Will Packers really use Cobb on returns?

September, 1, 2014
Sep 1
6:45
PM ET
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The word "unofficial" is right there at the top of the page that contains the depth chart in the Green Bay Packers' weekly press release.

Cobb
So why believe it when starting receiver Randall Cobb is listed as the No. 1 punt returner?

Because special teams coach Shawn Slocum says so.

"He's been there all along," Slocum said Monday.

And it sounds like he might be there when the Packers open the regular season on Thursday at the Seattle Seahawks.

Slocum said both Cobb and safety Micah Hyde, who finished last season as the primary return man, will handle punt returns to start this season. Running back DuJuan Harris is expected to return kickoffs with Hyde and rookie receiver Jeff Janis as possibilities.

There's little doubt Cobb is the Packers' most dangerous return man; his three career special teams touchdowns support that. But given how big of a role he will play on offense, there was reason to think the Packers might be unwilling to use him on special teams even after McCarthy said earlier last month that he needed to "get away from that thinking."

McCarthy has been willing to use star players as returners in the past. Charles Woodson handled punt return duties in 2006 and 2007, his first two seasons with the Packers. Jordy Nelson was the primary returner in 2009 and 2010 before Cobb took over both kickoffs and punts as a rookie in 2011.

The Packers pulled Cobb off returns full time last season even before he fractured his leg and missed 10 games. In the playoff game last January against the 49ers, Cobb resumed special teams duties by returning kickoffs, while Hyde remained the punt returner.

Rob Demovsky

ESPN Green Bay Packers reporter

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