GREEN BAY—Receiver Randall Cobb's role in the Packers offense has steadily grown since he arrived as a second-round draft pick in 2011.
With the departure of Greg Jennings and Donald Driver from the receiving corps, Cobb will only become more prominent in his third year, making this a big offseason for the explosive playmaker.
Packers.com recently followed Cobb through one of his daily offseason workouts and then asked him about the various exercises afterwards. Here is a diary-style description of that workout, with some of his comments sprinkled in.
7:29 a.m. – Cobb arrives at the Don Hutson Center, along with a few dozen of his teammates.
7:35 – Fifteen minutes of stretching begins by employing roller pads for a few minutes, followed by a series of coordinated stretching exercises for the hamstrings, hips, back, shoulders, groin, etc. Lunges, crawls, forward and backward movements are all incorporated.
As an aside, most of the players are wearing team-provided T-shirts for the workouts that feature the number 212 on the back with a degree symbol. The boiling point for water is 212 degrees Fahrenheit.
"Right now, we want to get to a boiling point," Cobb said. "We want to get it burning fast and keep that boiling point all the way through the season, so we're building that now."
7:50 – A rotation through three stations begins. Each station lasts five minutes. First for Cobb is a series of jumps and balanced landings – first with both feet, then one foot (without the other foot hitting the ground), then one foot going sideways, and finally one foot with 90-degree rotations.
"The jumping is mostly for stability," Cobb said. "We have to be able to control our bodies with different movements, so when we're jumping and landing in different ways, we're making sure we have the stability in our hips, knees and ankles."
7:55 – At the next station, large exercise balls are used for a series of core exercises.
8:00 – More core exercises, this time on the ground, featuring various leg raises and trunk rotations from different all-fours positions, plus some push-ups, with hips raised and re-lowered in between the push-ups without the knees touching the ground. The station ends by walking, forward and backward, with resistance bands strapped to the ankles.
"We hit a lot of different small muscles in that series," Cobb said.
8:05 – Drink break. Cobb takes a few swallows of orange Gatorade.
8:10 – The real work begins. A circuit of seven stations, as follows:
1. Hamstring holds – From an upright kneeling position on a bench, with ankles held in place, Cobb leans forward and holds his position for several counts, then repeats. From off the bench, he does a series of leg shuffles and lunges.
2. Turkish get-up – Holding a dumbbell above the head and keeping the arm and one leg straight, Cobb maneuvers his body to stand up, without losing balance.
3. Heavy tosses – Sandbags are hoisted and thrown over each shoulder three times. When the sandbags break and begin to leak, this station changes to raising and slamming a medicine ball five times.
4. Leg raises – Similar to some of the exercises done in the previous circuit, various leg raises and other balance exercises are performed.
5. Sledgehammer – With four reps to each side of the body, a sledgehammer is wielded and slammed into a tractor tire.
6. Weighted sled – Using different partners (on one rotation, Cobb's partner is QB Aaron Rodgers), a weighted sled is pushed roughly 30-35 yards across the Hutson Center turf.
7. Weighted rope – Working alone this time, Cobb plants his feet and pulls a tug-o-war type rope, with a weight attached to the end, roughly 20 yards until he reaches the end of the rope.
Any one station that is Cobb's least favorite?
"I think the Turkish get-up," Cobb said. "That's the one with the dumbbell where you have one arm straight, one leg straight, and standing up with the dumbbell and sitting back down. Once we get three or four weeks in, the weight will go up and it will get harder. I've never really liked those."
The work is fast-paced. The circuit takes 7-8 minutes to complete and is repeated two more times.
"We want to simulate a game," Cobb said. "The reps are a play, and when you move to the next station, you're jogging back to the line. Say I run a deep route and have to jog back to the line and have to get ready to line up for the next play. We're just trying to build that shape in a football-type atmosphere."
After the third round through the circuit, it's obvious the players have pushed themselves. No one has a lot of energy left.
"It wasn't too bad today," Cobb said. "It can get extensive at times. Earlier this week, we had some harder workouts. Today, it was still tough, but we're trying to taper off for the week and get ready for next week."
8:32 – Post-workout stretching, including leg and shoulder exercises with resistance bands, plus more orange Gatorade.
8:40 – A contest in which players throw a medicine ball backwards over their head, trying to throw it as far as they can, roll included.
Cobb's effort goes roughly 30 yards, and he appears headed for victory amongst the skill-position players, but safety Sean Richardson beats Cobb by about 5 yards. Cobb gives it another try and gets beyond Richardson's mark, but it doesn't count because each player is only allowed one attempt.
The longest toss of this entire workout groups belongs to new tight end Matthew Mulligan.
More is added to the daily schedule for the offseason program as the weeks progress, but for now, Cobb feels he's off to a solid start.
"I just want to continue to improve, to get stronger, to get more powerful, to get more explosive and build myself up as a player, and build into a leadership role on this team," he said. "I want to do everything I can to put us in the best position for next season."