The following is the fourth installment in a series of stories that’s examining the Packers’ roster position by position. This installment examines the wide receivers.
GREEN BAY—The No. 1 receiver for the Green Bay Packers changes by the week, if not by the series. That may frustrate fantasy football players to no end, but it works for Aaron Rodgers and his offense.
How those categories will shake out in 2013 is anyone’s guess, but barring injury, it’s a good bet the “big three” will have their names at or near the top of the various lists once again.
The interesting question is whether anyone’s individual numbers will truly jump off the page this season, a difficult task amidst such depth and talent.
Cobb’s 80 receptions last year were the most by a receiver since Rodgers took over as the starter (tying the departed Greg Jennings’ 80 catches in 2008). Rodgers has called Cobb a potential “100-catch guy,” but that hasn’t happened in Green Bay since Robert Brooks caught 102 in 1995.
Jones’ 14 TD catches led the league, and was within shouting distance of Sterling Sharpe’s franchise record of 18, as was Nelson’s 15 the year prior.
Nelson’s 15.2 yards per catch signaled a significant drop from the year before (18.6). Jones had a similar falloff from 16.7 to 12.3 as the offense lost some of its big-play mojo. Here’s a good trivia question: The last Packers receiver with at least two dozen receptions to average 20 yards per grab for a full season was Walter Stanley back in 1986 (20.7).
Should a revamped ground game earn respect from defenses and return the Packers to their big-play ways of 2011, who knows?
The real intrigue as far as training camp is concerned, however, comes after the big three.
The fourth and fifth (and maybe sixth) spots are up for grabs, with candidates aplenty. Nine receivers beyond the big three give the Packers an even dozen heading into camp.
The returnees are
Ross’ strength is in the return game, and if he’s the best option at that spot, he could influence how many receivers are kept on the final roster.
The rest of the candidates are rookies, headed by seventh-round draft picks
The remaining five –
Last year, all the pre-camp attention was on which practice-squad holdover would make the team, Tori Gurley or Diondre Borel. Neither did, and the undrafted rookie Boykin won a job instead.