Randall Cobb is surely a big part of the Green Bay Packers' 2014 season. Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Green Bay Packers' next rising superstar: Randall Cobb

It seems like every year or two the Green Bay Packers retire a great one.

Most recently, Donald Driver finally sat out after an illustrious career as an all-time great, with 9,575 yards receiving, second only to James Lofton. But with Driver gone, the team has ammunition ready to take on the NFL.

Jordy Nelson stepped up last season to fill Driver’s outstanding passion for catching footballs and running them straight to the promised land for seven points. In the midst of the Packers version of General Hospital, the Pack somehow stayed hot enough to make the playoffs, thanks to a few stepping up.

This indicates one thing: Depth.

Thanks to the talent pool, the team never had a position go dry when their best talent was hanging out at the doctor’s office. This has been the case since right after Brett Favre stepped in to tear up the league, passing to daylight, taking pages from the 1960s Packers offensive attack. Now the rules have changed. Passing all day long has been the new bombs-away method, ever since Bill Walsh’s genius bumped heads with quarterback legend Joe Montana, now a generation ago.

Now on to this year’s “Rising Superstar Award.” The Packers most certainly have the ability to produce several with this year’s team, but one of the favorites who was on pace to put up some really nice statistics last year (100-plus catches) was Randall Cobb.

One of the favorites who was on pace to put up some really nice statistics last year (100-plus catches) was Randall Cobb.

In staying healthy through the course of 16 games will give the him what he deserved last year. The Pack hasn’t had a big number out of Mike McCarthy’s spread-the-wealth offense; where passes go to as many as seven and even 10 different players, including substitutes at nearly every position from the running backs, tight ends, and receivers.

Cobb could move back into his spot as one of the top receivers, and keep that going through a new contract and for years to come. Randall possesses some raw natural talent that we haven’t seen on the Packers offense since the days of J.J. (John Jefferson) and James Lofton. While Double-D had the ability to do it and do it right, he didn’t stand out as much. Where speed and acrobatic stunts seem to describe Cobb, persistent steady play and smarts would best describe Donald Driver.

As far as the Packers fans go, this is football at it best. Do you know what? It is football at its best.

Randall Cobb catches a pass over the middle against the 49ers in 2012. Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Randall Cobb catches a pass over the middle against the 49ers in 2012.
Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Offenses, seeing what their defense can do, will give a psychological boost to the Packer offense. It’s like, “Hey, that defense looked good. Now let’s get out there with the ball and make it happen. We need to show the “D” what we can do now.” It’s the old one-hand-feeds-the-other routine, and that is an excellent way for things to happen to pull out an early lead, taking away the need for a two-minute drill in the fourth quarter. These things are the type of fuel that keeps the Pack on top.

Let’s hope we can sit and see this happen, not just against the hapless Vikings or Tampa Bay, but against the better teams. Pulling off a 17-point lead against even a .500 team shows dominance, prominence and eminence.

These three elements can be a starting point. Preparation isn’t the only thing a team needs, for preparation alone might get you past the lower end of teams in the league, but you will need more than that to take on the 49ers or Seahawks. It seems the Packers will need all their weapons against the top dogs this year.

With the changes that have been made, I wouldn’t brag about the Packers until they win, especially on the far West Coast, where the Packers have traditionally had a hard time playing their level of high-grade NFL football.

How does a player get to a position to be considered for the Player of the Year? Just watch Cobb. Watching football has become a pastime of spectacular feats. It seems that every other play has this element in so many games. Seen a good grind-it-out game that pairs running games exclusively lately?

Not when you have Aaron Rodgers, Nelson, Cobb, and Lacy among a dozen new faces booking for the same respect a Rodgers or Lacy now has. Not only around the league, but even more so among his Packer brothers. It’s a status thing, and that list has grown during the past couple years.

A strong offensive showing for Green Bay will again be present this coming season. We might have to wait until Sept. 4 to see things move full swing, taking out all the stops and cautionary play.

Randall Cobb will be looked to for major contributions in 2014. Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Randall Cobb will be looked to for major contributions in 2014.
Raymond T. Rivard photograph

The history of Randall Cobb began with awards and notoriety. This spread from the hood he lived in to the city he attended high school, and further as college came into the scene. Then he made the pros, and while we’ve seen his name mentioned nationally, it hasn’t been ranked as Superstar – YET. As we know, capital lettered words denotes “screaming” to online readers. The last sentence includes YET. There has been a trend around the league we saw as the season began to wind down last season (2013). This media flooding of sorts, was given to Eddie Lacy, as deserved.

