Packers’ Cobb won’t worry about expectations
GREEN BAY — Davante Adams wasn’t expecting an immediate reply, but he has to text something. He was too excited not to.
The Green Bay Packers second-year wide receiver didn’t say where he first learned the news – Twitter, SportsCenter, what does it matter? – but before the ink was dry on fellow wideout Randall Cobb’s new four-year, $40 million deal, Adams was already having delusions of grandeur when he sent Cobb a congratulatory note.
“When I heard he was back,” Adams said Tuesday, following the Packers’ second open organized team activity practice of the offseason, “I’m just thinking about getting a ring.”
No pressure there, Randall.
But here’s the thing: As far as Cobb is concerned, the pressure really is off. A year ago, he was entering the final year of his rookie deal and coming of a season in which he missed 10 games with a fractured right lower leg. The Packers hadn’t made any meaningful effort to sign him to an extension, and as training camp opened, Cobb was talking about how much he had to prove.
Of course, Cobb then went out and did it, catching 91 passes for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns last season. Including the team’s two playoff games, Cobb finished with 106 receptions for 1,465 yards and 13 TDs; fellow Pro Bowl pick Jordy Nelson had 105 receptions for 1,612 yards and 13 TDs.
It’s easy to forget, though, that early on in the season, Cobb struggled, and he later admitted that his worrying about a new contract “definitely had something to do with” his slow start, during which he caught only 14 passes for 126 yards in the first three games.
“This time last year I was thinking about, ‘OK, what is it that I have to do to get to that point?'” Cobb admitted Tuesday after practice. “It’s really out of your control. You just have to go out there and continue to practice and do the things that you do. A lot of times, me personally, I’m my biggest critic. I think it may have been one play that could change everything. ‘Oh, if I do this one play, then they’re going to sign me back.’ No, that’s not how it works.”
Cobb admitted that was a mistake on his part, but he’s promised himself not to make a similar mistake this season – pressing and putting additional pressure on himself to justify his new contract.
“That pressure is released. I don’t have to worry about those things,” Cobb said. “I can focus on continuing to work on my craft and do different things and just get better.”
With Nelson reduced to being a spectator at OTAs because of offseason hip surgery, Cobb, who’ll turn 25 in August, is the unit’s elder statesman. (Nelson is with the receivers throughout practice, even though he’s not participating.) When the Packers lined up in their three-receiver set during a 2-minute drill that featured the No. 1 offense against the No. 1 defense, quarterback Aaron Rodgers had Cobb, Adams and Jeff Janis as his three options.
Once Nelson is cleared to return to practice (presumably for training camp), Jared Abbrederis’ surgically repaired anterior cruciate ligament is deemed ready for more than just individual drills, and rookie third-round pick Ty Montgomery can come back after Stanford’s classes let out, the Packers will have an interesting mix of young depth at the position.
And while Nelson is coming off a single-season Packers franchise record for receiving yards (1,519), Adams said Cobb is really the one who makes life easier for the guys on the outside because of all the attention he draws in the slot.
“We all work off each other,” Adams said. “With him in the slot, they can’t double-team Jordy, they can’t double-team me and vice versa with anybody because we all have the confidence and the ability to tear defenses up.”
That’s what most fans (and fantasy owners) will be expecting Cobb to do each week – and he’s fine with that.
“[I’m] just focused on everything I can to get this team to the Super Bowl. It doesn’t change anything,” he said. “I have to come in here every day and prove myself. I have to continue to get better, I have to continue to be a helping hand for these younger guys and help them understand the offense and what we’re trying to accomplish.
“Money isn’t the thing with me. I’m going to continue to be the best player I can be. No dollar sign or no expectation, I have the biggest expectations for myself. Nobody in this room, nobody in this building, none of you all, no fan can set expectations that aren’t higher than my own. Having a mindset like that I don’t really worry about expectations.”
Listen to Jason Wilde every weekday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on “Green & Gold Today,” and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/jasonjwilde.
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