Gut Reactions: Preseason Week 2 Vs the Steelers

Aaron's gut reactions from the Packers' preseason loss to the Steelers

  • Obviously, the big news of the day is on the injury front, none being bigger than Jordy Nelson's reportedly torn ACL.
  • Now, while losing Nelson would unquestionably be a big blow, it is NOT a season-crippling one, no matter what you read or hear over the next few days to the contrary. 
  • Of more concern is getting David Bakhtiari healthy as soon as possible. If today didn't show the Packers that Don Barclay is not a NFL tackle, on either side of the line, I'm not sure what will. He is more than adequate at guard. He's just not a fit outside. 
  • Lots of fans will respond to that last sentiment by pointing to his time as the starting right tackle a few years ago. Go back and watch those starts. It will back up exactly what I'm saying. He's a fine guard. He's simply not a tackle. And the Packers are kidding themselves thinking otherwise. 
  • Speaking of kidding themselves, I can not for the life of me figure out the rationale for Mike green-lighting the play call on third down that resulted in a safety. Run it and get the hell out of there. Yes, you may want to evaluate things, but you're not gleaning any tidbit of info that will help you win a championship by watching your overmatched reserve left tackle go against one of the better defensive players ever to play the game, coming out of your own endzone.
  • Ladarius Gunter keeps showing up in positive ways. 
  • Meanwhile, Quinten Rollins had a bit of a "coming back down to Earth" performance. 
  • No more Jeff Janis returning punts, please. 
  • Nice to see Damarious Randall get himself an interception. 
  • Scott Tolzien looked good for the second week in a row. My only concern with him now is how he seems to predetermine most of his throws. If it's there, great. If not, he rarely pulls the trigger on a second or third read. Obviously, he just needs to play more. For now, the coaches have to feel pretty good about what they have behind Aaron Rodgers. 
  • Eddie Lacy is going to have a monster season. 
  • Richard Rodgers continues down the "steadily improving" path. 
  • Jayrone Elliott did nice work again today. He's not the most explosive athlete, but he never quits and seems to have a nose for the quarterback. 
  • JC Tretter hasn't been talked about a whole lot this year, but he turned in another solid performance, a week after playing well in New England. 
  • The Nelson news absolutely, positively sucks. But the Packers are still Super Bowl contenders. Next man up. 
  • Go Pack Go. 
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Comments (55)

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Idiot Fan's picture

August 23, 2015 at 03:43 pm

Nelson is a top-5 receiver in this league, there's just no replacing him. But if Adams and RRodgers can both make a leap, this offense can still be really good. Also, hopefully this will give the offense a bit more focus and edge trying to make up for this loss.

Janis still catches with his body too much for me.

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sonomaca's picture

August 23, 2015 at 04:33 pm

That's absolutely true about Janis. Never going to be great if he continues to do that.

I think the Nelson news really deals a crippling blow to the season. The Rodgers to Nelson sideline back shoulder throw is indefensible. This injury makes the Packers offense much easier to defend.

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Evan's picture

August 23, 2015 at 04:47 pm

It hurts. But hardly crippling. The offense goes from all-time great to just regular great.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

August 23, 2015 at 05:40 pm

Lol @ regular great. I needed that.

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NickPerry's picture

August 23, 2015 at 06:36 pm

I don't know, it's going to hard to replace 90+ receptions, 1200+ yards, 12+ TD's, and the ability to catch absolutely anything on the sidelines. The Packers don't really have another guy like Jordy that can catch the ball consistently and take it 75 yards. Go back and look at last years TD catches of Nelsons, you'll see what I mean. MM has built up Adams as taking the next step, time to show it.

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Idiot Fan's picture

August 23, 2015 at 10:12 pm

Totally agree. Watching Janis this preseason has reminded me that there's so much more to it than the tangibles. Janis and Jordy may have similar measurements, but watching the two of them play is like night and day. Jordy does so many little things well - good hands, good route running, and among the best sideline work ever. The fix, I think, won't be from replacing Jordy, but rather getting improvement from a bunch of guys and hoping it's enough.

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Dan Stodola's picture

August 23, 2015 at 10:48 pm

Clearly Adams is going to have to step up in a big way. And he can do that to some degree, but not 90+ and 1500. If they get as much as 75 and 1100 it'll help a lot.

Problem is Adams doesn't have the speed to threaten the Defense over the top. Cobb gets some long gains by breaking tackles and run after catch, but he's not a deep threat either.

Janis has the speed/size for a deep threat, but the rest of his route running and overall receiving skills are missing.

