After worst game of his career, Packers’ Randall Cobb goes back to work
GREEN BAY — Randall Cobb pulled into the driveway of his suburban Green Bay home around 8:30 Sunday night at the end of an excruciatingly bad day at work.
His wife, Aiyda, and the couple’s six-week-old infant son, Caspian, were waiting for him. Caspian needed a fresh bottle. Dad needed a hug.
“As soon as I put my hands around him, it made everything better,” the Green Bay Packers veteran wide receiver said earlier this week as the team turned its attention from last Sunday’s loss at Washington to this Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills at Lambeau Field.
Then, Cobb paused.
As much as Caspian has helped Cobb see football in a different light, changing a diaper didn’t change what had happened against the Redskins. His two dropped passes and critical late-game fumble had still played a colossal role in the team’s loss, and for Cobb — the same guy who’d had the winning 75-yard touchdown catch-and-run in the season opener against Chicago — that was not the norm. He is accustomed to making big plays in big moments, not big mistakes.
And his performance was unacceptable.
“At the end of the day, this is my job. This is my profession,” Cobb said. “I’ve got to come back and get to work. Luckily, I have Sunday to come back.”
Cobb, who finished the game with just four receptions for 23 yards after catching 13 passes for 172 yards in the first two weeks, said the game-long rain showers had nothing to do with his ball insecurity. Wearing a wrap on his right wrist as he spoke on Monday, he said that didn’t factor into it, either.
“It’s all on me,” he said. “No reason to cite anything else.”
Asked if Sunday had been the worst game of his NFL career, Cobb racked his brain and came up empty. He couldn’t remember a game in college at Kentucky in which he’d made so many crucial mistakes, either. In eight seasons, he’s been far more likely to make big plays in critical situations than fail to make them.
“Watching the film, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was. But it was the critical moments. I’ve never felt like I’ve had situations like that in critical situations,” Cobb said. “It’s disappointing anytime you drop the ball. You just move forward. There’s a lot of football left to be played. I hope by the end of the season that we’re not talking about this game and these moments. I hope I come back from this.
“Bad things happen in life and you move forward. You use these mistakes and learn from them and correct what I felt I did wrong and move forward.”
Both of Cobb’s drops, including one on fourth down that was initially ruled a catch but overturned by replay review, would have picked up first downs and sustained drives. The fumble, which came with 5 minutes, 32 seconds left in the game and with the Packers still within 28-17, essentially ruined any chance of a comeback. Afterward, Cobb answered reporters’ questions, made no excuses and vowed to atone.
“I have zero concerns about him,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “He’s the same guy every day. He’s got tremendous work ethic. It was a hard game for our team. We need to be better from the corrections we make.”
One correction Cobb has made since Caspian’s arrival is to be more even-keeled about his performance. After a career-best season in 2014 (91 receptions, 1,287 yards, 12 touchdowns), he endured injury problems in 2015 and 2016 that limited his effectiveness. Last year, he was finally healthy for most of the season, but without Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, his numbers (66 receptions, 653 yards, four TDs) suffered.
With Rodgers back at the controls — even though he’s currently hobbled by a troublesome left knee injury — Cobb’s issues against the Redskins should be a one-game aberration. Even if he bounces back with another 100-yard performance against the Bills, he said, it’s important that he doesn’t let it impact him — just as he’s not letting a bad performance linger.
Caspian has taught him that.
“I’m just handling it the same way I always do — go back to work. Go back to work and do everything I can to prepare myself for Buffalo,” Cobb said. “I used to ride that emotional roller-coaster, of the way the game went or whatever.
“I had 80-some text messages after the Chicago game, but I didn’t have many after this game. I used to ride that emotional roller coaster — now I stay grounded. Because the same way I was feeding my baby in the middle of the night after the Chicago game, he was there for me when I was having a bad moment.”