness because Cobb is only one of two legitimate deep threats in an offense that needs four (Adams, if he keeps it up, will be the third, but he cannot replace both Jones and Finley as a receivers). Bostick could give you that deep threat from the TE position, but it seems like he is not fully recovered yet.

    And that’s the third reason — injuries in todays NFL can be repaired well enough for a player to get back on the field, but that doesn’t mead they are fully healed. Full recovery sometimes takes a full year or more (look at Tramon Williams from 2011-2013). So i’m not surprised Cobb may still be slowed down a little, and that shouldn’t make us question his long term role as a key player in this offense. he is 24, and has about 7-9 seasons left as a top WR/multi-tool threat.

    Cobb might want to check the market, the way Shields did last spring before making a deal just before FA started. TT might let Cobb check the market, to make sure he is satisfied with whatever deal that gets made. But there is no way TT just lets Cobb go if the money is at all reasonable.

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