“I felt like a little kid, lost,” he said.
For eight seasons, Cobb was a member of the Green Bay Packers. He had the same coach, the same quarterback, the same everything. Down to the minute, he knew where he had to be and for how long when it came to any offseason activities.
Cobb, 28, has been a member of the Cowboys for a little more than two months, and Tuesday was the team’s first organized team activity this offseason.
“I didn’t know where to go after each drill, each station,” Cobb said. “So I’m just looking around, seeing where the other receivers are and finding my way around.”
He is still finding his way around the Cowboys’ offense, too.
Cobb knew coach Mike McCarthy’s offense so well in Green Bay and understood what quarterback Aaron Rodgers wanted so much that very little threw him off. With the Cowboys, he is learning coordinator Kellen Moore’s offense and starting to understand what quarterback Dak Prescott wants.
“Since I’ve been here, we’re going through the installations, and I’m having a little bit of a mental challenge as far as so many of the same plays being different calls,” Cobb said. “Just trying to get more acclimated to the playcalling here, and making sure I’m using the right terminology so I’m on the same page with everybody.”
It’s not like the Cowboys did not know Cobb before signing him to a one-year deal. Jason Garrett coached him at the Pro Bowl. In five games against the Cowboys (three in the regular season and two in the playoffs), Cobb caught 34 passes for 341 yards and a touchdown. He had the game-clinching reception off a deflected pass in the 2014 divisional-round game.
“We’ve seen him do a lot of stuff, and that’s one of the things we liked about him was his versatility and how they used him a lot of different ways and a lot of spots, just doing different things,” Garrett said. “That’s one of the things that drew us to him, but there’s no question that being around a guy on a practice field and seeing him in real life up close gives you an added benefit. And a lot of those things, those perceptions that we [to] had get reaffirmed, ‘He actually can do that. This is the quickness that he has getting out of a break, or his ability to run certain routes.’ Those are all really positive things. You see them on tape, you get them reaffirmed when you see him in real life.”
After missing seven games last season because of a concussion and hamstring strain, Cobb knew his time with the Packers was coming to an end. He caught just 38 passes for 383 yards and two touchdowns, his lowest production since 2013, when he played in only six games.
Though before that happened, Cobb planted a seed in Prescott’s ear at the NFL Honors program the night before the Super Bowl, telling the quarterback to “come get me.”
“Now a couple of practices in with him, [Cobb is an] incredibly smart guy,” Prescott said. “I think that’s going to be the best thing that helps. Just picking everything up and get going to be a big-time player in this offense.”
If Cobb feels out of place at times learning the offense, Prescott has not seen it.
Their discussions are detailed. Cobb wants to know where he is in the quarterback’s progressions on certain plays so he can time up his footwork better. Prescott wants to know where Cobb likes the ball if a defender is on his inside or outside shoulder; whereas, with younger receivers, the conversations start with the depth of each route.
That type of chemistry took time with Rodgers, but Cobb has come away impressed with Prescott.
“He’s very passionate. He’s a hard worker. He definitely puts the time in,” Cobb said. “I mean he’s a physical specimen. You look at him, he’s strong. He’s big. He’s fast. He can make the throws. He can make the plays, provide a threat in the running game. He extends plays well. … I’m hoping to get on the same page with him and be able to make some plays for him.”
The Cowboys have six more OTAs, a three-day minicamp and a summerlong training camp and preseason to work out the final details.
During Wednesday’s OTA that was open to the media, Cobb certainly did not look like a receiver finding his way. He showed quickness in the slot, catching a quick slant from Prescott. He worked through traffic after a catch. He even went through special-teams drills as a gunner, which is somewhat surprising for a receiver entering his ninth season.
“Let him do everything,” Prescott said. “I mean, honestly, put him in the backfield, put him outside, put him inside, ask him to block, ask him to take a jet sweep. I mean, he’s got film doing all those things and doing all those things really well. I think if we’re not utilizing all of his athleticism and just his versatility, then we’re cheating him as a player and we’re not getting everything we want as an offense.”