Randall Cobb catches a pass over the middle against the 49ers in 2012. Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Green Bay Packers receivers go from the 'Big Three' to the 'One-Third'

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With only wide receiver Jordy Nelson and second-year receiver Jarrett Boykin on the field slows down the Packers offense.

 

Oh boy, it was hard to watch, for all fans of the Green Bay Packers, I admit.

In the first half alone – the Packers lost two-thirds of their receiving corps.

First quarter, James Jones tweaks his knee after making a block. Second quarter, Randall Cobb comes up with a big-time catch and runs straight into the waiting helmet of a Baltimore’s Matt Elam. It looked nasty. His knee was definitely hyperextended on the play, barring no other damages to surrounding ligaments. He required a cart ride to the locker room.

It was one of my worst nightmares come to life. When the Packers trotted back on the field after halftime, I nearly expected Jordy Nelson to appear in a bubble. I wouldn’t have been able to blame the organization for being overly cautious. It’s not every day that “The Big Three” dwindles to “The One-Third”

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers would like it if both Jordy Nelson and James Jones were on the field at the same time. Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports photograph

But that is exactly what happened. Leaving Aaron Rodgers with only Jordy Nelson and Jarrett Boykin is … dangerous. With only two receivers downfield trying to get open, Rodgers is holding the ball more. The pocket closes quickly, and Rodgers had to be innovative.

Eddie Lacy picked up a lot of the slack, and created opportunities down the field. The offensive line did a pretty good job against a hungry and tenacious Ravens pass rush. And while Aaron Rodgers needs to deliver the rock a little sooner, it’s difficult to do when you are short staffed on the receiving end.

I wrote on the selflessness of the Big Three not too long ago, stating that Aaron Rodgers tosses the ball to the open man. He doesn’t pad stats. Our receivers are deadly because they are all ridiculously talented. They are all capable of having 1,000-plus-yard receiving at the end of the season. But, we need them all on the field. They are so effective because of the imminent threat that the others provide. You can’t double team deep threat Nelson, or Jones will take a trip to the end zone. You can’t keep the deep threats contained or Cobb will take a seam route to the house. It’s just unfair, defensively. If you lock up the receivers, Jermichael Finley will drag six grown men the extra 20 yards.

Jermichael Finley is tackled following a catch against the Baltimore Ravens Sunday.

Our offensive arsenal is only effective when all the pieces are moving together.

I am hearing reports that neither the injury to Cobb nor Jones is season-ending. It does lift my spirits a bit, but it is reminiscent of losing Nelson and Jennings last year in multiple games. It stalls this high-powered offense when one of its playmakers misses time. Aaron Rodgers is at his best when all his weapons are at his disposal. I think that Eddie Lacy‘s presence in the backfield will take some of the heat off, especially if he continues to make defenses pay.

Packers Nation can only sit back and wait to hear how serious the injuries are and what kind of time they are expected to miss.

Though the initial reports are optimistic, it is never a good day when two-thirds of your firepower is in civies on the sideline.

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Tags: Green Bay Packers James Jones Randall Cobb

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