Aaron Rodgers is most likely getting back one of his favorite wide receivers just in time for the Green Bay Packers’ first playoff game.
According to Packers head coach Matt LaFleur, the expectation is that veteran slot receiver Randall Cobb will be activated from injured reserve before his 21-day activation window closes on Thursday, January 20. LaFleur also said he anticipates Cobb playing on Saturday in the Packers’ divisional-round playoff game against San Francisco.
“Cobby’s coming along great,” LaFleur said Wednesday. “He looks good at practice, so I would anticipate him playing in this game.”
Cobb has not played since catching four passes for 95 yards and a touchdown in the first half of November 28’s home game against the Los Angeles Rams, exiting the win early due to a core-muscle injury. He was placed on injured reserve in early December after undergoing surgery to repair the issue, but the recovery time — as long as three months in some cases — for such an injury made it unclear if he would return.
Against the odds, though, Cobb was designated for return on December 30 and began practicing again roughly a month after his procedure. Now, so long as there are no setbacks, the Packers should have back a valuable piece of their passing game as they begin their postseason run as the NFC’s top-seeded team.
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Status Unclear for Marquez Valdes-Scantling
The Packers were looking awfully healthy for the second practice of the week, but there was still one starter who did not participate: wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling.
Valdes-Scantling suffered a back injury during Week 18’s loss to the Detroit Lions and has essentially been considered a questionable piece ever since. While he did practice in a limited capacity on Tuesday, he was downgraded to out for Wednesday’s session and will have just one more day of practice to see if he can get right again.
Despite missing five games with an injury and one game on the reserve/COVID-19 list, Valdes-Scantling has continued to be a viable deep-threat option for Rodgers and the offense in 2021. He is averaging 17.5 yards on 23 receptions — which is a little behind his career-best mark of 20.9 yards set in 2020 — and has hauled in three catches of 40 yards or more, including a game-tying 75-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter of Week 11’s narrow loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
Thursday’s final practice will be important in determining Valdes-Scantling’s status for the weekend against the 49ers. The Packers will also shed more light on their expectations for him when they release their injury report on Thursday afternoon, where it is expected Valdes-Scantling will be given an injury designation for his back.
David Moore Likely to be Elevated
The Packers’ receiving room will be in excellent shape if both Cobb and Valdes-Scantling are cleared to return to the lineup for the divisional round, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be at least one more receiver joining the fray for game day.
The Packers placed one of their four weekly practice-squad protections on veteran wideout David Moore, indicating they are interested in promoting him again to their game-day roster against the 49ers. Moore was called up in Week 17’s win over Minnesota and returned three punts for 33 yards while Amari Rodgers was out of commission, but he landed on the COVID-19 reserve list the next week and was unavailable for the regular-season finale against Detroit. Now, the Packers could have a choice to make about who to put back on punts: Rodgers or Moore.
Moore is also a fifth-year receiver who caught 78 passes for 1,163 yards and 13 touchdowns over his four seasons with the Seattle Seahawks. While his utility on offense likely depends more on the statuses of Valdes-Scantling and Cobb, he is still a multi-purpose weapon who could offer them something new against San Francisco.