ST. LOUIS – At some point, Aaron Rodgers is going to run out of nice things to say about Randall Cobb.
Based on how the second-year wide receiver is playing for the Green Bay Packers, he’ll continue to do things deserving of compliments, Rodgers will simply have delivered so many that he’ll be left speechless.
Last Tuesday, the Packers quarterback posited that Cobb would “go down as one of the best picks in Ted Thompson’s career, if not the best.” On Wednesday, Rodgers called Cobb “a big-time player” and continued to rave about his “his maturity, his class, the professionalism that he exudes.”
In the wake of Cobb’s performance in Sunday’s 30-20 victory over the ST. Louis Rams – eight receptions for 89 yards and two touchdowns plus a 19-yard run while also maintaining his return responsibilities – Rodgers was at it again. And with good reason.
“He’s a star in the making. He’s a big-time player,” Rodgers said, using one new compliment while recycling another. “He has the right approach for being a professional. He takes his job very seriously. He sees the game through the eyes of a quarterback; he’s played quarterback before. He asks the right questions, he wants to be on the same page with me, he wants to know what I’m thinking. He’s always in tune to second-reaction plays.
“Those were some big-time plays. The first really got us going — he broke a tackle — and the second one kept that drive going. He’s a lot of fun to play with and he’s a good human being, which makes it even easier.”
The two plays Rodgers was referring to came during what ended up being the Packers’ victory-clinching drive. First, on second-and-10 from the Packers’ 20-yard line, Cobb took a shovel pass and picked up 11 yards to jump-start the drive. Then, on third-and-7 on the Packers’ 34, Cobb caught a Rodgers pass short of the first-down marker but slipped through traffic for an 8-yard gain, keeping the drive alive.
Those two players made a third possible: A 39-yard touchdown grab on which Rodgers made a fabulous on-the-run throw after Cobb reacted to his scramble by breaking open down the field. Rodgers threw the ball in the perfect spot, over the outstretched arm of cornerback Trumaine Johnson, and the TD, with 3:06 to go, sealed the victory.
“Randall is a unique player. He can play the 1, 2 3 spot in the wide receiver position, also he can play out of the backfield. And obviously we know what he can do as a returner,” said coach Mike McCarthy, who has been a mad scientist with Cobb this year after only a few limited experiments with him as a rookie.
“We’re focused on trying to make sure he gets some opportunities each game, and I thought Aaron did a good job with that of getting him the ball in those particular situations. I thought he was exceptional on a couple of those third-down plays in the second half to keep the sticks going. He’s a young dynamic player.”
On the touchdown, Cobb said he initially was open inside, then saw Rodgers break the pocket on the free play created by an impending Rams offsides penalty. It was exactly the kind of second-reaction play that Rodgers is smitten with from Cobb.
“We knew that they had jumped. They’re offsides, and we’re thinking automatically, ‘Get open for Aaron,’” Cobb said. “I actually went inside and I was open on the inside, and I saw him scrambling back to the left, and so I reversed and came back to the left, just tried to get in his vision and come back upfield. Got to make the play. That’s the only thing in my head – catch the ball.”
He did, just as he did last week against Houston, when he had seven receptions for 102 yards. His relationship with Rodgers – compliments aside – just keeps getting better.
“I feel it’s come a long way. He trust me a lot more. Even on the free plays like you saw at the end of the game, just trusting me and me being able to make the plays for him,” Cobb said. “I’m just trying to be consistent with that and do all I can to help him and this offense and this team.
“It’s just a feel thing – understanding which way he’s moving and moving with him, seeing that he’s always got his eyes downfield. If you throw your hand up, he’s going to find you.”
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