GREEN BAY—It’s not going to change him or how he goes about his job, but Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb isn’t taking his election as a playoff captain lightly.
“That’s one of the highest honors you can get in all of football, in any sport,” Cobb said on Thursday. “When your teammates recognize you as a captain and to lead them, I think that speaks highly as far as the camaraderie in the locker room.”
Cobb is the only one of the six Packers captains chosen earlier this week who’s new to the duty. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers and special-teams standout Jarrett Bush have been playoff captains numerous times. Fellow receiver Jordy Nelson and safety Morgan Burnett were last year, while linebacker Clay Matthews was chosen in 2012. Veteran Julius Peppers was a season-long captain multiple times with the Bears.
Having the best season of his four-year career, Cobb surpassed 1,000 yards receiving for the first time last week, and his 10 touchdown catches are also a personal best. With 76 receptions, he’s four shy of his career-high 80 from 2012, and his average of 14.2 yards per catch tops his career mark of 13.0 coming into this year.
One of the team’s two punt returners, Cobb was chosen as a special-teams captain. Does that mean more work is coming his way on special teams down the stretch, such as kickoff return?
“I’ve done it before,” he said with a smile, declining to elaborate.
Cobb also did his best to deflect questions about his contract status, which has become an issue of angst for some fans, but apparently not with him.
Entering the final year of his rookie deal in the summer, and coming off a leg injury that cost him 10 games in 2013, Cobb stated he “hadn’t done enough” to earn a new contract.
Even in the midst of his best year, he’s not changing that stance, perhaps because it’s an approach that’s working for him.
“I never reach my expectations,” he said, also reiterating that he loves being in Green Bay.
“I am my biggest critic, I’ve always been my biggest critic, I’ll always be my biggest critic. I still don’t think I’ve earned what I’m trying to be. I’ve still got a lot of work to do.”
The Packers are giving Cobb plenty of work. He has lined up wide, in the slot and in the backfield. He still takes the occasional handoff, which has been more frequently of late, with six carries in the last three games.
Cobb has always said he loves football and will do whatever’s asked of him. He doesn’t feel any undue burden by having such a multi-faceted role, so adding a captain’s “C” to his jersey won’t feel that way either.
“I don’t think it puts any added pressure,” he said. “You continue to do what got you to this point. I’m guessing there’s a reason I was voted, so I’ll continue to be the same Randall I’ve been and to continue to try to do my best.”
That includes helping get the team back on track after its five-game winning streak was derailed in Buffalo, a game the players are no longer discussing in the locker room.
Cobb doesn’t believe the team lost its focus necessarily, but there’s certainly a mentality to not allow that type of performance to occur again, from the captains on down.
“For us to have a game like that, I think it maybe woke a lot of guys up,” he said.
“You’re re-ignited with that passion, understanding what’s before you and the opportunity you have. We know we’re a good team, but for us to be a great team, we have to handle our business.”
Click here for all Packers-Buccaneers preview coverage