Randall Cobb is right where Aaron Rodgers needs him to be
Randall Cobb is right where Aaron Rodgers needs him to be.
GREEN BAY – It seemed like old times between Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb out there.
“It was a lot of fun tonight,” Rodgers remarked.
Even from a seasoned veteran like Cobb, a five-catch, 69-yard, two-TD effort in the Packers’ 27-17 victory against the Steelers shouldn’t be taken for granted.
It’s easy to forget he arrived a little over two months ago,
eager to learn a new system and reunite with his closest friend and longtime quarterback after a two-year separation.
The latter was the simple part. Cobb had a head start on the former by living at Rodgers’ home for the first week
or so of training camp before moving to Green Bay with his family after the late July trade.
Cobb went through the offensive playbook installs at his own speed as part of their evening ritual.
“He shushed me a couple of times when there was too much information.”
Cobb’s function was restricted early on, despite how fast he mastered everything.
Through the first three weeks, he had just 16 plays per game,
but Marquez Valdes-hamstring Scantling’s injury late in last Sunday’s game opened the way.
Cobb was exactly where Rodgers wanted him to be early on
when he saw Pittsburgh’s strategy was to double-team Davante Adams and attempt to take him out of the game.
Rodgers found Cobb over the middle for 8 yards on Green Bay’s second drive of the game, on third-and-6. Rodgers to Cobb for 12 yards on third-and-4 three plays later.
Third-and-10 from the Pittsburgh 23 on the next drive, after a Steelers fumble.
A touchdown pass from Rodgers to Cobb on a long crosser.
“Playing in the slot requires a certain amount of skill,” Rodgers remarked.
“Having another player in there who can get open like that and with the feeling that he has gives us a lot of options in the attack.”
Rodgers went to Cobb across the middle on third down on the first possession of the second half, needing 7 yards and getting 25. Later in the third quarter,
Rodgers rushed and hit Cobb right at the pylon for a 1-yard TD hookup, capping off a time-traveling performance.
“It’s like riding a bike,” Cobb said. “You’ve known each other for a long time and you understand each other. He knows how I move,
so he knows when I’m getting ready to break on my path. It’s a case of muscle memory.”
So much so that later in the second half, a trio of players converged on the same defensive opening – Rodgers’ throw, Cobb,
and Adams – and a leaping Cobb intercepted what might have been a huge play for Adams. When you’re up 17 points, there’s no harm in trying,
but the play showed how Cobb is not just settling into his new system, but also rediscovering the mental chemistry that Rodgers has always had with his top receivers.