With Randall Cobb Out, More Opportunities for St. Brown Could be Coming

The Green Bay Packers are going to be without Randall Cobb for some time, which could create more opportunities for Equanimeous St. Brown.

After putting together what was his best performance of the season against Los Angeles, Randall Cobb left that game early with what was called a groin injury. Upon the team's return to the practice field on Wednesday, Cobb was a non-participant with what was now listed as a core injury--either way, it wasn't a good sign.
 
We have now since learned from coach Matt LaFleur that Cobb suffered a "significant" injury and was going to miss some time. ESPN's Rob Demovsky would later report that Cobb underwent surgery last week, and the hope is that he will be back for the playoffs. 
 
Cobb was not featured heavily in this Green Bay Packers offense with only 38 targets through 12 games, but he was a reliable and trusted target on third downs and in the red zone, where much of his production has come from. In terms of the trust and rapport that Cobb has with Rodgers, no one -- excluding Davante Adams, of course -- is going to be able to replace the connection that those two have.
 
“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,” Cobb said following the Pittsburgh game via SI. “It’s been a couple of years, but it’s kind of like when you get back around your friends, and you remember things that you hadn’t even thought about in so long. It’s kind of that connection that we have. When you see it so many times, it doesn’t matter how long of a gap it is between.”
 
But with that said, someone is going to have to replace his snaps from the slot. Although Amari Rodgers may seem like the logical choice given his very similar skill-set to that of Cobb's, I don't see him being the answer. Sure, he will likely see some more snaps, but I don't envision the rookie with only 62 total offensive snaps this season, all of a sudden being thrust into Cobb's role.
 
Rather, in typical Packers' fashion under Brian Gutekunst and LaFleur, I expect them to rely on the more experienced players that they have--and there won't be just one player to fill Cobb's role; it's going to be a group effort. 
 
“It’s truly everybody, and that can change on a weekly basis,” LaFleur said via SI. “We’ll use Allen in there a little bit. EQ (Equanimeous St. Brown has) been playing really well as of late, not only on offense but on special teams, as well, and we’ll continue to move Davante around and put him in there a little bit. But as far as Amari’s concerned, he’s a younger player, and he’s still growing, and he’s going to get better. We’ve got a lot of high expectations for him to continue to grow and develop, and I do think he’ll get more opportunity.”
 
While having a true slot receiver and motion man certainly helps, as we've seen over LaFleur's first two seasons, it's not at all a requirement--he will happily put whichever player gives the offense the best matchup in that role. And because of this flexibility, one player in particular that I expect to see have more opportunities come his way is Equanimeous St. Brown. 
 
Despite initially being cut prior to the season and then placed on the practice squad, St. Brown has carved out a role on special teams with some opportunities here and there on offense. And there have been more of those opportunities as of late.
 
On the season, St. Brown has only nine total targets and six receptions for 62 yards. But six of those targets, five of the receptions, and all 62 of those yards have come over the past three games. Although St. Brown doesn't have the same experience as Allen Lazard, he is much more dynamic with the ball in his hands--not to mention that Lazard has battled the drops recently. 
 
St. Brown has also taken 42 percent of his snaps over these last two seasons from the slot, according to PFF, and we've seen him utilized on jet sweeps a number of times during his career as well as the motion man--which helps LaFleur achieve that "illusion of complexity" that he often discusses. 
 
It's also worth pointing out that Rodgers is a fan of St. Brown's, which we all know does matter, and although he doesn't have many opportunities over his career, there does appear to be some level of trust between the two.
 
“I’m really proud of EQ,” Rodgers said after St. Brown’s performance against the Vikings via the Wisconsin State Journal. “I got ahold of him and had a nice conversation with him at the end of training camp when he was released. I just felt like there was going to be an opportunity for him at some point during the season."
 
Then following the Rams game, when asked again about St. Brown, Rodgers added, “he’s a guy I trust and a guy who’s made some timely plays for us."
 
Ultimately, this offense will still predominantly go through Davante Adams, Aaron Jones, and the run game, so it's not as if I'm sitting here saying that St. Brown is going to light the world on fire. But the opportunity for him to make a larger impact appears to be there, and perhaps unlike previous years, he seems ready to take advantage of what comes his way.
 
