Packers’ Wide Receiver Problems Can Be Solved Internally

Packers Receivers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb

To anyone who paid attention to the Green Bay Packers’ 2015 campaign, it was obvious that the team’s offense was not as dominant as it has been for the greater part of the last decade.

While Eddie Lacy and the running game were not as effective as they had been over the last couple years, it was the passing attack’s apparent disappearance that was much more noticeable to the team and its fans.

There were a number of potential reasons for this drop off in production from Aaron Rodgers and company. Rodgers was not as sharp as he normally is and revealed he played through an injury this season. The absence of Jordy Nelson for the entire year had an undeniable effect. Other key weapons like Davante Adams and Randall Cobb seemed to regress and could not replace Nelson’s contributions.

James Jones served as a temporary stop gap, but he is not likely to return in 2016. But even with Jones’ probable departure and the overall ineffectiveness of the receiving corps in 2015, the Packers do not need to find a wide receiver in free agency or use an early draft pick on one. Green Bay’s 2015 receiver problems can be fixed with the current roster.

The Packers obviously struggled throwing the ball in 2015. Green Bay ended the season with the league’s 25th-ranked passing offense. To put that in perspective, it was the first time the passing game ranked outside the top ten since2003, when the Packers finished 16th in that category.

Jones led the Packers’ wide receivers with 890 yards, just the second time since 2003 that Green Bay failed to produce a 1000-yard receiver (Randall Cobb had 954 yards in 2012). Despite the struggles, there is every reason to expect that the Packers’ current roster of pass catchers will return to form next season.

The 2014 Packers had the league’s top scoring offense and the eighth best passing attack. That roster included five receivers for most of the season: Nelson, Cobb, Adams, Jeff Janis and Jarrett Boykin. Boykin was not on the team in 2015, but the other four will almost certainly make the roster in 2016.

Second year receiver Ty Montgomery is a lock to make the team as well, and looked like a legitimate weapon before an injury forced him to miss all but six games last year. Jared Abbrederis has the greatest chance of being cut among the Packers’ current receivers, and even he flashed potential when given playing time last season.

Green Bay will not have more than six wide receivers on the 2016 roster, and there is a very real possibility that those six slots have already been filled. But those six are more than capable of helping the Packers’ offense rebound.

Nelson’s return will give an immediate boost to the entire unit. Cobb would benefit from getting to match up against opponents’ second cornerbacks, and Adams has the athletic ability to be one of the best number three receivers in football. Montgomery possesses speed and versatility to be a big play threat, while Janis and Abbrederis are both still developing but are valuable special teams players.

If a top tier receiver such as Laquon Treadwell were to somehow slip to the Packers, then they would still be smart to draft one if he was the best available player. But Green Bay does not need to reach for an overvalued receiver in the draft or pursue one in free agency.

The current Packers’ receiving corps can and should rebound next season and will allow the team to address more pressing needs in the offseason. Nelson and Montgomery will return from their injuries, Cobb and Adams will benefit from Nelson’s return, and Janis and Abbrederis will continue to develop and contribute on special teams.

At the very least, Green Bay’s passing game will be better than it was in 2015. But it is more likely than not that Aaron Rodgers and the receiving corps returns to a top ten unit and prove that the past season’s struggles were not a sign of a long-term problem.

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Sean Blashe is a Packers fan who grew up in Bears territory and is currently a journalism and history major at Marquette University. Sean is a writer with PackersTalk.com and you can follow him on twitter at @SeanBlashe .

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  • TheVOR

    Packers’ Wide Receiver Problems Can Be Solved Internally – Sorry, but that right there is keeping this football team out of the Superbowl. Can we keep drafting and developing? Sure, but as illustrated last season, overall this teams cast of characters minus one star receiver is horrific. For fans to continue to beat the Travis Jervey… ah.. um, I mean Jeff Janis drum as the saving grace of the receiving group, or to pretend that Davante Adams is special, is simply stated ridiculous. Furthermore, the entire group lacks team speed. Very Very generic group outside of Nelson, and this team is yet again, one injury away from mediocrity and losing football. Also, this GM needs to pull his head and draft a real TE already, this is plain ridiculous at this point.

    • Doug Niemczynski

      I could not have put it more eloquently !!!!!! Finally, TheVor is a REAL Packer fan…….instead of this imaginary fantasy Packer fans out there that think the Packer receiving corps is great…..OMG…..another pathetic year of 2016 all set for FAILURE.
      Get Aaron Rogers some freaking weapons !!!!!!!!!!!! Use every pick on offense if you have to ………this is freaking ridiculous and the biggest factor is putting Edgar Bennett back as WR Corp Coach………he pays attention to detail.

