Life goes on for Packers after Jordy Nelson injury : Packers Insider

Life goes on for Packers after Jordy Nelson injury

August 25, 2015 by  
Filed under News

While there’s no denying that the loss of Jordy Nelson makes the Packers’ road to the Super Bowl more difficult, they have to move forward without their star receiver.
By Jason Wilde ESPN Wisconsin
August 25th, 2015
GREEN BAY – Only a few days ago, Jordy Nelson stood in a mostly empty Green Bay Packers locker room, looking ahead to the 2015 season. He shared his vision of the team’s offense, his scouting reports on the team’s young receivers and his belief that the team’s depth at the position would overwhelm opponents, who’d find themselves outmanned with not enough cover men to handle all of Aaron Rodgers’ targets.That same day, the Packers Pro Bowl wide receiver also mentioned in passing his primary goal for training camp.

“It’s get through healthy,” Nelson said. “That’s everyone’s goal. Some of that you can control. Some of it you can’t.”

As it turned out, Nelson couldn’t control it. On the sixth offensive play of the Packers’ 24-19 preseason loss at Pittsburgh, Nelson’s right knee torqued awkwardly, and he crumpled to the turf without contact. At the time, the injury appeared minor.

In a game that meant nothing, a game that doesn't count in the standings, Jordy Nelson's season came to an end 3 weeks before the opener in Chicago, when games count.  Why us? Why not Seattle? Their 3rd most important player is Lynch, Wilson, Earl Thomas or Wagner. Take that guy away all year.

In a game that meant nothing, a game that doesn’t count in the standings, Jordy Nelson’s season came to an end 3 weeks before the opener in Chicago, when games count.


On Monday, the Packers made official what Nelson’s teammates and coaches feared: The injury was season-ending. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that while Nelson did tear the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, the rest of the knee ligaments weren’t affected.

Which is something of a metaphor for the Packers’ offense right now – with one of its vital components damaged but with the other key parts still intact.

“It’s a big boy world out there. … Things happen. There’s no rationale behind it,” Packers general manager Ted Thompson said during an appearance on WTAQ-AM radio in Green Bay with Mark Daniels. “You can’t understand how something like that can happen on a play as simple as it was, but that’s life in the NFL sometimes.

Jordy Nelson's season is over after he tore the ACL in his right knee Sunday. -Photo ESPNWisconsin

Jordy Nelson’s season is over after he tore the ACL in his right knee Sunday. -Photo ESPNWisconsin

“Certainly, we’re not in any position where we think we can necessarily replace Jordy. Jordy is a wonderful player, wonderful person in the community and everything else. He’ll continue to do that, but maybe we find two or three guys who can fill the role that he played.

“The NFL is about adapting and changing and even during the course of the game. Your opponent will start playing the game in a Sunday afternoon and by the second quarter they will change and morph into something else. The beauty about the NFL is the players’ ability to learn and adjust on the fly. And that’s what we’ll have to do.”

While that approach is required, it’s not easy when you consider that the Packers went into training camp with the makings of a potentially historic offense: The reigning NFL MVP at quarterback (Aaron Rodgers); two wide receivers who made the Pro Bowl (Nelson and Randall Cobb); one of the NFL’s best offensive lines; a bruising running back seeking his third straight 1,100-yard season (Eddie Lacy); and a pair of second-year pass-catchers who were clearly ascending (wide receiver Davante Adams and tight end Richard Rodgers).

Now, with the receiver deck reshuffled, the Packers will have to adjust their identity on offense. When he looked at the unit’s potential recently, Nelson pointed out that it was unlikely that he and Cobb would each crack the 90-reception mark this season because of all the other weapons the team had in the passing game. Nelson recalled Rodgers’ first MVP season in 2011, when Nelson led the team with 68 receptions, followed by Greg Jennings (67), Jermichael Finley (55), James Jones (38), Donald Driver (37) and Cobb (25).

“If you’re taking catches away from us and they’re going to someone else, that’s great,” Nelson said. “If you look back to 2011 with Greg, Donald, James and myself and what everyone is doing. Straight across the board if everyone is even and performing, I think it’s great.”

“I’ve heard people try to say it looks like it could be 2011 again, but I don’t think it can because of what we have with Eddie and what we need out of Eddie. We don’t want to be like 2011 because we want to be able to run the ball and be balanced.”

Nelson’s injury certainly accentuates Lacy’s importance because Nelson’s absence dramatically alters the look of the Packers’ three-, four- and five-receiver sets. With Nelson healthy, rookie Ty Montgomery or second-year receivers Jeff Janis and Jared Abbrederis would have been, at best, the No. 4, 5 and 6 receivers with Nelson healthy and Adams serving as the ultra-important No. 3 guy.

“The receiver depth just allows us to be more diverse in what we do,” Nelson said before the injury. “We’ve always believed the more DBs we can get on the field, we feel that our third, fourth and fifth receivers are going to be better than their third, fourth or fifth DB.

“That’s where we want to get to. Then you create matchup problems. We’ve had that in the past. The past couple years, we haven’t been as deep. I think this year there’s a chance to get back to it.”

Now, the Packers might not be deep enough, and they’re going to have to play an inexperienced player at the No. 3 spot before that player might be fully ready.

“Receiver depth obviously would take pressure off of Nelson and Cobb, and now you’re talking about coverage. How do you cover? Are you going to double Jordy and double Randall? How are you going to disperse it?” quarterbacks/receivers coach Alex Van Pelt said before Nelson went down. “That’s a good problem.

“But football seasons are like farming. Every season’s different, you never know what happens. It could be a flood one year and a drought the next, and you just adjust and adapt. If we’re still in San Francisco for Super Bowl 50 having fun after the game, then whatever it takes. We’ll adjust and adapt.”

Just not in the way they were figuring they’d need to.

It’ll be interesting to see when the Packers return to practice Tuesday how the receiver reps are distributed among the starters, and whether Montgomery or Janis’ snap counts spike most. Thompson must also decide whether losing Nelson merits signing a veteran wide receiver of the street who could offer immediate help.

“All we do over there at 1265 Lombardi Ave. this time of the year is watch tape on other people and players and teams in the NFL. So we’re accumulating the knowledge of players at all different positions,” Thompson told Daniels on Monday night. “We’re not singling out the wide receiver position just because this has happened. We’re just going about our business the way we’ve always went about our business.”

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