Its got to be a committee approach to try to keep the offense running at high octane. But they will be missing the vertical threat unless Janis really improves a lot.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

August 24, 2015 at 12:44 am

Bingo. No deep threat.
Bingo. Committee approach should it prove true that Nelson's injury in season-ending.

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Dan Stodola's picture

August 24, 2015 at 01:52 am

Problem is, w/o the deep threat Jordy provided, the DB are going to be sitting on routes. That will make Adams job more difficult, along w/ the fact he'll be getting a much better CB covering him. Kind of a double wammy for Adams.

Cobb will see less open daylight to make plays with also. TE's will get tighter coverage, since the safeties won't be as deep.

There's a major trickle down effect starting at the top, which puts more on Rodgers too. But like I have said, I'm not too concerned because we DO have Rodgers as the trigger man.

This might be similar to '12 when teams played nothing but cover 2 to try to limit Rodgers. Except that its due to the loss of Nelson, as opposed to no respect for the running game.

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Big_Mel_75's picture

August 24, 2015 at 10:46 am

Please please let teams sit in cover 2 all day Lacy will destroy them. Difference between '12 and '15 is we have a great running back that will help carry this team. Is it a blow yes. But Lacy can carry the rock for a few games while Adams and Montgomery come on the same page as Rodgers. Nelson will be missed greatly but I think this team is deep at WR. Remember what Adams did against NE and DAL not saying he will every game but he has it in him to do it.. Maybe this injury to Nelson draws it out of him faster to be a complete WR!

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Dan Stodola's picture

August 25, 2015 at 12:07 am

You misunderstood. And I don't think I explained myself very well. Without the threat of the vertical passing game, teams will have no reason to sit in cover 2. They will crowd the short zones and sit on routes. The net effect will be a lot more defenders closer to the LOS. Rodgers is and of himself commands enough respect that they won't play cover 1 and 8 in the box, but their will certainly be more defenders closer to the LOS. As it was, Lacy only had 6 or at most 7 in the box last year, due to the deep threat and Rodgers ability.

So its actually the opposite problem in that now w/o the deep threat all the passing lanes in short and intermediate zones and the run game will be hard pressed to be efficient, much like against the cover 2 when the Packers vertical game was negated. Except now the short/intermediate passing and run game will be less efficient.

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PaulRosik's picture

August 24, 2015 at 12:23 pm

I agree. They need to have the vertical threat on the outside even if it's a player of far less ability like Janis.

The trickle down comes more from the big plays that Jordy provided. Instead of a60 yard explosion play the Packers will now need to carve out drives of 60 yards with shorter passes and runs. That may prove a lot more difficult to do as often as Jordy would get a 50 + yard play.

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croatpackfan's picture

August 24, 2015 at 04:39 am

Hope that Jared Abbrederis will come back this week. He can catch incatchable. Also, I was reading that Ed Williams is the similar guy. Nice speed, good route runner and catches with hands!

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chugwater's picture

August 23, 2015 at 08:49 pm

The key here is that no one player will replace Jordy's production. That 1500 yards will go to Cobb, Adams, Rodgers, Janis, Montgomery, and others.

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Jeff Hayes's picture

August 23, 2015 at 03:53 pm

I disagree with your take on the safety, the call was right but Rodgers made a rookie mistake by holding the ball to long! The play was a quick slant and even if the guy was covered Aaron should know better than take a sack he should have thrown it away and punted plain and simple!

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ray nichkee's picture

August 23, 2015 at 04:13 pm

Barclay got his ass whooped by 37 year old james harrison who was retired last year until the steelers called him. He got behind rodgers and trapped him. Thats when a player doesnt get his ass chewed on the sideline for a holding penalty. I hope the barclay tackle expirament is over.

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Zola Davis's picture

August 24, 2015 at 08:44 am

Ummm.

A penalty in the endzone is a safety, too. Albeit, a safer safety than a hit on QB1.

Overall way too much pressure on QB's. Not be overly dramatic, but OLine depth didn't shine in Pitt.

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NickPerry's picture

August 23, 2015 at 06:45 pm

Go back and look at the replay. Harrison beat Barclay so badly Barclay was on his knees behind and just to the right of Rodgers when Harrison hit Rodgers, on his knees! I counted 2 Mississippi and at that point Rodgers neck was getting whip lashed because Harrison hit him so F'ing hard. I said all week I was concerned, hell he can't play RT so he sure as hell can't play LT. If David B is going to out for a while then maybe they better try and slide Bulaga over to LT and figure out the RT position in a hurry.

