Since becoming the starting quarterback for the Green Bay Packers in 2008, Aaron Rodgers has always had Donald Driver and Greg Jennings to throw to, helping him become arguably the best quarterback in the NFL, an MVP and a Super Bowl champions. In 2013, things are going to be very different.
The Packers did add two wide receivers in the draft, but used very late picks (216th, 224th) on Charles Johnson (out of Grand State Valley) and Kevin Dorsey (out of Maryland), so it’s unlikely either one of them is going to become a favorite target for Rodgers next season.
No, the guys he’s most likely to be throwing plenty of passes to are James Jones, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, who will be the central trio. The three led the Packers in receptions last year, as Driver, who recently decided to retire after 14 seasons in Green Bay, caught only 8 passes for 77 yards, while Jennings, who signed with the Minnesota Vikings, played in only 8 games and was less productive and targeted than in the past.
So in truth, Rodgers has already had a year to adjust, but this time it’s for real. Randall Cobb, who led the team in receptions and yards is poised to have a season in which he crosses the 1000 yards barrier for the first time, and becomes one of the elite wide receivers in the NFL. James Jones caught a league high 14 touchdowns last season, while Jordy Nelson, when healthy for the full season, is a 1000-yards kind of guy.
I still like the guys we got. We have a lot of talent at that position. I think Randall Cobb is a guy who could be a 100-plus-catch guy every year. James Jones led the league in touchdown receptions last year. And Jordy has had some real big years for us.
Like always, the Packers didn’t really dive into free agency and tried to come up with a star. The Aaron Rodgers contract, the biggest in NFL history (5-year, $110 million) is certainly part of that, as the team had to think good and hard about its future wage structure while holding on to Rodgers, turning 30 at the end of next season, at the highest price possible.
The Packers just need the guys to take another step forward. Rodgers spread around the ball quite well last season, but will probably look to turn one of the guys he has in front of him into a real number one option, and potentially a new star. Cobb seems like the natural choice due to his numbers last season.
Depth might become an issue, or a chance for guys like Jarrett Boykin and Jeremy Ross to show they can also play a part in the Packers’ pass-happy offense, which isn’t likely to change too much, even though they’ll try and bring a little bit more running to the fold next season.