When Jordy Nelson, as tough a football player as you’ll see, stayed down on the ground after getting hit in the ribs by Leon Hall, you just knew there was trouble. He missed the rest of the Giants game, and today Mike McCarthy announced he’ll also be out on Sunday against the Cowboys. As a Packers fan, this news was expected, but is still a gut punch.
Jordy was the Packers’ best receiver this year, as he has been for awhile. He caught 97 balls for 1,257 yards and 14 touchdowns this year. His missing last season was in my opinion the biggest variable behind Aaron Rodgers’ comparative struggles, and Rodgers’ resurgence this season magically coincided with Jordy getting his legs back. This is a big loss. There’s no discounting that.
The one small silver lining is that all of the Packers’ offensive fireworks against the Giants last week did come after Jordy went down. Randall Cobb rediscovered a form we haven’t seen from him in a long time. Davante Adams had a big game. Jared Cook, who is Rodgers’ first formidable threat at tight end since Jermichael Finley went down with a neck injury in 2013, creates matchup nightmares. Geronimo Allison learned the hard way that you can NOT drive 81 in a 70 in Wisconsin, but that news won’t hamper his pass-catching ability, which will be needed this week.
Converted wide receiver Ty Montgomery and Seahawks castoff Christine Michael comprising a stout running game has essentially been like finding $100 on the ground.
If Aaron Rodgers plays like he did beginning on the first Packers’ touchdown drive against the Giants Sunday — evading all comers, stepping into his throws, and completing darts wherever he damn well chooses — the Packers can hang with the Cowboys. It would also be helpful if the defense can force a turnover or two.
In summation, Jordy Nelson is probably the offensive player after Rodgers that the Packers could least afford to lose. But, they’ve been bracing for this news all week, and will hopefully persevere over the Cowboys nonetheless.