Packers’ receivers hope to pave the way to faster starts

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GREEN BAY – Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison see exactly what Aaron Rodgers sees when they step back and assess the Packers’ offense five weeks into the 2018 NFL season – a deep and potent unit capable of great things.

Now, it’s just about finding a way to take that talent and translate it into consistent points and production.

The Packers feel they’re close to hitting on all cylinders entering Monday night’s meeting with San Francisco. Thus far, the offense has had stretches where it’s moved the ball and stretches where it’s scored, but a full four-quarter performance remains the target.

Green Bay’s offense could get a shot in the arm against the 49ers if Cobb (hamstring) and Allison (hamstring/concussion) get the green light to return after missing last Sunday’s game against Detroit.

Cobb, who has sat out the past two games, got off to a fast start with a career-high 142 receiving yards in the Packers’ 24-23 win over Chicago in the opener, while Allison has had at least 60 receiving yards in all four games he’s played in this season.

“Just hoping to continue to make progress,” said Cobb, who has been limited in practice this week. “We’ll see on (Monday) what that means when we get there. It’s a daily process for me right now.”

Rookie draft picks Marquez Valdes-Scantling (nine catches for 109 yards and a touchdown) and Equanimeous St. Brown (three catches for 89 yards) filled in admirably for Cobb and Allison after getting thrown into the fire with the No. 1 offense last week.

However, one area the Packers are looking for more consistency is starting fast out of the gate. Green Bay was shut out in the first half against the Lions before uncorking 23 points and 321 total yards in the second half alone.

The emergence of Valdes-Scantling and St. Brown only deepens a receiving corps the Packers feel is one of the best in the league. As they look to move the ball early, that unit hopes to be a driving force for the offense moving forward.

“I think we’re very close,” said Allison, who cleared the concussion protocol this week. “I think we still have a few kinks to work out, but once we figure it all out and put it together, we’ll come out humming.”

Cobb, now an eighth-year veteran, has played on some of the highest-scoring offenses in franchise history, with Green Bay finishing in the top three in total yards in two of his first three NFL seasons.

In his mind, the pieces are in place for the Packers to again rank among the league’s elite. Green Bay currently sits in 10th in both total yards and passing offense, but is looking to improve upon the 23.0 points per game it’s averaging.

The Packers have the tools to do it. Davante Adams is off to one of the best starts by a receiver in team history (37 catches for 425 yards and four TDs), while the return of Aaron Jones has sparked Green Bay’s ground game.

“When you watch film, you see some really good things on film,” Cobb said. “We’re a tick off. It comes down to timing and hitting on all cylinders at the right time. That’s kind of where we’re headed. That’s the trajectory we’re on right now, but it’s about getting to that point and we haven’t gotten to that point yet.”

Rhythm and tempo are critical for any offense, but even more so with the no-huddle scheme the Packers run. While the Packers sit at 2-2-1 after an eight-point loss in Detroit, they’re eying a complete performance before next week’s bye.

A strong showing against San Francisco would be a good place to start, with the 49ers being outscored 86-49 in the first half so far this season.

While the availability of Cobb and Allison remains uncertain, there’s no doubt in their minds how the team will respond to last week’s loss to the Lions.

“I think we've been through things in our life that's bigger than football,” Cobb said. “I think we've all faced adversity in different ways. Nothing was given to most of us in this room. We've had to fight for it so it just goes to shows the resilience that a lot of the men in this room have.”

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