Bennett looking for more from Jones, Nelson, Cobb

  • Article by: NANCY ARMOUR , AP National Writer
  • Updated: June 11, 2013 - 2:04 AM

GREEN BAY, Wis. â Edgar Bennett doesn't like being labeled.

It's partly why the former Packers running back embraced the challenge of becoming Green Bay's receivers coach two years ago. It's also why, as Green Bay begins the process of rebuilding its receiving corps, there is no favored status for James Jones, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb.

With Greg Jennings gone and Donald Driver retired, everyone â productive veterans and newcomers alike â will have to step up.

"Just because they're veteran guys, that doesn't mean that they stop learning, they stop growing," Bennett said. "I'm looking at it as a unit, and the unit must continue to grow. The unit must continue to get better. We add players here and there â we added some last year â but the unit's got to continue to grow and get better and improve."

After a two-day minicamp last week, the Packers have their final OTA before training camp Tuesday.

Though Jennings finished with a career-low 366 yards last season after missing half the year with a torn lower abdominal muscle, and Driver played sparingly, their absences still leave big holes to fill. Jennings was Aaron Rodgers' primary target in the quarterback's first four years as a starter, going over the 1,000-yard mark from 2008-2010 and coming up just short in 2011. Driver is the Packers all-time leading receiver, and though he had only eight catches last year, two were for touchdowns.

"It's different, but we knew this day would come where all of us wouldn't be together. We were kind of prepared for it," Jones said. "We've got a good group, a good team, so we're excited about what's going on."

And if any team is prepared to absorb the loss of Jennings and Driver, it's the Packers.

With Jennings hurt, Cobb and Jones made the most of their expanded playing time last year. Jones tied a Packers record with two touchdowns in three straight games, and finished with 14 TD receptions. Cobb enjoyed a breakout season with 954 yards receiving and eight touchdowns on 80 catches â all this while still returning kicks. Jones had 14 TD receptions. Nelson missed four games with a bad hamstring, yet still finished with 745 yards, the second highest of his career, and led the receivers with a 15.2 yards-per-catch average.

"I've been on record as saying that I believe we have three 1,000-yard receivers in this room. I believe me, Randall and Jordy, if we all stay healthy, we can all reach over 1,000," Jones said. "It's exciting and we're all excited because we know the departure of Greg and Donald means more opportunities for us. Do you want to lose guys like that? No. But it gives us the chance to step up."

That the focus will be on Jones, Nelson and Cobb is understandable because of their past production.

But Bennett doesn't want anyone getting too comfortable. History means little once a new season begins, and Rodgers' favorite receiver has always been the one who is open.

"Just because someone labels you or gives you a tag or this accolade you really like, you've got to earn it every day. You can't just be satisfied," Bennett said. "We're always chasing championships and that's not the way to go about doing it if you feel, 'OK, I've made it.' No, you haven't made it. You want to be the best.

"So, mindset wise, it's about continuing to improve, continuing to be the best you can possibly be so we continue to put ourselves in position to win championships."

That relentless mindset is what's helped Bennett to make a successful transition from running back to receivers coach.

A member of the Packers Hall of Fame, Bennett still ranks 10th on Green Bay's all-time rushing list with 3,353 yards in five seasons. In 1995, he became Green Bay's first 1,000-yard back in 17 years, running for 1,067 yards. As the running backs coach from 2005-11, he oversaw the development of Ryan Grant and James Starks, and transformed Samkon Gado from an undrafted, practice squad player into a running back with the second-best rookie numbers in Green Bay history.

Yet when he was asked to take over the receivers, Bennett never hesitated.

"To be honest with you, not wanting to be labeled a running backs coach," he said of the transition. "You want to be fundamentally sound. You want to be a good teacher. Those are the things I take pride in. I want to be a communicator and I want to make my players accountable. That's really the bottom line. Veteran guys, young guys â they're no different. You want to continue to educate as far as your teaching ability, and then you want to hold those guys accountable."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who wins and loses in football this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

New Orleans 28 FINAL
Carolina 10
Tampa Bay 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Arizona 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Philadelphia 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Houston
NY Jets 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Jacksonville 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
San Diego 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Washington 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
St. Louis 11/2/14 3:05 PM
San Francisco
Denver 11/2/14 3:25 PM
New England
Oakland 11/2/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Baltimore 11/2/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Indianapolis 11/3/14 7:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 105 FINAL
Orlando 98
Detroit 91 FINAL
Minnesota 97
New York 95 FINAL
Cleveland 90
Utah 102 FINAL
Dallas 120
Oklahoma City 90 FINAL
LA Clippers 93
Boston 3 FINAL(OT)
Buffalo 2
Winnipeg 1 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 2
Los Angeles 0 FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
Chicago 5 FINAL(SO)
Ottawa 4
Philadelphia 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay 4
Arizona 1 FINAL
Florida 2
San Jose 3 FINAL(SO)
Minnesota 4
Anaheim 0 FINAL
St. Louis 2
NY Islanders 0 FINAL
Colorado 5
Montreal 2 FINAL(OT)
Vancouver 3
(2) Florida State 42 FINAL
Louisville 31
Troy 10 FINAL
Ga Southern 42
Cincinnati 7:00 PM
Tulane
Tulsa 7:02 PM
Memphis
Air Force 11/1/14 10:30 AM
Army
ULM 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
(19) Oklahoma 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Northwestern 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
(24) Duke 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Maryland 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Wisconsin 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
Rice 11/1/14 11:00 AM
FIU
(21) East Carolina 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Temple
UCF 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Connecticut
Boston College 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Miami-Florida
Washington 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Central Mich 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 11/1/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Western Ky 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Syracuse
Virginia 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
Purdue 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(17) Nebraska
BYU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(20) West Virginia
Indiana 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Kentucky 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Kansas 11/1/14 3:00 PM
(12) Baylor
Texas State 11/1/14 3:00 PM
New Mexico St
Houston 11/1/14 3:00 PM
So Florida
USC 11/1/14 3:30 PM
Washington St
Arkansas State 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
South Alabama 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Louisiana
New Mexico 11/1/14 4:30 PM
UNLV
UAB 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(4) Auburn 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(7) Ole Miss
Old Dominion 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Colorado State 11/1/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St
Arkansas 11/1/14 6:15 PM
(1) Miss State
Stanford 11/1/14 6:30 PM
(5) Oregon
Tennessee 11/1/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina
Texas 11/1/14 6:30 PM
Texas Tech
Southern Miss 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(6) Notre Dame 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Navy
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Illinois 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(13) Ohio State
(14) Arizona 11/1/14 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
San Diego St 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Wyoming 11/1/14 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(18) Utah 11/1/14 10:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Utah State 11/1/14 10:00 PM
Hawaii
Bowling Green 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Akron
Toledo 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Kent State
Buffalo 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ohio U
Northern Ill 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ball State
(22) Clemson 11/6/14 6:30 PM
Wake Forest
Sporting Kansas City 1 FINAL
Red Bull New York 2
Hamilton 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal
Ottawa 11/7/14 6:00 PM
Toronto
Calgary 11/7/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Montreal 11/8/14 3:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 11/8/14 6:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters
Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon
 
Close