Randall Cobb hurt by extra defensive attention
On Wednesday, ESPN NFL Nation Green Bay Packers reporter Rob Demovsky stopped by the Pro Football Focus show hosted by Mike Clay on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio (10 a.m. ET weekdays – Sirius 210 & XM 87). Demovsky talked about the Packers’ backfield, why Randall Cobb has slowed down, and more. You can find Demovsky on Twitter @robdemovsky.
What’s Going On With Eddie Lacy?
“His run won’t come to an end, but it’s a great mystery what’s going on with Lacy,” Demovsky said. “Looking at the numbers from last season, the first half of the season he averaged 13 carries per game and in the second half he averaged 18 carries per game. Lacy had 711 of his 1,100 yards in the second half of the season.
“There is something to the theory that they’re trying to keep him fresh. But it’s a little different because Lacy has the ankle injury. My theory is that because the ankle has been bothersome, perhaps his weight has suffered a bit. In Week 6, Lacy only carried the ball four times, but Starks only carried it 10 times. Their snap counts were not all that different. Lacy only played eight fewer snaps than Starks.”
Based on the numbers, Week 6 does seem like a bit of an aberration. Starks won’t lead the backfield every week. Both Lacy and Starks are averaging 28 snaps per game and both are running 13 pass routes a game. Starks has totaled eight more pass routes, but Lacy missed all but eight snaps in Week 2. When Lacy gets healthier, he will play more, and it would not be wise to count him out as a lead back down the stretch run — dependent on game flow, of course.
Don’t Blame Cobb’s Production On Injury
Randall Cobb has been held to just 10 catches for 105 yards and no touchdowns over the last three games. His preseason shoulder injury has once again popped up on the mid-week injury report, but he hasn’t missed a game yet. Demovsky believes that Cobb’s lack of production can be attributed to another factor.
“I think it’s more coverage-related. As great as James Jones’ six touchdowns have been, he’s not a guy who can get open all the time. Without Davante Adams on the outside, you heard Aaron Rodgers say they’re having trouble getting open on the outside. I think it’s a product of their outside receivers struggling and teams committing more coverage to Cobb on the inside.”
Demovsky has a point — Cobb has seen just 18 targets over the last three games. Rodgers has spread the ball around to the outside, Richard Rodgers and his backs. If Adams can come back fully healthy and play up to the level the Packers expect from him, it will open things up for Cobb.
Will Adams and Ty Montgomery both return after the Packers’ Week 7 bye?
“I expect Adams to return after the bye, if the Chargers game wasn’t the game before the bye he would have played. Montgomery sprained his ankle. He thinks there’s a chance he could play against the Broncos, but I would definitely expect Adams to be back.”
Don’t Put Jeff Janis On Your Redraft Radar
Is there any chance they shuffle the receivers? It’s a three-wide heavy offense. Can Montgomery or Janis emerge into the big three?
“They’ve been so heavy with the same three. When Adams comes back, the three wides will be Jones and Adams outside with Cobb on the inside. Those guys will probably play 90 percent of the snaps. Part of it is a product of the no huddle. We have seen them start some series with Cobb or Montgomery in the backfield, and Janis got some of his work that way. But for the most part it’s going to be those three guys.”
Janis has been a hot Twitter topic for a while, and after a productive Week 6, the calls to get him more playing time only got louder. However, Demovsky dropped an important nugget about the team’s preference to keep the same personnel on the field. In an up-tempo offense like this one, it doesn’t leave much room for players like Montgomery and Janis to rotate in.
In Week 6, the Packers used Clay Matthews more as an outside linebacker, and Nate Palmer took his spot on the inside. Will Palmer play inside in nickel situations going forward or will they go back to Matthews?
“They wanted to get Matthews some outside linebacker snaps in nickel. Philip Rivers was moving the ball well and they wanted to get a spark from their pass rush. His snaps on the outside had all come in dime previously. It’s something that could happen going forward, but I still think that most of Matthews’ outside linebacker snaps will come in dime.”
I wouldn’t expect Matthews to play much outside linebacker in nickel going forward. The Packers have graded out as PFF’s seventh-best pass rushing unit overall. They will get there in most weeks, and when they do, Matthews has a home on the inside.