Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) celebrates with
wide receiver Randall Cobb (18) after an NFL football game
against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013, in
Chicago. Cobb made the game-winning touchdown reception in
the Packers' 33-28 win to capture the NFC North title.
GREEN BAY — The
gang's back together, mostly, for the Packers in the playoffs.
Aaron Rodgers and
Randall Cobb pulled off a fourth-down stunner last week against
the Chicago Bears in each player's first game back from injury.
Now imagine what Green Bay can do with the franchise quarterback
and speedy receiver practicing without limitations for a full
week, joining Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Eddie Lacy on the list
Just in time for
Sunday's matchup against the San Francisco 49ers in an NFC
to be tough for defenses to play us, the way they're going to
approach the game as far as are they going to try to take the pass
away, or are they going to try to take the run away," Cobb
said Wednesday. "So, we (pose) a pretty obvious threat, I
No need to think
about it. After a roller-coaster season, the Packers (8-7-1) are
brimming with confidence. They took the NFC North title by winning
three of their last four games, and getting help from collapses by
the Lions and Bears. Rodgers and Cobb helped seal a third straight
division crown by connecting on an unlikely 48-yard touchdown pass
on fourth-and-8 with 38 seconds left.
back, anything is possible.
"He runs our
offense at a very, very high level," coach Mike McCarthy
said. "When he's on the field we're different."
collarbone injury that kept him out for seven games is fine, so
much so that McCarthy has no worries about him for practice this
week. McCarthy isn't worried about the leg injury that kept Cobb
In fact, Rodgers
was bothered more by cramping in his calves. He was facing his
first game action in nearly two months. But Rodgers said his legs
are fine, too.
myself and Randall are back, that helps. We had a couple good
connections on Sunday. It's doing the stuff we want to do,"
Rodgers said. "We want to be an up-tempo team, we want to get
a lot of plays run, we want to try to wear the defense down a
on the offense is a no-brainer. The 2011 NFL MVP excels as a
decision maker and can make pinpoint throws for big plays.
recovery from his October injury got lost in the soap opera
surrounding when Rodgers might come back. Cobb may not be at full
speed, but just his mere presence and versatility might cause
defenders to think twice about what might be coming. Against the
Bears, he maneuvered his way open for two touchdown catches.
When Cobb was
out, Jordy Nelson moved inside and Jarrett Boykin emerged as
another competent receiver.
does so much for our offense. We can give him the ball, we can get
it to him quickly out of the backfield. We can have him in the
slot," Rodgers said. "So, bringing Randall back with the
way those guys can be interchangeable at different positions
definitely has a lot to offer."
There's also the
matter of Cobb's quickness, and his ability to turn a screen pass
into a 20-yard gain. Toss in the emergence of rooking running back
Lacy and the hard running of backup James Starks, the Packers have
that offensive balance the team sought at the beginning of a
season that started with a 34-28 loss at San Francisco.
Note: As of
Tuesday afternoon, the Packers had roughly 7,500 tickets left for
Sunday's playoff game. About 40,000 available seats went on sale
Monday, about 12 hours after the team locked up a playoff berth,
with season-ticket holders getting first crack. A spokesman said
the team was optimistic the game would sell out. "These are
the games our fans live for, so I really have no concern about it
at all," McCarthy said. ... The National Weather Service in
Green Bay has said the high temperature Sunday could range from
zero to 10 degrees with an arctic front pushing through the