Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers called a play during the third quarter Dec. 30, 2012.
Elizabeth Flores, Star Tribune
Uh-oh, Rodgers will have all his weapons
- Article by: NANCY ARMOUR
- Associated Press
- January 3, 2013 - 8:39 PM
GREEN BAY, WIS. - Aaron Rodgers is putting up MVP-worthy numbers again, throwing for more touchdowns than anyone in the NFL and ranking near the top in completions and yards passing.
Imagine if he had all of his favorite toys for the whole year.
With Randall Cobb back from a sprained ankle and Jordy Nelson planning to play in Saturday night's NFC wild-card game against the Vikings, the Green Bay Packers finally will have all four top receivers for the first time in, essentially, three months.
"It makes us very dangerous," veteran Greg Jennings said Thursday. "It's pretty obvious when we have all four guys healthy, the amount of big plays that we can accumulate goes up. Aaron has a lot more options."
There's no question Rodgers is a special quarterback, one of the league's finest, and he'd put up impressive numbers if he had only one or two guys to throw to. But he has four receivers who could be No. 1s on many other teams.
"I don't think so," Nelson said when asked if any other team is as loaded at receiver as the Packers. "I don't think you can go four- and five-deep like we can."
Jennings had 1,000-yard seasons from 2008 through '10, and came up just short (949) last year despite missing three games. Nelson has a career average of 15.1 yards per catch, and joined Jennings in the 1,000-yard club last year. James Jones led the NFL with 14 TD catches this year and matched a Packers record with two scores in three straight games. Cobb is the newest of the bunch, and all the second-year receiver has done is lead the team in catches (80) and yards receiving (954).
Add in tight end Jermichael Finley and you can see what defensive coordinators are up against.
"You can go to any one of them and get a big play, so it makes it more difficult for defenses to defend," Green Bay offensive coordinator Tom Clements said.
But injuries have kept the Packers from being able to use that advantage. The Big Four have played less than three full games together this year. Only Jones made it through the entire season unscathed.
Yes, the Packers lost at Minnesota on Sunday. But the offense found another gear after an uncharacteristically slow start on the first three drives, outgaining and outscoring the Vikings over the final 40 minutes. Jennings had his best showing since his return with 120 yards and two touchdowns on eight catches.
"We definitely got it going," Jennings said. "Felt good with what we were seeing, ARod was delivering the ball on the point and guys were making plays all across the field. Are there some things we could have done better as a whole? Absolutely. But we got another shot at it. We've got a chance to make it right this week."
And they will be doing it at full strength.
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