What Will Green Bay Packers Offense Look Like Without Jordy Nelson?
The Green Bay Packers lost star wide receiver Jordy Nelson to an ACL injury last week against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the preseason.
In 2014, Nelson caught 98 passes for 1,519 yards and 13 touchdowns.
That's a big loss for the Packers. But it isn't the end of the world for Green Bay. The Packers still have reigning MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Randall Cobb, Eddie Lacy and Davante Adams.
Cobb caught 91 passes for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns and Lacy ran for 1,139 yards and nine touchdowns last season. Lacy also had 427 receiving yards and four touchdowns. In his rookie season, Adams caught 38 passes for 446 yards and three touchdowns.
So, the Packers have plenty of offensive weapons. And a big reason for that depth has been Ted Thompson's drafting over the last few years.
Adams burst on to the scene last year as a No. 3 wide receiver and now will be the Packers No. 2 guy. He and Aaron Rodgers developed chemistry late last season. Maybe his biggest moment was against the Miami Dolphins when Aaron Rodgers came up the line of scrimmage, did a fake spike and then found Adams to keep the drive going. Adams also had big games against the New England Patriots and against the Dallas Cowboys in the playoffs.
Cobb is the No. 1 guy and and Adams is the No. 2 guy for Aaron Rodgers. Who's the No. 3 wide receiver option? There's a few. Jeff Janis has been waiting for a chance and now he will get the opportunity. The Packers also have Ty Montgomery, who they drafted in 2015 out of Stanford to help special teams and for depth in the wide receiving unit. Beyond that, Myles White has shown flashes and he could emerge as well. It would also be interesting if former Wisconsin standout Jared Abbrederis could stay healthy and become a nice receiving option.
There's plenty of options and the Packers have Thompson to thank for drafting for such a deep stock of receivers.
We also can't leave out Green Bay's tight ends. Richard Rodgers will be in his second year with the Packers in 2015 and could be primed to have a breakout season after enjoying a solid rookie campaign last year. Green Bay also has Andrew Quarless, who has been steady over the years.
The Packers have a lot of options.
Maybe the most important ingredient will be Green Bay's offensive line. Late last season, David Bakhtiari, Bryan Bulaga, Corey Linsley, Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang were clicking on all cylinders blocking for Rodgers and making huge holes for Lacy to run through. Bakhtiari and Lang are struggling with injuries right now, but if they can all get healthy again and be a 100 percent, it would help out the Packers' offense that much more.
The defense will also need to step up. Maybe because of the Nelson injury, the most pressure shifted to Dom Capers' unit. Green Bay has a young secondary after losing Tramon Williams and Davon House. It's Sam Shields, Casey Hayward and Micah Hyde's time to shine as cornerbacks now. As safeties, Ha-Ha Clinton Dix isn't a rookie anymore and Morgan Burnett is a veteran. Rookies Damorious Randall and Quinten Rollins were drafted high to become playmakers. Rookie LaDarius Gunter has shined in the preseason and if nabs a roster spot, he could a player to watch for the Packers.
Outside of the secondary, the Packers have a linebacking corp mixed with veterans and young players. Julius Peppers returns for a second stint for the Packers, along with Clay Matthews, who will probably stay inside. Sam Barrington has a starting job most likely and then the other spot is up for grabs with players like, Jayrone Elliot, Jake Ryan, Nick Perry, Carl Bradford and Nate Palmer to claim.
On the defensive line, the Packers will miss a few players due to suspensions to start the season. Letroy Guion is suspended for the first three games and is still waiting for his appeal to be heard. Datone Jones is suspended for Green Bay's opener at Chicago. While the Packers wait for them to come back, Capers has a solid unit up front. B.J. Raji is back from an injury, Mike Daniels is healthy, Mike Pennel has surprised during Training Camp and then guys like Bruce Gaston and Josh Boyd should all be in the mix.
Packers fans, don't worry, R-E-L-A-X. Green Bay should be just fine. It will just take a team effort.