Randall Cobb sits down with Bruce Murray and James Lofton
Sure, it was tougher. No Jordy Nelson meant no magnet to pull away coverage from opponents to give Randall Cobb more room to operate.
But that, as Cobb explained to Bruce Murray and James Lofton at the Green Bay Packers’ training camp, is no excuse for what he considered a poor performance in 2015. With Nelson out for the entire season with a torn ACL, Cobb wound up leading the Packers with 79 receptions for 829 yards and six touchdowns.
‘Way too many drops’
However, he also felt he had far too many dropped passes and not enough big plays.
“We have to go out there and make plays at the end of the day,” Cobb said. “I don’t feel like I did enough. Yeah, the spacing was off (without Nelson), but that’s a whole total different story. When it comes down to me personally, I have to go out there and make the plays. I feel like I had way too many drops this past year. It was quite embarrassing, to be honest with you. I feel embarrassed every time I watch the tape and see some of the drops I had this past season.
‘Going to make a statement’
“I know where defenders are. I feel like I have a good intuition of feeling defenders and trying to catch and turn and get into my break or my cut a little too early. And that just goes back to fundamentals. Like I said, that’s all on me. I’m really embarrassed about the season I had this past year. I’m going to make a statement about it this season.
NFL Training Camp Tour: Sanders on practice tussle with Harris: ‘You’ve got to have heart’
Emanuel Sanders sits down with Pat Kirwan and Jim Miller
The seeds were planted on Saturday. The Denver Broncos’ offense had a bad practice. Several of the defensive players made sure to remind their offensive teammates of that while hanging out on their day off, which was Sunday. Thus, on Monday, the right environment existed for a practice fight, such as the one that broke out between wide receiver Emanuel Sanders and cornerback Chris Harris.
Not putting up with it
But as Sanders explained to Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan at Broncos training camp in Englewood, Co., it was typical of the spirited mentality throughout the team that went a long way toward last year’s Super Bowl-winning season.
“That’s a situation that just happened,” Sanders said. “Tempers flare. Competitive nature comes about, but we made up. That’s my brother. I love Chris to death, man, but you’ve got to go there sometimes. I think it helps with the team mentality of, ‘Look, we’re not going to put up with nothing, man.’
‘Team doesn’t give up’
“And that’s how we approach it even in games. That’s the reason why, down the stretch a couple of games last year, it was all about heart. We won so many games that were close games because a lot of teams gave up, so this team doesn’t give up.
“You’ve got to have heart out here.”
NFL Training Camp Tour: Rodgers says Cook is ‘different element’ to Packers’ offense
Aaron Rodgers sits down with Bruce Murray and James Lofton
Aaron Rodgers is excited about a new weapon he has at his disposal in the Green Bay Packers’ offense: Tight end Jared Cook, signed as a free agent from the Los Angeles Rams.
Cook, who recently was activated from PUP, provides the kind of play-making the Packers haven’t had from the tight end position in a long time.
“Jared is a different element to our offense,” Rodgers told Bruce Murray and James Lofton at the Packers’ training camp in Green Bay. “He has the ability to use his speed to get down the middle. We haven’t had that type of speed (at tight end) since Jermichael (Finley).
Wide target area
“And then he’s got a wide target area. He’s got long arms. He’s obviously 6-5 and he’s made some nice catches so far from us. We’ve been able to take some more reps together the last four or five days of practice, and that’s how you get that continuity together.”
For most of the Packers’ camp, though, Aaron Rodgers has seen little in the way of continuity on either side of the ball.
With players such as wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb on offense and linebackers Clay Matthews and Sam Barrington on defense dealing with new and old injuries, practices haven’t felt quite right.
‘Going to be a little disjointed’
“We’ve just this week kind of gotten back to doing some more stuff with the ones together and working towards trying to get that continuity,” Rodgers said. “But it’s going to be a little disjointed until the end of training camp when we can get everybody back, so we’ve got to figure out a way to start fast.”
NFL Training Camp Tour: Miller: With contract done, ‘all I got to do is play football’
Von Miller visits with Pat Kirwan and Jim Miller
Von Miller no longer carries the burden of an uncertain future.
The contentious contract negotiations are a distant memory. He’s signed, sealed, and, the Denver Broncos hope, ready to deliver another season like he did in 2015 in helping them win a Super Bowl.
‘Just worry about the task at hand’
“All I got to do is play football,” Miller told Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan at the Broncos’ training camp in Englewood, Co. “It sounds easy, but it’s tough in itself. But it’s a whole lot easier when you don’t have to worry about anything else.
“I come in every day, I just spend time with my teammates, worry about my teammates, worry about the task at hand, and it’s all football 24/7.”
Miller was held out of the Broncos’ preseason-opener against the Chicago Bears. He doesn’t voice any preference over how much, or how little, playing time he wants in the preseason.
‘Always like to be coachable’
“I always like to be coachable,” he said. “That’s one thing, when I’m done playing football, I want all the coaches that I played for to say that, ‘Von was coachable. He was one of the most coachable players that I’ve had.’
“And right now, I’m just taking the coaching. Whatever they want me to do in the preseason, they’ve handled this situation way more times than I have. Whatever they want me to do, I’m going to be there and I’m going to do it.”
NFL Training Camp Tour: Rivera: Newton ‘has earned the right’ not to take all the blame
Ron Rivera sits down with Alex Marvez and Gil Brandt
Ron Rivera appreciates that Cam Newton willingly shoulders the blame when things go wrong for him and the rest of the Carolina Panthers’ offense.
Win or lose, the Panthers’ coach can virtually always count on his quarterback to address the things he did wrong in a game. Rivera finds the trait commendable, but he also thinks it’s time for Newton to occasionally mention the mistakes of others.
Rarely points a finger
“You very rarely ever hear him point a finger at any of his teammates,” Rivera told Alex Marvez and Gil Brandt at the Panthers’ training camp in Spartanburg, S.C.” It’s always, ‘I could have done this better, I could have made a better read, I could have thrown a better pass.’
“But every now and then, I think it’s a bad thing because I think he puts a lot on himself, too much on himself, that I think every now and then it’d be OK (to say), ‘You know, we could have done some things better. We probably could have run better routes, we probably could have picked up that blitz a little bit better,’ as opposed to just saying, ‘It’s my fault, my fault.’
Let them know ‘he knows’
“Because every now and then I think he’s earned the right to say something specific to either a player or a group of players just so that they know he knows.”
NFL Training Camp Tour: Kuechly: Panthers have done a ‘good job of learning’ from Super Bowl loss
Luke Kuechly sits down with Alex Marvez and Gil Brandt
The disappointment lingered. So did the agony and the anger.
Linebacker Luke Kuechly and his Carolina Panthers teammates eventually hit a crossroads with their emotions over losing Super Bowl 50 against the Denver Broncos.
‘You can sulk or learn’
“You can sulk and try to make excuses or you can learn from what happened and what was going on,” he told Alex Marvez and Gil Brandt at the Panthers’ training camp in Spartanburg, S.C. “And I think guys did a good job of learning and moving on from it and realizing that, it’s a new season, it’s a new year.
“What happened in the past is over with and this year it’s time to concentrate on what we did to get to that point. So each day of training camp, each day of OTAs has been about, ‘Let’s put our foot in the right direction and build each day.'”
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