“He’s kind of been back and forth a little bit this whole year, and I think it’s a credit to him mentally just to be able to keep grinding and keep earning trust and keep working,” offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett said vai the Wisconsin State Journal. “In his opportunities, he’s made the best of them. He’s been right where Aaron expects him to be. I think that is so important in this game. When you run a route, if we say 6 yards, it’s got to be 6 yards. It’s not at 8 or 5. … He’s earned (Rodgers’) trust.”

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Born and raised in Green Bay, WI and I still call it home. After my family, watching the Packers, sharing my opinions on the team through my writing and interacting with other fans is my greatest passion. You can find me on Twitter at @Paul_Bretl. 
 

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4 points

Comments (47)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Brockrice99's picture

December 10, 2021 at 11:18 am

EQ has worked his tail off. He was cut and put on the Practice Squad and made is way back to the active roster. From there he has been fantastic on Special Teams and when he has gotten his chance on Offense it has worked quite well. EQ deserves all of the success in the world and all of the opportunities in the world, because like I said he has worked his tail off. Hope to see him get a Touchdown this Sunday after the BS OPI TD was taken away from him last time in Chicago.

9 points
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Leatherhead's picture

December 10, 2021 at 11:48 am

How many teams have a 6’5”, 230lb WR with 4 years experience on their practice squad?

We have a group of WRs that is talented, deep, and veteran. We’ve still got Taylor available. We have one of the league’s best WRs, one of the best deep threats, and one of the best blockers.

11 points
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LambeauPlain's picture

December 10, 2021 at 01:10 pm

"How many teams have a 6’5”, 230lb WR with 4 years experience on their practice squad?"

Who also run a 4.4 and is a solid blocker.

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Leatherhead's picture

December 10, 2021 at 01:17 pm

Yeah, I forgot about that.

I think we should resign/extend MVS, EQ, Lazard, Amari R. That’s 4 of the 5 we’ll need on the roster. Draft a WR on Day 2.

2 points
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LambeauPlain's picture

December 10, 2021 at 01:37 pm

I would love to see Adams back too...but I fear his asking price and cap issues would cripple the team long term.

Who knows, maybe Adams and Rodgers get together and agree offer the Packers a dual player home discount deal, but I doubt it.

Adams is one of the best WRs in NFL history. One of TTs best selections. His quickness and footwork is amazing to watch.

5 points
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Guam's picture

December 10, 2021 at 04:01 pm

I wish I was as optimistic as you about the Packer receiving corps. EQ has always had all of the measurables in the world and done little with them. He is now in his fourth year and spent much of it on the practice squad. Maybe the light goes on, but I am not holding my breath.

I think Adams and Cobb will not be with the Packers next year (cap issues) and that the Packers will have a rather thin WR corps in 2022.

5 points
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Leatherhead's picture

December 10, 2021 at 08:56 pm

It’ll be tall, but I’m not sure about thin.

We’re running an offense that doesn’t feature a QB throwing it 40 times a game to a bevy of wideouts. Maybe we throw to TE and RB more.

Our TE situation could be dramatically improved by next season…..Tonyan was our only real pass catcher at TE and we miss him. The other guys can block, but they’re not primary targets in the passing game. We throw to our RBs real well and we might see more of that.

2 points
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porupack's picture

December 11, 2021 at 07:44 am

>>>> but I’m not sure about thin. <<<<

Ha!, well crafted!

0 points
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Guam's picture

December 11, 2021 at 08:19 am

Particularly if we are breaking in a new QB, I would rather see the Packers run more and throw less, but a WR group that would be MVS, Lazard and question marks might be less than desirable. Maybe Amari Rodgers and EQ come around, but I would like to see at least one more quality WR in that mix.

And yes, I like the diversity that throwing to our TE's and RBs adds to the offense, particularly with the RB's the Packers have. I wonder if Lewis will be back next year? At some point his body is going to tire of the pounding and the Packers will have to invest in another TE.

