The Green Bay Packers rank 23rd in the NFL in passing offense (228.3 yards per game), which is unusual for a team quarterbacked by two-time league MVP Aaron Rodgers.
The biggest difference about this season has been the absence of Pro Bowl wide receiver Jordy Nelson, who tore his ACL during the preseason and was placed on injured reserve. Although Nelson led the Packers with a career-high 98 receptions for 1,519 yards and 13 touchdowns last season, he’s not jumping to any conclusions about the team’s troubles without him.
Nelson refused to tie his absence to the Packers’ struggling passing game, via ESPN’s Jason Wilde:
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I think that's the easy thing to say now. What's the big difference between this year and last year? Yeah, I guess I would be the one missing piece from last year. But I think every year is still different.
I don't think that's what's going on. I think guys aren't making the plays they're able to make. When you look at the Minnesota game, guys made plays and they put up 30 points against one of the top defenses in the NFC. Then the next game, they don't make the plays and we struggle.
Without Nelson, Aaron Rodgers has bounced around from James Jones to Randall Cobb to Davante Adams in his search for a viable replacement. These pass-catchers have enjoyed their moments this season, but none of them has stepped up as a reliable and consistent No. 1 receiver.
"You want to be out there to help, but there’s nothing I can do about it," Nelson said, per ESPN. "I don’t stress over things that I have no control over."
The Packers would love to have Nelson back in the lineup, but that will have to wait until next season. In the meantime, Rodgers must make do with the arsenal of targets currently at his disposal.