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Clay Zombo's picture

August 23, 2015 at 09:05 pm

With Barclay at LT, they should have rolled AR out of the pocket to the right not left him a sitting duck in the end zone. Of course the defense is gonna take away the quick pass there, just a terrible play call from the get go.

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J0hn Denver's Gavel's picture

August 23, 2015 at 09:46 pm

It's so strange that they practiced Barlclay at LT all week. I mean, who didn't see this coming?

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

August 24, 2015 at 12:47 am

Why are we talking about Mike green-lighting this call? Isn't Tom Clements making the call? [Good Lord - is this the first official criticism of Clements' play-calling? A dubious honor. I'll read below and find out.]

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PaulRosik's picture

August 23, 2015 at 04:17 pm

Totally tragic. The dreaded non-contact injury. And for the Packers a position of strength now goes to a position of youth and inexperience. As bad as the young receivers looked today, I see a lot of 2 tight end alignments on the Packers near future. Janis dropped a pass and then didn't tip toe on the sideline on the very next play. He appears to be Rodgers "Bill Schroeder" - an athletic guy that's just not that natural as a receiver. But on the upside he may be even more athletic than Schroeder was for Favre. If this is an all in Super Bowl year there may be a need to find this years version of Ande Rison if none of the rookies produce.

After the first drive the offensive line was so manhandled it was hard to judge any of the skill players. Tolzein looked ok and was let down by the drops that would have made his stat line look quite good. Watching the NFL network coverage by the Pittsburgh crew, Tolzein later left to the locker room and it was totally unremarked upon by the Steeler homers. So any updates there are appreciated.

If Alonzo Harris isn't called "stonehands" by his teammates he should be.

There were some bad penalties and some long passes but the run defense held up well , specially up the middle.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

August 24, 2015 at 01:01 am

If Janis can be the Bill Schroeder of 1999-2001, sign me up. Schroeder's stats:
1999: 74 receptions, 1051 yards, 14.2 yds/reception
2000: 65 receptions; 999 yards, 15.4 yds/reception
2001: 53 receptions; 918 yards, 17.3 yds/reception, 9 TDs

Quarless missed his block which resulted in a TFL.

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Dan Stodola's picture

August 24, 2015 at 01:55 am

We can only hope that is the case for Janis. As yet it seems like a pipedream. But that would solve a lot of problems.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

August 24, 2015 at 05:38 pm

If Adams can reach Schroeder's stats above, that too would solve some problems. I agree with the trickle down argument, but if Adams can step up then Janis or White catching 25-30 passes for 450 yards would be a nice complement to Adams and Cobb and whatever we get out of Monty and the TEs, and it would be less of a pipe dream.

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EdsLaces's picture

August 23, 2015 at 04:18 pm

HaHa missed a tackle...then made several others. He played well I thought. Hayward made some plays (shoulda had a pick). Randall not only had a pick but tackled very well. Shields play early in the game on Brown was awesome. Long story short ....our secondary is ballin.

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egbertsouse's picture

August 23, 2015 at 04:20 pm

One of their strongest positions went from an "A" to "B" in one play.

Rollins looked like "just a guy" today. That's why I'm reluctant to hop on bandwagons after only one game.

Lacy looked in top form. Try not to overuse him in the preseason.

TE's looked pretty decent. Surprised.

TT has to do something about back-up tackles besides cross his fingers and hope they don't get injured. Any FA vets out there?

Special teams (I'm looking at you, Masthay!) need some work.

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NashvilleCheesehead's picture

August 23, 2015 at 05:08 pm

Time to bring another punter into camp. Something is not right with Masthay, which is continuing from last season. As a UK alum, Cobb and Masthay are special to me. But I bleed green and gold, not blue. Time to see if there are other options.

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NickPerry's picture

August 23, 2015 at 06:52 pm

Masthay is painful to watch. He was poor last week and worse this week. If he did get any distance it was a line drive and that shank was ugly. It's summer, he should be launching 50 yard punts, what's going to happen come December? The back-up Tackle position has to be addressed and not with an UDFA, for once not with an UDFA.

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lucky953's picture

August 23, 2015 at 04:23 pm

Righto Mr Nagler. The Packers had 15+ guys on IR in 2010.

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chugwater's picture

August 23, 2015 at 04:24 pm

Just remember.

#nobodysunderdog

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Dan Stodola's picture

August 23, 2015 at 04:30 pm

Things we learned.

Janis should never again be fielding a Punt or Kick return.

Janis still can't make a short / intermediate play. Until he does, his deep speed means nothing.

Janis can play ST other than returns.

The Packers are keeping 2 FB's. Book it.