0 points
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Leatherhead's picture

December 11, 2021 at 08:39 am

We’ll add a weapon, I’m just not sure it’ll be a WR. Given Lewis age and Tonyans injury, we might add a TE. I’m in favor of trying to steal Hockenson from Detroit. The draft has some possibilities, but I’d rather have a guy who has proven he can play already.

2 points
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Guam's picture

December 11, 2021 at 10:03 am

The price for Hockenson might be pretty steep unless Detroit gets a terminal case of the stupids. Oh wait, it's the Lions............

1 points
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dobber's picture

December 11, 2021 at 10:32 am

This Lions GM isn't a Matt Millen. He's not a Ron Wolf, but the Lions will be getting better.

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Coldworld's picture

December 11, 2021 at 11:03 am

We should be careful not to prejudge what the lions are doing. They have bitten the bullet and cleared out contracts. This team is in a cleanse year. That’s the first step to digging themselves out of the pit they have been dwelling in. Had to be done. It remains to be seen if they can rebuild wisely, but they had to do what they have done and judging this year on any other basis is self deception.

1 points
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Guam's picture

December 11, 2021 at 06:12 pm

Sadly I think you are right Dobber. I like what Detroit has done over the last year. Long road ahead of them, but the right start.

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dobber's picture

December 11, 2021 at 10:40 am

St. Brown only goes about 215.

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Coldworld's picture

December 11, 2021 at 01:54 pm

He’s 5lbs lighter than Taylor is at 6’1, one pound lighter than Adams, who is also 6’1 and only listed as 2 pounds heavier than Rodgers at 5’9. For that matter the 6’1 Winfree is only 4lbs lighter as listed. Lazard has 13 LBs on him per listed weight. EQ is not willowy but he is tall not big bodied.

1 points
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jyros's picture

December 10, 2021 at 12:21 pm

It would be great to see EQ represent in place of Cobb and have a + career game vs. the Bears.
He would have a big pair of shoes to fill in trying to provide the clutch plays that Cobb has
come up with throughout his career.
Stature wise, Malik Taylor or Amari Rodgers look more the part of
slot receivers but Malik doesn’t really have the quick step and Amari hasn’t locked in as NFL player yet
in that his confidence isn’t there.
But then again with LaFleur, we could see any of the above and/or/even Aaron Jones there so…. YeeHawww!

4 points
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Swisch's picture

December 10, 2021 at 06:33 pm

Especially if ESB steps up his game, but in any case, it's good to remind ourselves to be patient with Amari Rodgers.
If MLF is seeing anything in Rodgers getting to the point of being ready to contribute this season, I'd like to see him out there on at least a limited basis as a wide receiver.
I'm not so sure about punt returns. I wonder if Taylor or Winfree may be up for that role.
With five regular season games to get the team in prime working order for the playoffs, it'll be fun to see how MLF mixes and matches at the skill positions.

0 points
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LambeauPlain's picture

December 10, 2021 at 01:16 pm

Yes, ESB has upped his game the last few weeks. So has Deguara. It would be so very helpful for the O if the production continues for both players.

I have been a fan of ESB that has waned due to his constant injuries. He has the tools but has not been dependable. I hope he stays healthy.

Deguara, coming off the badly torn ACL, seemed very tentative until the last few games. My doctor told me that is usual following ACL tears...physically and psychologically you have to have trust in the repaired knee.

7 points
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Roadrunner23's picture

December 10, 2021 at 01:47 pm

It’s your time EQ

Go get it!!

8 points
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Roadrunner23's picture

December 10, 2021 at 01:48 pm

Would like to see Rodgers and Winfrey in that mix also, keep teams guessing.

5 points
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Rebecca's picture

December 10, 2021 at 08:24 pm

Yes, these guys need reps and targets. The confidence will grow.

1 points
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MarkinMadison's picture

December 10, 2021 at 02:23 pm

St. Brown is one of those guys where, on paper, he looks like he should be a star player, but he just needs to learn to be a real pro. Sounds like he is doing the right things. We're starting to see some things on the field. If he could come out and have a break-out game we would all be thrilled.

