Green Bay Packers: Breaking Down Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb


The Green Bay Packers have been dominant in the passing game in recent years. Aaron Rodgers has been able to put up record-breaking numbers and take the Packers to the Super Bowl in his time with the team.

However, Rodgers would not have been able to accomplish these things without a strong receiving corps. While there are still some talented receivers in Green Bay, the number of top-notch Packers’ receivers has dwindled in the last few years.

During their 2010 Super Bowl season, the Green Bay Packers had a commanding receiving corps. Aaron Rodgers had an abundance of weapons in his arsenal, including Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, Jordy Nelson, and James Jones.

The following year, when the Packers finished 15-1, Jermichael Finley was healthy and Randall Cobb joined the team. A wide array of targets allowed Rodgers to spread the ball around, with Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, and Jermichael Finley being targeted 101, 96, and 93 times, respectively.

Oct 6, 2013; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb (18) and wide receiver Jordy Nelson (87) celebrate during the game against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field. Green Bay won 22-9. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Rodgers targeted Donald Driver 56 times and James Jones 55 times. Roddy White of the Atlanta Falcons was targeted 181 times that year, to put those numbers in perspective.

Now, the Packers’ receiving corps is an entirely different story. Greg Jennings left for the Minnesota Vikings in free agency, James Jones went to the Oakland Raiders, Donald Driver retired, and Jermichael Finley experienced a spinal cord injury that has kept him off the football field.

With so many players leaving Green Bay, people began to question whether or not the passing game in Green Bay would remain dominant. Sure, Aaron Rodgers is an elite quarterback, but a quarterback is only as good as his receivers.

Yet, those doubts quickly dissolved in the capabilities of Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. Combining for 18 touchdowns and 1,539 yards, the duo has filled any perceived gaps in the Packers’ offense.

Always finding their way to the ball, and making catches that many defenses find difficult to defend, these receivers have climbed their way to the top of the NFL. So, what makes these two so effective? Jordy  Nelson and Randall Cobb are extremely talented, but there are three reasons why they have found success with the Packers.

Reason One: Chemistry

Chemistry is an intangible quality that receives a lot of attention in the NFL. Highly analyzed and criticized, every NFL fan hopes that their team has this quality. In the case of the Green Bay Packers, chemistry is not a problem.

Both Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb have chemistry with their quarterback. Jordy Nelson is in his seventh season with Aaron Rodgers, and Randall Cobb is in his fourth. The unbelievable catches that these receivers make are proof of that chemistry.

Nelson, Cobb, and Rodgers are on the same page at all times. Rare are the moments of a dropped pass or a wrong route. Nelson and Cobb understand their quarterback’s thought process and the movements associated with that process.

They know what to do when he scrambles, sends them a nod, or looks in their direction. They make the adjustments, and that has made them incredibly successful.

Reason Two: Yards After the Catch

Both ranked in the top 20 for receiving yards after the catch, Nelson (325 yards) and Cobb (283) make the most of every play. Taking what Rodgers gives them, and then creating additional yards, the duo knows how to expand plays.

Yards after the catch are vital in keeping drives alive, and Nelson and Cobb have mastered this aspect of being a wide receiver. Being able to break tackles or avoid defenders gives Green Bay another snap on offense. The more opportunities for Aaron Rodgers, the better.

Putting the ball back in Rodgers’ hands by getting another first down gives the Packers’ a better shot at winning. Their ability to extend drives is another reason this tandem has excelled.

Reason Three: They’re Smart

These two are students of the game. They understand football, and they know how to run good routes. Nelson and Cobb recognize defensive schemes and they anticipate the movements of their defenders.

Being able to get open and escape their defenders allows Rodgers to move the ball downfield. Aaron Rodgers is a talented quarterback, but without these two running good routes, he would not be nearly as successful.

People do not often think about position intelligence when it comes to sports, but it is essential to a team’s success. Players have to be able to understand how the game works, how to play their position, and how outsmart their opponents. These receivers understand all of the above.

There are a lot of successful receivers in the NFL, but Nelson and Cobb remain at the top of that list. Their chemistry with Aaron Rodgers, ability to extend plays, and knowledge of the game make them nearly unstoppable.

Any doubts that the passing game would suffer after losing so many receivers have vanquished in Green Bay.

More from Dairyland Express