Barclay can' play LT, should be a good enough RT or OG, but can't play LT. IF Bahktiari's injury were serious Bulaga has to move to LT, no if and's or buts about it.

Tolzien still looks like a backup QB nothing more. 5 yds per completion? Terrible. Still hasn't proven that he can win a game if Rodgers misses a couple.

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PaulRosik's picture

August 23, 2015 at 06:22 pm

I am not a Janis guy and still just see a speedster that can only do one route effectively.

The offensive tackle position starts to make you worry and you are left just hoping Bakhtiari and Bulaga play every snap.

I thought Tolzein was fine. While he was in there the offensive line was being totally manhandled, he had no running game at all, and his receivers made no plays for him, so being able to score any points at all was pretty good given the conditions.

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aj's picture

August 23, 2015 at 07:52 pm

I'm not a mathematician, but how did you get 5 yards per completion? He went 11/19 with 102 yards. That's a 9.27 yards per completion average.

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Dan Stodola's picture

August 23, 2015 at 10:53 pm

My bad should read per attempt. That is the stat that measures passing efficiency. Yards per attempt, not completion.

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croatpackfan's picture

August 24, 2015 at 04:53 am

That is not the most important stat for QB. QB rating is the most important stat for QB. That is why NFL is talking about QB rating. Second most important stat is % of completition. 3rd most important stat is number of TD, 5th most important stat is TD/INT ratio, 6th most important stat is # of sacks. There is stat yards per attempt and yards per completion, but they are not that important!
Haters always try their statements looks more important than they are. You, by repeting this statistical number, just looks with further attempts more and more foolish...

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

August 24, 2015 at 05:50 am

I don't agree, Croat. The passer rating statistic merely combines most of the stats you mention in a formula to reach a number. The Passer Grade so widely quoted (see the link for a full explanation) takes completion percentage (in an attempt to judge the accuracy of the passer), the yards per attempt (in an attempt to judge whether the passer has the arm strength to complete the more difficult downfield passes), the TD percentage per attempt, and the Interception percentage per attempt, lumps them with together into a formula that spits out a number. BTW, I think Tolzien looked pretty good, all things considered.

http://www.nfl.com/help/quarterbackratingformula

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Since'61's picture

August 24, 2015 at 05:30 pm

Reynoldo - I agree with you completely. Passer rating is irrelevant. Most important QB stat is # TDs thrown. That scores points and wins games. Second most important stat is # passes intercepted. Picks lose games and deflate the team. As for Tolzien my concern with him is that he is only looking at his primary receiver. He is telegraphing his passes. This will improve with coaching and more playing time. Thanks, Since '61

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Zola Davis's picture

August 24, 2015 at 12:55 pm

Agree with TGR. To me yards per completion is a really simple stat and then TD/INT. Obviously, a tough defense or great RB can skew those numbers, but QB rating doesn't balance for historical comparisons and seems to stack the deck.

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ray nichkee's picture

August 23, 2015 at 04:34 pm

Not a word about the wonderful speacial teams play. On a serious note i did see some good things. Neals run behind kuhn blocking, and ripkowski was by the ball on alot of plays. Alot of errors and confusion though.

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MarkinMadison's picture

August 23, 2015 at 05:34 pm

(1) How many times do we have to watch Kuhn get stoned on short yardage plays before the Packers admit that he can't do it any more? Lacy can get more, and his pass blocking is getting better. It won't be Ripkowski that bumps Kuhn off the roster this year, but I do wonder if he won't get bumped when the finals cuts are made.

(2) Jordy is 30, coming off a hip surgery, and now likely staring down the barrel of an ACL. I wish him well, but you have to wonder if the ACL is gone whether he will ever be the same again. That said, I still love this receiving corps and think that they will be fine. I don't think there is an Andre Rison or Keith Jackson out there, but I'm not sure there has to be.

(3) Ladarius Gunter is looking more and more like he can be a contributor.

I still love this team.

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KenEllis's picture

August 23, 2015 at 05:39 pm

Does anyone see improvement in the "Special" Teams?

Is Slocum still coaching them from behind the scenes.

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NewNikeShoes's picture

August 23, 2015 at 06:43 pm

Well, I for one thought they were acceptable- semi decent until that janis mishap.

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The TKstinator's picture

August 23, 2015 at 07:15 pm

I think we can really only look for individual performances on ST's right now; I can only imagine the cluster it must be to try to manage the number of moving parts with the roster being as large as it is at this point.
Once the season starts and the ST's are stabilized and they are manned with hopefully better athletes, urgency, and cohesion, then we'll see.