10 points
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jont's picture

December 10, 2021 at 03:29 pm

When Cobb was signed several guys here were concerned about how he'd hold up, and they were proved right.
A lot of us also thought at the time that Amari would use his time behind Cobb to get comfortable and productive for the second half of the season. It's pretty rough that he hasn't developed to the point where he can step into the slot and deliver 3 or 4 catches to move the chains.
EQ has still not blossomed as was hoped a few years ago, but he's shown he can probably bring a few catches now to go with his (usually) good blocking.

8 points
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Leatherhead's picture

December 10, 2021 at 03:59 pm

EQ and Lazard form a nice combo, each getting maybe 3 targets and getting their man out of the way on the other 60 snaps.

2 points
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Coldworld's picture

December 11, 2021 at 08:37 am

EQ has gone from being a liability as a blocker to OK. He’s not in Lazard’s class. Lazard needs to get fully healthy I suspect. I’m hoping the bye will have helped.

2 points
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relleum61's picture

December 10, 2021 at 03:52 pm

When EQ was drafted, I thought the team had hit upon a DA type stud who like DA would take 2 years or so to develop. I was disappointed in that development until recently. I am glad to see the light has come on and now "It Is Time!"

6 points
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Caden819's picture

December 10, 2021 at 04:08 pm

I'm not sold on "the light coming on" but if he can build on his performance against the Vikings then it would really be a plus

5 points
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Coldworld's picture

December 10, 2021 at 06:57 pm

EQ seems motivated finally, but thus far he’s an occasional flash type as opposed to a regular contribution one can rely on. The light may have come on, but it’s yet to convert into anything close to a full game, in his 4th year, he’s lucky that they like his undeniable physical upside enough to be still giving him chances. With Cobb out, he will never have a better chance to show he is an NFL player. Over to you Mr. St. Brown.

2 points
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jurp's picture

December 11, 2021 at 10:15 am

We may have drafted the wrong St. Brown. In my very limited viewing of the Lions, Amon-Ra looks like a potential near-star to star receiver - and that's with Goff throwing him the ball. Imagine what he could do with a better QB.

0 points
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Coldworld's picture

December 11, 2021 at 12:09 pm

The scuttle butt was that Amon Ra was not only more developed but actually likes football. I’m amused at the love for EQ. After 4 years he’s actually contributing on STs, but why did it take being waived before that happened? He’s OK as a blocker, if not consistent, but he’s not Lazard in that context.

EQ has talent. He’s just lacked focus and a willingness to play through knocks. In my view, commitment. Even now, after 4 years he’s an occasional spot contributor. We still se signs of what he could be, but he’s yet to show that he wants it enough to consistently grind play after play, glamorous or not. He’s got the physical tools. Now is the time to show he belongs. If he doesn’t, give Taylor or Winfree the chance. Let’s not anoint him till he puts up the production.

2 points
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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 12, 2021 at 04:31 am

ESB reminds me of Montravious Adams. One can see the talent, and he flashes. Sometimes a guy needs a wake up call, some don't answer even after the phone rings, and some hit snooze one too many times.

Adams picked up $75K from NE but was waived Aug. 31. New Orleans then played him 5 games and paid him $520K and then waived him. Pittsburgh started him the last two weeks ($110K) and if he sticks through the end of the season with the Steelers he could earn a total of $330K. That would be a total of $925K for his 200 snaps this season plus however many more he plays in Pittsburgh.

I always laugh at folks who think these contracts should be guaranteed. They forget human nature.

0 points
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THESZOTMAN1's picture

December 10, 2021 at 05:41 pm

OK. I admit it. I thought we oughta cut EQ last fall.
But he toughed it out on PS and now with Cobb injury, he's johnny on the spot.
He's not the ideal slot receiver, but Taylor and Rogers are not ready.
Even when not catching passes he earns his props in the ground game and on STs.
As several have noted he's due for breakout.
GPG. Beat da Bears.
The Szotman

3 points
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Coldworld's picture

December 10, 2021 at 06:58 pm

Taylor looked good in camp. Not sure why he hasn’t had some chances.

1 points
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MarkinMadison's picture

December 10, 2021 at 07:40 pm

I think Taylor has been banged up a bit recently.

No shame in thinking that EQ should be cut last fall.

