The Packers receivers are some of the best in the game. Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Pass and catch - Packers fourth?

Last week, the Sporting News came out with its top five ranking of passing groups in the NFL, ranking the packers trio of Aaron Rodgers, Greg Jennings and Donald Driver fourth best in the league.

That’s a respectable ranking, and probably fair on its face value due only to one factor in my mind: Donald Driver’s age.

But despite his years in the league, nobody that I’ve seen keeps himself in shape any better than Double -D. Injuries caught up with him as the season wore on last year and his injury in the Super Bowl was tragic in that he couldn’t finish the game.

However, that injury also emphasized another point about the Packers: The team’s depth.

When Jordy Nelson stepped in, there was no drop-off … in fact, had Nelson hung on to a couple of those dropped passes he had in the big game, he could well have been the Super Bowl’s Most Valuable Player. His performance was nothing short of phenomenal and underscores the fact that when players coming off the bench are thrown into the mix, it’s clear the Packers have one of, if not the deepest and most talented pool of receivers in the league.

Here is what The Sporting News listed as their top five trios, followed be a brief about the Packers receiving corps, which also emphasizes the depth of the entire team:

  1. Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark (Indianapolis Colts)
  2. Philip Rivers, Vincent Jackson and Antonio Gates (San Diego Chargers)
  3. Tony Romo, Miles Austin and Jason Witten (Dallas Cowboys)
  4. Rodgers, Jennings and Driver (Packers)
  5. Michael Vick, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin (Philadelphia Eagles)

‘When you also consider the Packers also have Jordy Nelson, Jermichael Finley and free-agent-to-be James Jones, no other team can give Green Bay a run for the league’s best passing sextet,” writes Vinnie Iyer of Sporting News.

Throw in Andrew Quarless, Ryan Grant out of the backfield and 2011 second round draft choice Randall Cobb, and the Packers have receivers that most quarterbacks in the league would love to throw to.

And I haven’t even mentioned the talent that James Jones and Brandon Jackson bring to the field, but most likely they will be on other teams’ rosters once the free agent frenzy begins.

There is just one listing above the Packers I might question and that’s Tony Romo, Miles Austin and Jason Witten … hmmmm … that’s a bit of a head-scratcher. Talented, yes, but inconsistent and a lack of the ability to win the big games … something that I believe should be a factor in rankings like this … I could certainly say the same of the trio of Chargers also listed above the Packers.

However, as stated in this blog many times … lists are just that … players can accumulate statistics above and beyond reality, but if they don’t have the championships to show for it … well, it’s all a bit pointless, isn’t it?

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Tags: Aaron Rodgers Andrew Quarless Donald Driver Green Bay Packers Greg Jennings James Jones Jermichael Finley Jordy Nelson NFC NFL Ryan Grant Winning Isn't Everything, It's The Only Thing

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