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John Galt III's picture

August 23, 2015 at 05:58 pm

A few weeks ago I did something like Jordy Nelson. Just twisted and thought my ACL was gone. I went down hard. Extremely painful. It wasn't an ACL tear at all. I recovered in 2 weeks.

As Nelson was untouched I am hoping his injury was like mine. The MRI should tell and I guess that will be in GB tonight or tomorrow.

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Mojo's picture

August 23, 2015 at 06:25 pm

If Davante Adams can consistently beat DB's on double moves, make acrobatic twisting sideline catches, win the majority of 50-50 balls, scorch people down the middle, average 15 yards a catch, make sure handed back shoulder catches, tap his feet in bounds on tight sideline throws, consistently burn the D on slants, quick hitters and comebackers, block like a TE, pick up 1,500 yards a season and grow two inches, then yes he can replace Nelson.

Jordy is the second most important player on O. I don't think even the Packers fan base realizes how good he was last year.

Sure the Packers are still title contenders, but make no mistake about it - this was a big loss. The margin of error and depth at WR have come down considerably. It's going to be up to Davante to fill the gap(Janis isn't even close yet). Hope he's up to it.

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Samson's picture

August 23, 2015 at 07:17 pm

You couldn't be closer to the truth. Add this to the mix. ---- This is still only preseason. The receiving corp now needs to go through the rest of the preseason, the regular season and play-offs without sustaining anymore lengthy injuries to any of the top 2 or 3 (RC, DA or ?)

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sonomaca's picture

August 23, 2015 at 07:17 pm

Unless the Pack prove that they have a deep threat, defensive backs are going to play forward. That's going to make it tough for Rodgers to find open receivers while at the same time limiting big gainers. This is a big, big problem.

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porupack's picture

August 23, 2015 at 11:35 pm

Best post of the day Mojo; I see your clear tribute to the value of Jordy. Huge loss. All that said, the NE Patriots/ Brady consistently win with WR Corp scratch, and Aaron Rodgers will make the remaining WR Corp excel. So for the fan-base; let's believe in the potential that lies in unproven players when the situation demands. Its a better way to know real potential than just "easing" in unproven players of the Janis/White set; in my opinion.

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NickPerry's picture

August 24, 2015 at 05:28 am

Las Vegas has already dropped the Packers from being a NFC favorite to play in SB 50, that's Nelsons value to Green Bay in their eyes and I don't think it's that far off. Janis is going to come along more like Driver if at all. Driver caught less than 40 balls and 3 TD's his first 3 seasons combined, then went off in his 4th season... I completely agree with what you just said Mojo.

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Tundraboy's picture

August 24, 2015 at 10:44 am

All true. I for one view this as a huge loss as you do. I'm stunned. Missed game and to hear that news,just wow. Somehow we will make up loss in other areas. But he is irreplaceable.

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dobber's picture

August 23, 2015 at 07:24 pm

This is where MM and Clements make their money. If, in fact, the MRI shows an ACL tear for Nelson, they need to find a way to use the remaining pieces to make the offense go. Maybe they don't have another player with Nelson's skill set, but there's plenty of talent in the WR corps. Time to be creative...and with the best QB in the league, it should be do-able.

Good thing the 1's got lots of reps week 1, because I would be shocked if some of these guys see an awful lot of snaps the rest of the way.

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SpudRapids's picture

August 25, 2015 at 11:03 am

I wouldn't be surprised if we see more snaps outta Rodgers than panned pre-Jordy injury. The best way to truly evaluate WR talent is for them to play with the #1 offense and #12 at the helm so it may be beneficial for Rodgers to play a bit more to get those guys on the same page.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

August 24, 2015 at 09:22 am

I used to make fun of teams who always had to use bunch formations for their WR to create separation.

We might not see it a ton, but I do think we will see more of it this season.

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Oppy's picture

August 24, 2015 at 05:49 pm

I'm very okay with Cobb, Adams, White, Montgomery, Janis as our stable of wide outs to start the season.

Abberderis should be the 4th or 5th WR if he ever gets healthy; Janis makes the list only because he brings the very real threat of a blocked punt or FG every time he lines up on those ST units. I think the Packers could carry Janis based on that alone- lord knows he's a work in progress as a WR. Miles White is ready for the active roster. Montgomery gets to learn on the job.

Honestly, while I feel badly for Jordy, I didn't even bat an eye. We have as much depth as we need to absorb even the loss of Nelson at the position. I'm more worried about Lang's possible concussion than the loss of our #1 WR.

Next man up! (Btw, Adams is ready to step up. He'll have a fine year when all is said and done.)

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