The Green Bay Packers will have Aaron Rodgers for Sunday’s NFC North championship game against Chicago, and there’s at least a glimmer of hope that they’ll have receiver Randall Cobb, too.
“I’m going out and preparing to play,” Cobb said, “(but) that’s not my call to make.”
Cobb sustained a broken tibia during the Oct. 13 game at Baltimore. He remains on injured reserve-designated for return but is in his second week of practice.
“I thought Randall had a very good day today,” coach Mike McCarthy said after Thursday’s practice. “He was very positive at the end of practice, his evaluation tomorrow and how we work him tomorrow (will be important). I feel a lot better now than probably I did this morning. He definitely took a step in that direction.”
When he returned to practice last week, Cobb said he was relearning how to run and run routes after such a lengthy layoff. He’s made big strides in that area, receivers coach Edgar Bennett said.
“Any time you miss a significant amount of time, you do have to go back to your fundamentals, and that’s something that he’s been doing the last few weeks as far as getting his timing down, his footwork down, in and out of his breaks,” Bennett said. “That takes a little time, but certainly -- not to be too vague about it -- but he has improved in that area. His tempo, his speed, all of that helps in practice. And also being competitive in practice situations, all of that helps. We try to simulate game speed as close as possible with our tempo, and it certainly helps him get back into a rhythm and a routine of playing on a high level.”
Cobb, who still ranks fifth on the team with 29 receptions and fourth with 378 receiving yards even while missing 10 games, has cleared one hurdle this week.
“I think Tuesday and today was the first day that I actually did some cutting and didn’t think about it,” he said. “That’s definitely progress and that’s definitely confidence to me, for me, in my knee. I think that’s very important for the next step.”
Packers injury report
Out: OLB Clay Matthews (thumb). Did not participate: ILB Brad Jones (ankle), RB Eddie Lacy (ankle), TE Ryan Taylor (illness). Limited: DE/OLB Mike Neal (abdomen), OLB Nick Perry (foot), DT Ryan Pickett (knee), TE Andrew Quarless (ankle). Full: QB Aaron Rodgers (collarbone).
“I feel Eddie is in a good place,” McCarthy said of Lacy, who couldn’t finish Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh after aggravating the injury. “We’re taking care of him throughout the work. Obviously, he’s carried the ball a bunch this year and the ankle is sore, but I expect him to play.”
McCarthy said he expects Lacy to take his “normal … reps” at Friday’s practice.
Bears injury report
Did not participate: WR Earl Bennett (not injury related). Full: LB Lance Briggs (shoulder).
-- McCarthy said he had a “private” conversation with the league regarding how the final 10 seconds of the Pittsburgh game were handled by the officials. He would not elaborate.
-- McCarthy, on the play of backup quarterback Matt Flynn, who went 2-2 in his four starts and earned a tie in relief: “Matt did a lot of good things. Matt just kept getting better. You talk about someone who wasn’t here in training camp, was in three different offenses this year before he got here. Things have changed since he left, but I was pleased with what Matt did for us. I mean, he’ll prepare for this game no different than he has the past month.”
-- Receiver James Jones, on the Bears allowing 54 points against the Eagles. “Everybody looks at them putting up all them points, but I mean like I said this is a rivalry game, a division game. They know us, we know them. Nothing tricky is going to happen, and we've got to go out there and do our stuff and run our plays and do it at a high level and put up some points as an offense.”
-- According to online bookmaker Bovada, the Packers are 28/1 to win the Super Bowl. That’s the 10th-best odds. Seattle is 13/5, followed by Denver at 3/1, San Francisco at 13/2, Carolina and New England at 10/1, Cincinnati at 16/1, Philadelphia at 18/1, New Orleans at 20/1 and Kansas City at 25/1. Chicago is 50/1.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.