Off the Snap: Randall Cobb struggling with ‘butterfingers’ early in camp
Catching you up on the latest must-read news and analysis from around the web…
• The Green Bay Packers are banking on Randall Cobb being a critical piece in their offense (and fantasy players are scooping Cobb up early in drafts, expecting him to push the ranks of elite receivers this year). According to Tyler Dunne of the Journal Sentinel, though, Cobb has struggled with “the occasional bout of butterfingers” early in camp.
“Randall Cobb catches the football very well,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said, per Dunne. “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.”
Cobb led the team with 10 drops last season — he had 10 of them in the regular season, compared to 80 catches. The Packers need that latter number to rise exponentially this season, as Cobb will fill a top-two receiver role with Jordy Nelson. For that to happen Cobb may have to show a little more consistency to fully gain Aaron Rodgers’ trust.
You’ll remember that one of the big sources of frustration for the Packers and their fans with tight end Jermichael Finley is that he tends to let the football hit the turf more often than he should. Cobb’s problem has not reached that level yet. But if the drops prevent Cobb from taking the next step in 2013, it certainly would become much more of a central concern.
• Bryant McKinnie stepped into the Ravens’ starting lineup last season just in time for their thrilling run to a championship. They would like him to be a starter throughout the regular season this year, though a lot of that plan will depend on McKinnie’s conditioning.
And, so far, it’s not going well.
McKinnie has struggled with his weight throughout his NFL career, and he reported to training camp at 356 pounds — 10 pounds above his target playing weight.
“I was a little over the weight I was assigned,” McKinnie said, according to the Baltimore Sun‘s Aaron Wilson. “It wasn’t the conditioning, I was just overweight from the assigned weight. We wanted to spend that first day doing cardio to get that down. I’m 10 pounds over my weight. My assigned weight is 346.”
• Any receiver that carves out some playing time in the Saints’ offense has a chance to put up hefty numbers, thanks to one Drew Brees. Marques Colston, Lance Moore and Joe Morgan probably will be the first three pass-catchers up for New Orleans in 2013, but the depth chart has room for at least a couple more.
Cory Gunkel of Canal Street Chronicles took a look at where the remaining WR roster battles stand at the start of August. The verdict right now: Nick Toon and rookie Kenny Stills have the inside track on the fourth and fifth receiver spots.
• The Bears were not necessarily planning to start rookie Jon Bostic from the get-go as Brian Urlacher’s replacement at middle linebacker. An injury to ex-Bronco D.J. Williams may have changed the plans.
Williams was carted off the field Wednesday and given a week-to-week prognosis on a calf injury. So, as Jay Taft of the Journal Standard reported, Bostic is getting his shot.
• There’s another middle linebacker spot open in New York, where the Giants have Mark Herzlich and Dan Connor duking it out for Chase Blackburn’s old spot.
Herzlich believes this is the chance he has been waiting for, too, according to Jon Lane of Big Blue View.
“It’s been 25 years in the making,” Herzlich told Lane. “It’s been my dream my whole life to be a starting linebacker in the NFL, and tasting it here and there my first season and second season, gets you really excited for this opportunity. When we come into the sport, all we really want is an opportunity and when we get that opportunity to make the most of it.”
Herzlich, who battled cancer while at Boston College, has found it tough to lock down playing time in his first two NFL seasons, either due to injuries or inconsistent play. With Blackburn out of the picture, however, Herzlich should be afforded plenty of opportunities to nail down a job in the coming weeks.