FRISCO, Texas – Randall Cobb didn’t hesitate to answer the question.
Of course the receiver who signed with the Cowboys in free agency still talks to Aaron Rodgers, his quarterback of eight seasons in Green Bay.
“I mean, that’s one of my good friends,” Cobb said Tuesday from his locker after the Cowboys’ first minicamp practice. “Football aside, that’s always going to be a good friend.”
But as Cobb adapts to a new team for the first time since 2011, his rookie year in the NFL, the versatile receiver brought in to replace Cole Beasley knows he must put forth concerted effort to improve his communication with quarterback Dak Prescott.
“The biggest thing for me is just continuing to build chemistry with him,” Cobb said. “We’re both very open about talking through things.
“The more communication we have, the more we’ll be on the same page.”
During team drills Tuesday, Cobb showed what that process looks like. Prescott followed up two completions to tight end Jason Witten by connecting with Cobb on an underneath pass. Cobb bobbled the ball but ultimately snagged it with one hand. Later in practice, Prescott spun out of pressure to find Cobb down the left sideline for a touchdown that resembled a shorter-distance version of his Week 17 game-winner to Beasley.
Dak Prescott to Cole Beasley. 4th and 15. Cowboys at Giants Week 17
Though expected to operate primarily inside as Beasley did, Cobb might not be limited to the role in first-year coordinator Kellen Moore's scheme.
“He’s smart enough to play every position,” Cowboys wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal said. “We can put him anywhere because he’s that guy.”
Prescott, too, hopes Cobb becomes the offense’s shape-shifter. In 105 regular-season games with the Packers, the receiver posted 470 catches for 5,524 yards and 41 touchdowns. Nineteen of those catches, 163 yards and a touchdown came against Dallas. Now the Cowboys, who will host Green Bay in October, have big ideas for Cobb. Put him outside or inside, Prescott said; in the backfield or taking a jet sweep.
“Let him do everything,” Prescott said. “He’s got film of doing all those things and doing all those things really well. If we’re not utilizing all his athleticism and all his versatility, we’re cheating him as a player and not getting everything we want as an offense.”
Cobb, too, seeks opportunity. But after playing in just nine games in 2018 and posting his lowest season receiving total (383 yards) since his rookie year, the veteran is taking in his new team gradually. Head coach Jason Garrett said Cobb has told him after some practices that he didn’t play well.
“And he lists off his five mistakes that he made that, for a guy who’s just getting started in an offense, you wouldn’t think are that big,” Garrett said. “But to him, they’re like, ‘God, that was a terrible day of practice.’
“He’s got a great spirit about him.”
Cobb left organized team activities feeling better about his handle on a new playbook, offense and terminology. In minicamp, he says, he can return his focus to honing technique and route-running. Prescott lauded Cobb’s ability to remember signals the first time he’s taught. Cobb plays close attention when Prescott explains how he prefers the receiver to plan a route.
“Letting him know what I’m feeling on certain routes, how I’m thinking about defeating a defender,” Cobb said. “It’s a mutual thing where we’re trying to build this thing together.
“Things are starting to slow down for me.”
Follow Jori Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein.
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