Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb Should Play Key Roles Against the 49ers

As the Green Bay Packers get set to open their 2021 playoff run against the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday night, much of the focus has been on the play of each team’s top receiver: Davante Adams of the Packers and Deebo Samuel of the 49ers.

Both defenses will do what they can to limit the damage done by the opposition’s star wideout. But it will also be important for the Packers to get contributions from their complimentary receivers on Saturday. That means that the play of Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb could be pivotal to the success of the Green Bay offense. That is especially true with Marquez Valdes-Scantling listed as doubtful for the game with a back injury.

Neither receiver is considered a star at this point in their careers but both are useful role players who add something to the offense and help the Packers keep the chains moving and put points on the board.

Lazard is a big target at 6’5” and 227 pounds. He is one of the league’s better blocking wide receivers because of his size and his willingness to block on running plays and on short passes.

Packers offensive coordinator, Nathaniel Hackett has said that Lazard’s ability to block has helped him as a receiver as well. “He’s been a premier blocker in this league now for a couple years, somebody that people are nervous about, and it’s starting to pay off,” Hackett explained. “Because people are nervous he’s going to block him, and now it’s going to open some things down the field. We always talk about using the run to step up the play pass, and you can incorporate him a little bit more. He’s done such a good job. He’s such a smart player.”

Lazard is also able to play multiple roles in the offense which helps keep him on the field. “I'm just so locked into the game, I don't really think about my role changing in that sense,” Lazard explained. “I prepare for any role to present itself at any given time in the game, whether you're playing Z, F, Y, X. Whatever it may be.”

Lazard got off to a slow start this season due to Covid and injuries but came on strong late in the season, catching 16 passes for 216 yards and three touchdowns in the final four games of the regular season. He had touchdown catches in each of the team’s final three contests.

For the year, Lazard made 40 catches for 513 yards and eight touchdowns. All those marks were career highs for the fourth-year man out of Iowa State.

Lazard has been able to win the trust of Aaron Rodgers since his breakout game in Week 6 in 2019.

“[Lazard] has been making those contested catches and the more you do that, the more opportunities you get,” Rodgers said. “It's a la James Jones back in the day. When James was a young player, you started seeing him making these contested catches to give you that confidence to go back to him over and over when you know it's one of those 50-50 balls and he's been coming down with a lot more of those than not.”

Rodgers often looks for Lazard on third downs and 28 of his 40 catches this season resulted in a Green Bay first down.

Cobb is an experienced slot receiver who is returning from injury in time for the playoffs. The Packers reacquired the former Kentucky star from the Houston Texans during the offseason at the request of Rodgers.

He finished this season with 39 catches for 375 yards and five touchdowns while playing in 12 of the team’s 17 games. At 5’10”, Cobb is shorter than most of the other receivers on the Packers roster, but his elusiveness and intelligence on the field make him an ideal slot receiver.

Cobb also has a history of coming through in the clutch. He made a big catch in the 2013 season finale that beat the Bears in the closing minute and clinched the NFC North title for the Packers.

There’s very little that Cobb hasn’t seen on the football field. He has played in 11 playoff games and has caught 47 passes for 596 yards and five touchdowns including a memorable Hail Mary against the New York Giants in the 2016 playoffs.

Cobb also has the trust of his quarterback. He has stepped up when other receivers were not available. He caught two touchdowns against the Cardinals when the Packers were without their top three receivers and had four catches for 95 yards and a score in the first half against the Rams before he had to leave the game due to injury.

Rodgers and Cobb have good chemistry after playing together for so many years. “It's kind of like riding a bike,” Cobb said earlier this season when asked about his connection with his quarterback. “You've been around each other for so long and you understand. He understands how I move, so whenever I'm getting ready to break on my route, he knows. It's muscle memory.”

Lazard and Cobb are players who don’t make headlines the way Rodgers and Adams do, but they make key contributions that help make the offense go. If the 49ers devote their defensive resources to stopping Adams, Cobb and Lazard could make some key catches in this game that could make the difference between victory and defeat.

You can follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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4 points

Comments (10)

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LambeauPlain's picture

January 22, 2022 at 11:24 am

Gook thoughts, Gil. Lazard's blocking is sublime. And when he blocks, it is not "just getting a hat on the opponent", he wallops his target.

Deguara can provide matchup problems too. It seems like he hitting his stride at the right time.

And AJ and AJD being good receivers are also matchup issues for SF...especially out of 12 or even 22 personnel groupings.

And play action....lots and lots of play action.

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PatrickGB's picture

January 22, 2022 at 12:15 pm

And they also have Aiyuk, Kittle and Juszczyk as pass catchers.

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Lphill's picture

January 22, 2022 at 01:28 pm

Yea but Jimmy G is throwing to them .

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Johnblood27's picture

January 22, 2022 at 01:53 pm

and jennings

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Turophile's picture

January 22, 2022 at 01:27 pm

I'd pick 230lb ILB Krys Barnes and 313lb Kenny Clark as two pieces on the Packers defense that will affect how well the 49ers play the run game.

Whoever is at OLB will also have to work to push the runs inside or out, depending on the coverage.
Amos, Savage and Campbell will also be important The more of the guys I've mentioned have a good game, the tougher it gets for SF.

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PatrickGB's picture

January 22, 2022 at 12:42 pm

And Barnes was out almost half the game the last time.

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cheesehead1's picture

January 22, 2022 at 02:05 pm

We need our D to step up now, right thru the SB. IMO, defense still wins. GPG!

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YouAskedForThis's picture

January 22, 2022 at 10:13 pm

“Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb Should Play Key Roles Against the 49ers”

One would have thought.

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Tundraboy's picture

January 22, 2022 at 10:15 pm

That sure didn't happen!!

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therealcause's picture

January 23, 2022 at 01:09 am

They did nothing, Gil. Give up your writing position.

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