In the aftermath of wide receiver Davante Adams’ departure in favor of playing with his college quarterback Derek Carr and childhood team, the Las Vegas Raiders, the Green Bay Packers began the offseason staring at a wide receiver room with many questions and few answers. And that was before free-agent wideout Marquez Valdes-Scantling took his talents to Kansas City, intrigued by the opportunity to replace Tyreek Hill.
"I really don't care," Cobb told reporters during the club's organized team activities this week. "I've been doubted my whole life. You think I care? I wouldn't be here. People didn't want me here, I'm here. People didn't want me to leave, I'm here. People didn't want me on the Packers, I'm here. People didn't want me traded back here, I'm here. I don't care about what anybody got to say. I'm going to go out and do what I'm supposed to do and have fun doing it, put a smile on my face and try to win some games."
Last offseason, when even more precarious questions swirled around the front office and its ability to mend an icy relationship with Rodgers, it was Cobb who provided an answer then, as well. Green Bay's willingness to trade for Cobb and foster a Lambeau homecoming for the wideout after he spent one year apiece with the Cowboys and Texans essentially amounted to a thank you present to Rodgers for coming back into the fold.
It proved that management and Rodgers could forge a more collaborative future, and indeed, the NFL's back-to-back Most Valuable Player signed an extension to remain with the team earlier this offseason.
Although Cobb had a middling year in his return, posting his lowest number of receptions (28) and yards (375) since his 2011 rookie season, he did fine tune his nose for the end zone. Rodgers and Cobb connected for five scores -- Cobb's highest total since 2015.
Cobb will surely look to improve on those numbers during his second year under head coach Matt LaFleur, but his most vital role may involve setting an example for Green Bay's many pass-catching newcomers.
Rodgers is famously fickle when it comes to developing a rapport with incoming talent, and the sheer volume of fresh faces almost guarantees growing pains throughout the early days of the season.
Expect Cobb to help bridge that gap for those draftees, Christian Watson (No. 34 overall), Romeo Doubs (No. 132) and Samori Toure (No. 258), as well as second-year WR Amari Rodgers, who was drafted with expectations of becoming a Cobb-like weapon but disappointed with only four receptions in his rookie campaign.
"It's not about doing 100 things well. It's about doing five or 10 really good," Cobb said. "And I make sure that I come out and continue to push myself and to work hard and to make sure that I'm creating the standard. I think that's the most important thing for myself and why I'm here, is to create that standard for young guys that's coming in. So they know what's expected and how we do things."
For what it's worth, Cobb has already recognized Watson's ability to do -- if not five or 10 -- at least a few things very well.
"He has the total package," Cobb said. "Just being around him for the past week and seeing some of the things he can do, he has all the tools. He's very gifted. It's about applying it, taking the stuff he learns in the classroom, taking it to the field. He has the tools. It's about refining those tools. And it takes time."
Gelling does and will take time, and the clock is officially ticking on the Packers' experiment to rebuild their receiving corps from the ground up. Just don't expect Cobb to give any skeptics the time of day.