Ex-Cat Randall Cobb developing better understanding of NFL game

mmaloney@herald-leader.comSeptember 24, 2013 

CINCINNATI — The disappointment was practically etched in Randall Cobb's face.

His Green Bay Packers had just blown a 30-14 lead and lost a wild 34-30 contest to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Cobb, the former University of Kentucky multi-purpose threat, repeatedly summed up matters with "we didn't execute."

Targeted 11 times by quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Cobb was held to 54 yards on five receptions.

Most painful was coming inches shy of a fourth-quarter first down, a play on which the Bengals successfully challenged the spot of the ball. A play later, the Packers fumbled, and Cincinnati's Terence Newman returned the ball 58 yards for the winning score.

"It happened so fast, I don't know exactly where the spot was," Cobb said of his catch. "But I've got to do a better job of getting the first down, knowing where the sticks are, lowering my back, getting under that defender and getting everything, picking up the first down.

"We didn't play well. We didn't play like we expected to play. It's tough. We went up against a good defense but when it comes down to it, we have to execute."

Since being a second-round draft pick of the Packers in 2011, Cobb has most often been able to execute in thrilling fashion.

A double threat as a receiver and kick returner, he led the league with 2,342 combined yards in 2012 despite missing the season finale because of injury. That topped the franchise record of 2,250 set by Ahman Green in 2003.

With 954 receiving yards and 964 on kickoff returns, he became the first player in NFL history to top 900 yards in both categories. He led the team with 80 catches and was second in TD grabs with eight.

This season, he surpassed 100 yards in each of Green Bay's first two games.

None of which made him feel better Sunday afternoon.

"It's tough. Obviously we wanted to go into the bye week with a win and we didn't do that. We didn't execute tonight," Cobb said. "I know our defense played hands down one of the best games I've seen since I've been here. They put us in great situations all night and we weren't able to execute on offense and give ourselves an opportunity to win this game."

Cobb, who has three kick-return scores (two punts, one kickoff) in his career, has taken on more in his receiving role each year.

"It's developed into a different role and I'm just trying to take the opportunities that I have and make the most out of them and do the best I can in all those situations," he said.

Asked how he's better now than he was a year ago, he answered: "I think as a receiver, as far as understanding more so the techniques and fundamentally sound. And things come more natural to me in different ways."

He says his relationship with Rodgers "has really blossomed over the past couple years — getting a better understanding for each other and just playing well together."

When told that Rodgers has been quoted as saying he'd like him to catch 100 balls this season, the receiver was asked if he shared that goal.

"As long as we're winning. It doesn't really matter to me. It's not a priority," Cobb said. "Of course, I have goals that I've set myself, but that's not a priority. The priority is for us to win games, and we didn't do that tonight."

Randall Cobb's season and career statistics

Mark Maloney: (859) 231-3229.Twitter: @MarkMaloneyHL. Blog: markmaloney.bloginky.com

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