The Green Bay Packers will officially be without veteran wide receiver Randall Cobb for at least their next three games.
After ESPN’s Rob Demovsky reported earlier in the week that Cobb would miss “several weeks” after recently undergoing core muscle surgery, Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst placed the 31-year-old wideout on injured reserve on Saturday, December 11. Cobb will not be eligible for activation until New Year’s Day — one day before the Packers host the Minnesota Vikings for a rematch at Lambeau Field in Week 17.
The Packers also activated inside linebacker De’Vondre Campbell from the reserve/COVID-19 list after he tested positive during the bye week. The move was expected given he returned for Friday’s final practice, but he is still listed as questionable to play for Sunday Night Football against the Chicago Bears.
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Can Packers Replace Cobb’s Value?
Cobb has been more valuable than perhaps some expected when the Packers traded away a 2022 sixth-round pick to re-acquire him back on July 28. He has the third-most receptions (28) and second-most receiving yards (375) through their first 12 games and has come in clutch twice with two-touchdown performances, including one in the win over Arizona when Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard were all out.
Cobb was also having debatably his best performance of the 2021 season before getting injured in the Packers’ final game before the bye week. He caught four passes for 94 yards and a touchdown in the first half against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 12, but he sustained an injury along the way and did not return for the second half.
Now, the Packers will have to look for other wideouts to step up in Cobb’s absence as they attempt to lock down the No. 1 playoff seed in the NFC over the final five games of the regular season. Nobody is going to foster an overnight connection with Aaron Rodgers that can match what he and Cobb have, but guys like Equanimeous St. Brown and Amari Rodgers could both have opportunities to become more consistent parts of the receiving rotation while he is gone.
No Activation for Jaire Alexander
The Packers got a step closer to getting back All-Pro cornerback Jaire Alexander in Week 14 when Jaire Alexander returned to practice for the first time in months, but they will not be hurrying him back into the lineup against the Bears on Sunday.
The Packers did not activate Alexander from injured reserve on Saturday despite him practicing in a limited capacity for all of Week 14. The Packers’ 21-day activation window for Alexander will remain open until December 29, and it is possible they will use the majority of that time making sure he is 100% and rested for a playoff run.
Alexander has also not played since Week 4’s win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on October 3 and might need some time getting back up to speed. While he is no doubt the Packers’ best cornerback, they currently have Eric Stokes, Rasul Douglas and Kevin King all healthy and available to hold down the fort at the outside corner spots. The Packers have also earned a reputation for slowly easing back their injured stars, as they have done with All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari over the past several months.