Along with the award for the most improved player, Randall Cobb will be on pre- and post-game shows, If he continues to play anywhere near the level we have seen him take as a Packer. The Mags, Big city sports sections of the newspapers, radio talk shows, NFL highlight films … and more will be Cobb’s new-found publicity. This comes along with the numbers he produces. I was asked the other day what I mean by “numbers,” using this word often as I describe players. Pick up any of the old Packers yearbooks. You will find pages of nothng but numbers and with them lists of what the numbers mean. DD’s numbers will show he had 9.675 yards as a lifetime record.

Wearing number 18 for the Green & Gold, “Randall Ladonald Cobb II” at the young age of 23 is poised to match Jordy Nelson this year. Nelson may hang on to his well-earned spot, all the way into the season. Jordy is not a fluke or overreached by default No. 1 team receiver. He didn’t get into the NFL hand-picked by Ted Thompson by sliding a couple bucks to his superiors. He showed them the game film. He showed them the camaraderie among his teammates, and worked on off days to show the people of Green Bay and Wisconsin his community spirit.

The Ace, stud, and 2014 “This Year’s New Superstar,” was born Aug. 22, 1990, and is the Packers wide receiver who appears to be one of the fastest after the catch the NFL has seen in a long time. He has an impressive achievements history, including playing high school football at Alcoa High School in Alcoa, Tenn. The school team was a four-time State Champion, where Cobb earned the “Mr. Football” trophy from the Tennessee Athletic Association. Randall played quarterback in High School and was an “All District” basketball player as a junior, and an accomplish Track & Field runner. He also excelled as a track star in High School in the 100 & 200 meters as well as holding second and third place all-time records for his school.

Randall passed on track in college.

In the tradition he created in his accredited beginnings, Cobb’s college home was at Kentucky. As a freshman, he earned the SEC All-Freshman quarterback award, scoring, receiving, and rushing for touchdowns. It wasn’t until his sophomore year that he turned receiver, and kick returner, field goal holder and Qb out of the Wildcat formation. He scored 4 receiving, 1 return, and 10 rushing touchdowns in his second year there. He held the school record with four touchdowns in one game (Auburn) and tied the TD record at 32, as a junior.

Randall Cobb was a second round pick. TT, who thought Cobb was a steal for a second round pick, took Cobb as the best talent on the board at the time. At 5-10, 185 pounds, with a 4.39 forty-yard dash, he was 185 soaking wet, in track clothes. A seemingly 4.2 seconds in the 40-yard-dash, Cobb is known as a ‘burner’ on his feet.

In the pro ranks Cobb received the play of the year award in his first game of the rookie season, by scoring two TDs, one on a 108-yard touchdown in his freshman year.

His Packers statistics between the 2011 season and an incomplete season in 2013, are not as tantalizing as one might think, due to an injury-shortened season. Aaron Rodgers described Cobb as a 100-reception type guy. Last year Cobb was headed in that direction. A fractured fibula (leg) took him out of action, but Cobb returned in December, back at 100 percent, and his normal 115 percent speed-wise.

Viewed as a training year, Cobb’s only full season didn’t bring complete action yet for the star, and his numbers were down some in 2012. He came on in a flash after retirements and players leaving the team allowed Cobb to move into the top spot as starter. Nelson is listed today as the team’s number one man, with Cobb behind him, due to the number of receptions. I think Cobb will come into what he’s all about in 2014, barring another major catastrophic event.

The five games Cobb played in last season resulted in a team-leading 31 catches for 378 yards. The 2012 season saw Cobb gain the franchise record, with a combined 2,342 yards in receiving, kick-offs and rushing. He ran for 78 yards last season (4 plays) from a running back position in the splits skill load. His return duties were taken when he became a starting receiver.

Cobb’s 88 catches in 2012 put him on the map for the Packers. 2013 produced on 25-of-34 targets in four games before breaking his leg. This would be equal to 100-of-136 for a 16-game season. With James Jones and Donald Driver gone, Cobb was in position to latch onto the top spot, and he did until the broken leg took it all away. Cobb racked up another 128-yard day last season vs. Washington, on 9 catches, to go along with the 108 yards against the 49ers, and averaged a whopping 25.5 yards per-catch in the Packers playoff loss to the 49ers on four receptions.

Together Cobb spells a couple of things: Promising and world-class.

2014 is the year Randall Cobb turns into a name well known and feared in the NFL.

Motivation can go far. In thinking positive of Randall Cobb, one will just fall into his ‘numbers’ by season’s end, taking the zeros as a slap in the face, or the new records as a pat on the back, but it’s much nicer being correct and thinking of the good things to come.

How will this story look next January? You can bet Randall Cobb turns superstar this season. If you have a hard time believing me, ask his mother.

Rumor has it that Randall’s first two words were, “Football (pause) Mama.”

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