What Does the Loss of Nelson Mean?

Question: How do you take the air out of the festive 11th Frame at the Park Tavern? Answer: Announce that Jordy Nelson has likely suffered a torn ACL. What was a festive, lively room, watching the Pack glide down the field on the opening drive in Pittsburgh, quickly turned funereal.

For me, it wasn't a 'damn, there goes the Super Bowl feeling;' it was more of a 'damn, it's so much fun watching him lock in with Rodgers and strike week after week. I'm gonna miss that' feeling.

With the news that Nelson is lost for the season, we regroup, take a deep breath and consider what it means for the 2015 Packers. I went to two Las Vegas websites: vegasinsider.com and oddsharks.com and both still list the Pack as Super Bowl favorites, even after the Nelson injury. That speaks volumes to the talent on the squad, more specifically, to the talent of #12.

The Packers lost a top five receiver to be sure, but with the talented Davante Adams ready to step into the Nelson role, there is every reason to expect him to post big numbers and take the pressure off of Randall Cobb, who will see significant double coverage until and unless Adams steps in and produces. We've all heard the praise being rained down on the second year receiver. The not normally effusive Mike McCarthy called him the MVP off the offseason and Rodgers echoed that praise.

If Adams takes that giant second year step, the Pack should have two guys who can catch between 80-90 balls apiece. It's what happens next that will determine how lethal this offense is. Third round pick Ty Montgomery will likely get the first shot at being the #3 receiver. Jeff Janis may threaten him a bit, if he continues to progress and make plays when the lights are on. If one of those two hits, the Pack will be just fine at the receiver position.

You get the feeling Richard Rodgers may become a bigger part of the offensive equation, too. Much has been made of his progress in his second season. We've seen some nice plays from him early and the other Rodgers seems to be developing some confidence in his fellow Cal Bear. There's no doubt the team could use more production from their tight end, particularly in the red zone, where they absolutely must improve.

The offense could also be tweaked a bit to add more screens into the mix. Eddie Lacy is up to the challenge as a receiver and I would think we'll see more than a handful of third down conversions come through the air to #27.

The Packers would appear to have lost some of their quick strike ability with the loss of Nelson and there's no way one guy will replace his production. But with Rodgers at the controls, you have to believe he'll spread the wealth and keep the offense humming.

It's just a little uncomfortable when you're relying on so many, pardon the expression, 'green' players to step up. Adams, Montgomery, Janis and Rodgers. These are the guys that need to be ready for their close-ups. There won't be any veteran signings at this point. That's not the way Ted rolls. These are his guys. Now it's up to them to prove his point.


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