GREEN BAY – The Green Bay Packers aren’t making a change on punt and kickoff returns, but the coaches are at least mulling the idea that they’re spreading do-everything Randall Cobb a bit thin.
To that end, special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum didn’t dismiss a question Monday about the possibility of using practice-squad call-up Jeremy Ross as a returner to take some of the load off Cobb.
“We’ll make those decisions as we go through the week from a game management standpoint,” Slocum said. “I think he’s good. He’s a natural catcher of the ball. He’s strong, he’s got excellent speed and I think he’s got good vision.”
The 6-foot, 215-pound Ross signed with the Packers’ practice squad on Oct. 17, after he spent the final 13 games of last season on the Indianapolis Colts’ practice squad. He came into the league as an undrafted rookie free agent from California-Berkeley and spent training camp last year with the New England Patriots.
Ross finished his career at Cal ranked No. 2 on the school’s all-time punt return list with a 15.2-yard average, and Slocum said he could do both kickoffs and punts if called upon.
Cobb averaged 22.7 yards on three kickoff returns and 3.7 yards on three punt returns, thanks largely to the minus-7 return he had late in the first half. His kickoff returns were 30, 15 and 23 yards. On offense, Cobb had a one run for 5 yards and had six receptions for 62 yards, sharing the team lead for receptions and leading the team in receiving yards for the game.
With Jordy Nelson unlikely to play against Detroit next Sunday night and veteran Donald Driver having sat out Sunday’s game with a thumb injury, keeping Cobb healthy is vital, especially now. Nonetheless, Slocum believes Cobb is too valuable as a returner to yank him from those jobs to keep him out of harm’s way, even though he said Cobb does a good job of avoiding absorbing “the big hit” from tacklers.
“Let’s don’t put the cart before the horse. Let the week’s progression take its natural course. We’ll make those decisions,” Slocum said. “Randall’s our returner and at this point I don’t anticipate changing a whole lot.”
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