4 points
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Swisch's picture

December 10, 2021 at 07:03 pm

I'm rooting for Equanimeous -- who may be motivated in part by his brother coming into the NFL, which is fine by me.
I hope he does so well he gets his own network to show all of his highlights starring for the Packers -- ESBN.

2 points
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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 12, 2021 at 04:33 am

ESBN would probably be better than ESPN!

1 points
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Tundraboy's picture

December 10, 2021 at 11:10 pm

Still very happy to be eating crow. I was wrong about ESB this year. Would be great for him to have a game to remember this week. Coming out on Sunday night against the Bears. Wow. The stage is set.

2 points
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Starrbrite's picture

December 11, 2021 at 01:14 am

I’m intrigued by Winfrey.

2 points
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CoachDino's picture

December 11, 2021 at 03:47 am

eqs showed something by going from a expected cut, not picked up, gb ps signee to a quality wr getting snaps and targets. imo cobb signing was a small price to pay to apease ar. ar wasnt going to use amari anyway being arookie. found the cobb adoration a bit much. he certainly has a role so hoping hes back by playoffs. imo cobb didnt add value as just transfered it from others. mvs, tonyan, lazard reduction in passing being the cost. cobb did little until mvs injury. ilike mvs, eqs and al, but the arent close to being no. 1 wr. the odds of drafting a day guy is slim. go ahead and draft a guy, franchise da, and let him walk in 2023. yes, i said it, ft da. you save money on the cap, hes still motivated for 2023 and even if he slacks he still demands a doudle team.

-1 points
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porupack's picture

December 11, 2021 at 07:53 am

Woah, there's a lot to unpack in your post. Hmmm, pretty interesting. Agreed on Cobb's value, and the role/value on mvs, eqs and al. Yeah, I also think the pack needs to get as much return as possible from the da draft and develop.....and keep as long as possible.

1 points
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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 12, 2021 at 05:00 am

Cobb caught 28 passes on 39 targets for 375 yards. His yards/rec was a very good 13.4. His yards per target was an excellent 9.6. His catch percentage was 71.2%, which is good. He had 5 TD receptions, including two big ones against Arizona in a close game, which might prove to be very important. Cobb only played 31 snaps per game, just under half of possible snaps per game.

The problem is that Cobb got hurt. Again. Same thing with King: he has played just 6 games of the 12 so far.

As you say, Cobb has a role on this team. CBs have been surprisingly good, but King probably has a role as well. Still don't like the King signing though.

0 points
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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

December 11, 2021 at 09:45 am

I have been an ESB fan from day 1, however with all that aside I do believe if LF and Rodgers would provide 'the right' opportunities that ESB is the one player who could really help elevate the offense significantly between now and end of season. We have all seen his skill set these past few games. The key is opportunities, being used the right way, and for him to stay healthy. Fingers crossed for ESB!

0 points
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PatrickGB's picture

December 11, 2021 at 10:26 am

Rodgers should learn some phrases in German. That way, at the line, he could tell him what to do and keep it a secret from the defense.

0 points
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Packerlifer's picture

December 11, 2021 at 04:10 pm

With an eye toward the future Gutey drafted 3 big wideouts in his first draft in 2018: J'Mon Moore, MVS and EQ. Moore, the highest of the picks, washed out quickly but MVS began to show last season and now may be the time for St. Brown.

It took a couple seasons for Davante Adams and Jordy Nelson to "blossom" into what they became as elite receivers so MVS and EQ are not far off schedule. They need to arrive, not only for the stretch this year, but for the next season.

If Adams & Cobb leave after this season the Packers could have a pretty good foundation at wr to build on with Lazard, MVS and EQ. At least that's what they and we are hoping will be.

1 points
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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

December 12, 2021 at 04:42 pm

I'd also add Amari into that mix with Lazard, MVS, & ESB as well. While Amari hasn't shown much yet his college tape doesn't lie. No doubt if Adam's leaves the aforementioned provides a great foundation. Then they would draft a WR early unless there is a trade for AR and a good WR was included.

0 points
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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

December 12, 2021 at 11:10 pm

Poor guy just cannot stay healthy! Unfortunately some players are injury prone and ESB seems to be one of them.

0 points
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