Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 8/2/13
Moments after lamenting errant shotgun snaps and one JV-level botched toss coach Mike McCarthy was asked about Randall Cobb. The Green Bay Packers wide receiver may be a rising star a future All-Pro. But one problem from 2012 has spilled into the first week of training camp — the occasional bout of butterfingers. Cobb? Drops? McCarthy swats the question away. "Randall Cobb catches the football very well" McCarthy said. "He might drop a ball. I don't know if there's a concern. But it's something we spend a lot of time on. We need to catch the football better....I've never been part of a perimeter group that accepts anything less than being 100 percent and that's what we're striving for. "As far as Randall Cobb's evaluation of catching the football he has very good hands." Good enough hands to warrant continuous praise from Aaron Rodgers. The quarterback believes Cobb can be "a 100-catch guy." But for that to happen — year in year out — Cobb will need to cut down his drops. Last season according to statistics kept by the Journal Sentinel Cobb had a team-high 10 dropped passes. Through camp the 5-foot-10 192-pounder already has dropped at least four in competitive drills. On Wednesday and Thursday he muffed the first pass thrown to him in the receiver-friendly one-on-one drills against cornerbacks. And after Thursday's drop in the next period a wide-open Cobb couldn't handle a catchable ball from Rodgers on a seam route prompting one nearby fan to shout "Alligator arms!" Nobody in Green Bay is exactly panicking. Wide receivers coach Edgar Bennett is quick to list all of Cobb's attributes — the "versatility" the "toughness" the "tenacity" being a "student of the game." All of that led to a breakout season of 80 receptions for 954 yards and eight touchdowns last year. Cobb is the precise weapon offenses in 2013 crave. Green Bay can line him up quite literally anywhere. But he needs to catch the football first. For Cobb that could be the difference between good and great. "We'll just continue to make that the primary emphasis for us" Bennett said. "Catching the football how we're catching the football attacking the ball not allowing the ball to cross our eyes looking the ball all the way in. But he had two today that he definitely shouldn't have." Some drops are the result of a receiver not extending his hands or adjusting to the ball Bennett explained. And many times wideouts — like Cobb — let the ball "cross their eyes." They fail to look the ball in tuck it away and then make a move. "Sometimes guys might lose that and just take their eyes off of it as far as getting ready to run" Bennett said. "Generally sometimes that's what happens. Instead of looking the ball all the way into the tuck they get ready to see where the defender's coming from and not put the ball away and look the ball all the way in." He's going to see the ball a lot again. Cobb was targeted 104 times in 2012. With Greg Jennings off to Minnesota chances are Cobb's role will increase. A receiver who excelled wide and inside — something Cobb aspires to be — Jennings never had prolonged problems with drops. For all of his creativity and flash this summer is also about getting back to basics for Cobb. "We'll address what happens and we'll clean it up and we should be fine" Bennett said. "It's not an issue. It won't be an issue." Next level: Dynamic runs in the Packers' offense have been almost non-existent the last three seasons. The last time Green Bay averaged less than 4 yards per carry in back-to-back-to-back seasons was 1993-'95. Maybe Eddie Lacy (via power) and Johnathan Franklin (via shiftiness) can help change that. When the Packers have all defenders accounted for in the trenches McCarthy is looking for a back capable of making a linebacker or defensive back miss. It's "easy math" he said. The defense has 11 players and the offense has 10 excluding the quarterback handing the ball off. The Packers need more explosion.
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