Cobb says of­fense needs work on Wild­cat

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - - SPORTS - Ryan Wood

GREEN BAY - Ran­dall Cobb felt like he was back in col­lege dur­ing the Green Bay Pack­ers’ win Sun­day at the Chicago Bears.

On three snaps, Cobb lined up at quar­ter­back in the Wild­cat for­ma­tion and ran with the foot­ball. It’s some­thing the Pack­ers rarely have shown dur­ing Cobb’s seven sea­sons.

Cobb said the Pack­ers have been work­ing on the Wild­cat “a cou­ple weeks now” in prac­tice.

“I’ve been wait­ing on it for seven years,” Cobb said. “It was fun to be back there a lit­tle bit.”

There was one sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence from his col­lege days. Un­like at Ken­tucky, where Cobb said the of­fense got roughly 40% of its pro­duc­tion from the Wild­cat, the Pack­ers looked like a team that wasn’t used to run­ning the for­ma­tion.

In order, Cobb’s three runs gen­er­ated gains of mi­nus-1, 6 and 3 yards, an av­er­age of 2.6 yards per carry.

“We’ve got some work to do with that,” Cobb said. “We didn’t line up cor­rectly a cou­ple times. We didn’t ex­e­cute the play like we wanted to a cou­ple times.”

The Pack­ers might not have much choice but to con­tinue mix­ing in the Wild­cat. With rookie run­ning back Aaron Jones and top backup Ty Mont­gomery deal­ing with in­juries, the Pack­ers are thin in the back­field. Quar­ter­back Brett Hund­ley also is nurs­ing a ham­string in­jury, which could per­suade the Pack­ers to limit his ex­po­sure to con­tact.

With rookie Ja­maal Wil­liams’ emer­gence Sun­day, the Pack­ers ap­pear equipped to have a run­ning back ready to han­dle the bulk of car­ries. But they might con­tinue ask­ing Cobb to give them a hand­ful of snaps in the back­field. Even if the Wild­cat is rel­a­tively new, the Pack­ers have used Cobb as an emer­gency run­ning back in the past.

Rain check: The ex­cuse Pack­ers special teams co­or­di­na­tor Ron Zook heard from his punt re­turner, he said, was the rain got in his eyes.

Hard as it was to be­lieve, Zook watched sec­ond-year re­ceiver Trevor Davis re­treat from the 12-yard line all the way into the end zone Sun­day. He then watched Davis, head still high look­ing for the ball, field the punt one yard be­hind the goal line.

It’s some­thing a punt re­turner al­most never does. Zook said the Pack­ers in­struct their punt re­turn­ers to re­treat four yards from the 12. If the punt is still over their head, a re­turner is told to let it drop.

Davis did not let it drop. “Ob­vi­ously, No. 1, he can­not catch the ball in that sit­u­a­tion,” Zook said. “His com­ment to me was, ‘Well, coach, the rain was in my eyes.’ And I said, ‘Well, that can’t hap­pen.’ Oc­ca­sion­ally, you see it. You don’t see it real of­ten. But that can’t hap­pen.”

As bad as the play was, Zook said it al­most worked. The Pack­ers were one block by cor­ner­back Kevin King from bust­ing a long re­turn, Zook said. In­stead, Davis re­turned it nine yards, ad­vanc­ing only to the 8-yard line — 12 yards back from where the Pack­ers would get pos­ses­sion with a touch­back.

Even if the re­turn was just one block away from bust­ing loose, Zook said it’s not worth at­tempt­ing.

“You don’t do that,” Zook said. “You don’t even mess with the ball back there. You don’t want to be in that sit­u­a­tion.”

Ben­nett wants ‘vengeance’: Martel­lus Ben­nett said Sun­day he thought be­ing waived by the Pack­ers last week marked the end of his sea­son, and he was pre­par­ing him­self for shoul­der surgery and a “desk job” to oc­cupy his time as an un­em­ployed foot­ball player.

He even told his agent to ad­vise teams that he was planning on surgery, so it would be un­wise to place a waiver claim on him. That changed when Bill Belichick was in­ter­ested.

With the chance to re­turn to New Eng­land, where Ben­nett was a part of the Pa­tri­ots’ Su­per Bowl cham­pion team last year, the tight end said he’d es­chew surgery on his shoul­der and play.

He passed his phys­i­cal and caught three passes in Sun­day’s 41-16 win over the Den­ver Bron­cos.

“You get that vengeance in your heart and you say, ‘(ex­ple­tive) it,’ and go ball,” Ben­nett said.

Ben­nett on Fri­day posted a lengthy tirade about his shoul­der and the med­i­cal treat­ment he said he re­ceived in Green Bay. Sev­eral Pack­ers play­ers, in­clud­ing quar­ter­back Aaron Rodgers, is­sued their own state­ments in sup­port of team doc­tor Patrick McKen­zie, whom Ben­nett crit­i­cized.

Ben­nett said that re­sponse from for­mer team­mates didn’t bother him.

“It’s like, ‘I’m rub­ber, you’re glue, what­ever you says bounces off me and sticks it back to you,’ ” Ben­nett said. “At this point, it’s noth­ing else any­one can say to me in my ca­reer that could make me feel any way to­ward my­self.’’

Back again: Line­backer Der­rick Mathews’ time off the Pack­ers’ ros­ter didn’t last long.

The third-year line­backer was signed to the prac­tice squad Mon­day af­ter be­ing re­leased Satur­day. He’d been on the Pack­ers’ prac­tice squad all of this sea­son, as well as late last sea­son.

Lind­say H. Jones of USA Today Sports con­trib­uted to this re­port.

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