The Packers have won five straight games after a 2-3 start despite the absence of wide receiver Greg Jennings for all of those games and wide receiver Jordy Nelson for all or most of two of them.
Much of the credit for those wins has gone to quarterback Aaron Rodgers, but the Packers have also uncovered a major offensive contributor in Randall Cobb. The wideout is leading the team in catches and ranks second in receiving yards and touchdowns in his second season while also acting as a threat on running plays and in the return game. That’s led defensive tackle B.J. Raji to put him on a pretty lofty perch right alongside Rodgers in the team’s hierarchy.
“(They) are the only two guys that we really need out there,” Raji said, via Jason Wilde of ESPNWisconsin.com. “He’s our version of Percy Harvin, man.”
Coach Mike McCarthy wouldn’t go quite that far, citing tight end Jermichael Finley’s 2010 injury as a reminder of why he doesn’t want to build the offense too much around any player. The Packers haven’t done that this year, but Cobb’s versatility means that he can fill a role on just about every play. That’s not true of everyone on the Packers offense, which is why Cobb’s taken on such a big role this year.
Offensive coordinator Tom Clements admits Harvin was one of the inspirations for Cobb’s role this season, along with Saints running back Darren Sproles, and that influence can be seen in the way Cobb lines up all over the field on offense. The results have been pretty similar as well, which is a big reason why the Packers have weathered a shaky start and several injuries to key players without the whole season going in the wrong direction.