  • Doug Niemczynski

    Packers’ Wide Receiver Problems Can Be Solved Internally – Sorry, but that right there is keeping this football team out of the Superbowl……..I agree with TheVOR….Seriously.
    1. James Jones should be kept on the team…890 yards 8 TD’s..cut Abbredaris
    2. Jordy Nelson – Sure great if he come back and doesn’t get hurt again
    3. Davante Adams- Can’t catch a cold
    4. Jeff Janis can’t find his routes unless he has a chauffer
    5. Ty Montomery….really..I mean Boykin was suppose to be so great….gone and Davante Adams had a solid 500 yard season last year…..ug he sucked..
    6. Randall Cobb – Double team him and he is no better than a 3rd wideout
    7. Tight Ends- Richard Rogers “Slow As Dirt”
    Come on people I’m really getting SICK of the Packers coaches and announcers and reporters telling me how GREAT are receiving corps is…SORRY THEY ALL SUCK!!!!!!! GET IT THRU YOUR THICK SKULLS AND DRAFT SOME OFFENSIVE WEAPONS……
    8. Don’t even get me started on Eddie Lacy …Fat Lub of Tard…..

    • holmesmmd

      Lol?Are you an NFL scout or coach? If not….shush! GB has one of the best run teams in all of pro sports. You’re a fan with no expertise. Defer to those that do, be patient, and enjoy the show. GB had a top 3 offense in 2014. Same receivers except Monty & Abby. So…. your argument makes no sense. The problem this year was everyone was injured including the entire O line, Rodgers, & Nelson. Lacy ballooned to 260 lbs and #12 got sacked 50 + times! The WR’s are certainly good enough if they can remain healthy. Lol.

      • TheVOR

        Only problem dude, in the NFL, you can’t point backwards and say things like, well, in 2014 we were great? Who really gives a drag, all that matters is what you did last year, and are we advancing, or declining. The Franchise is clearly in decline, not moving forward, and shows signs of a downward spiral. You don’t have to be scout to follow football, and understand it at a level that exceeds most media pundits, and yes, even scouts. When you watch a GM screw his franchise over by not being able to find blue chip football players in the gravy 1st round of the draft, then your franchise will decline, and has been slowly declining since SB XLV. Or, in one line – What have you done for me lately?

        • holmesmmd

          GB is not close to being in decline! They are once again a pre-season favorite to with the SB. They have one of the easiest schedules I have seen for 2016. Last year’s draft class was very good. Rodgers is still in his prime. You can’t win a SB if you don’t make the playoffs. Many great players play for 15-20 years and don’t manage to get to the SB, never mind winning it. The Packers will be fine. I think you have a bad case of “of season blues” man. The great majority of NFL teams would kill to be the Packers, trust me. The only stronger pre-season teams at this moment are the Patriots & Carolina. Pretty good company if you ask me. Let’s sign Forte’ or Lamar Miller, in addition to Trevathan or a stud ILB in the draft. Get the O line healthy and this team is a monster! Defense is already our best since 2010. Arrow definitely pointing up bro.

  • Nick Perry

    Personally I think you left out the MOST IMPORTANT part of the Packers WR Group this past season, they DIDN’T have a true WR Coach. ! The fact that McCarthy still hasn’t done a thing to resolve this issue is mind boggling. Another is the Packers coaching staff as a whole is Top Heavy. To many Chiefs and not enough Indians if you will.

    We’ve seen McCarthy keep coaches to long because of friendships (Slocum). They should have brought back Philibin as an OC but they didn’t and MM has a bit of a problem. Bennett as WR coach would be best for the team but will he take a demotion? The game plains this year we’re terrible, teams knew exactly what play was coming at certain points in the game. That falls on Bennetts game planning.

    Clements is at best a QB coach, he’s completely failed as a play caller. TWICE! Now he’s an Asst. Head Coach. WTF for??? Problem now is Rodgers will pout the second he’s removed from the staff if that’s what happened. Leave him as a QB’s Asst. HC and get him out of the way other than that.

    That leaves Van Pelt as the odd man out. Because he’s still there I doubt he goes anywhere so I have no idea what to do with him. Can he coach WR’s if Bennett doesn’t? Personally with the way they performed under him last year I wouldn’t let him NEAR them.

    Packers fans are getting impatient under the TT/MM regime, at least I am and I know many, many others. I’m sick of the notion winning the North and making the Playoffs as a success. Maybe before but not now, not with one SB birth in 11 years with Favre and Rodgers. Thompson IMO has cost the Packers at least one maybe two SB’s. Just think back to training camp of 2014. Owen Daniels comes for a visit and leaves without a contract, Thompson prefers to stick with Bosticks “Potential” instead of signing a REAL TE. Bostick is the final straw that breaks the Packers in the last 5:17 of that game in Seattle. Daniels has went on to have 2 decent seasons in Denver and caught both TD’s in the AFC Championship game and won a SB. Richard Rodgers is still as slow as paint drying and about as fun to watch. Bostick? Who Cares!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

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