Having a one thousand yard receiver is uncommon and having two is rare, but having three…that is something that has occurred only five other times in history. Green Bay’s James Jones got people wondering about whether the Packers would be able to accomplish this feat with his off season comments this past February:
“I can see me, Jordy and Randall getting about 80 catches a piece. I can see us all having over 1,000 yards.”
Of the three, Randall Cobb was the only receiver that came close to the thousand yard mark last season, falling just 46 yards short while Jordy Nelson and James Jones each fell under 800. With Donald Driver retiring and Greg Jennings moving on to Minnesota, it makes sense that Jones would assume the remaining receivers’ numbers will increase because they will most likely each be targeted more. Jones acknowledged this when asked about Jennings and Driver:
“It’s exciting because it means more opportunities,” Jones said. “As long as we can stay healthy, it means more opportunities for me, Randall (Cobb) and Jordy (Nelson). When you lose playmakers like Donald and if Greg doesn’t sign back, that’s two less guys we gotta give the ball to which means you’re going to get a lot more action.”
Even though Jones is most likely right and each receiver will be seeing “more action,” 200 is still a hefty number of yards to improve over last season. Although these initial statements were made soon after the 2012 season ended, Jones reiterated his belief just this past week:
“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….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.”
Between the two of them, Driver and Jennings had a little over 400 yards last season, which leaves barely enough yards to spread out among the Jones, Nelson, and Cobb if their numbers stay roughly consistent…not a whole lot of breathing room. Three receivers over 1000 yards has never been done in Packers history although Green Bay has seen a pair of receivers accomplish the feat five times in the past.
For arguments sake, assume that the Packers will be able to get three WR’s over 1000 yards…what does that mean for their season? Well, really it doesn’t mean much of anything. When the Arizona Cardinals did it just five years ago, they went to the Super Bowl, but the 1989 Washington Redskins didn’t even make the playoffs and actually finished third in their division when they had a trio of 1000 yard WR’s.
So is it possible that Jones’ predictions come true? Yes, but then again anything is possible. If the Packers manage to do it, does it mean that they will do great things this season when it comes to the playoffs? No, but Packers fans (and all NFL fans really) will get to see something pretty special if it happens.