I’m going to say that he’ll get close but won’t break 1500 yards this coming season. However, my reasons have nothing to do with the reconstruction of his knee.
Resurgence of the Bruising Packer Run Game
One of the primary reasons I think Jordy won’t break 1500 yards in 2016 is that I believe Eddie Lacy and James Starks will be back in form this coming season. Remember the fun we had watching the new Packer rookie Eddie Lacy trucking over defenders only to leave them lying on the ground wondering how anyone could stop the guy? Remember how he used to launch that big body sideways and get north and south again, lumbering down the open field. He never out ran people, but he ran fast enough to reel off 20 yards on a single run.
This season is going to be a fun one for Packer fans as, I believe, Lacy will once again become a dominant force in the NFC North. Of course, having a running game that can chew up that kind of yardage means there will be fewer yards for the receivers. I’m fine with that. And Jordy, because he’s a team-player kind of guy, is fine with that as well.
Randall Cobb Bounces Back
Randall had a down year last season. Mostly because he played hurt for the majority of the season. But I think, partly because, with Jordy gone, he felt a weight on his shoulders to take up the slack. I think this became especially true as the season wore on and more and more of the back up receivers kept letting the team down.
With Jordy back in the lineup drawing the attention he always garners, Randall will be back doing what he does best. Slashing the middle from the slot and running for daylight.
Cobb’s yardage went from 1287 in 2014 to just 829 in 2015. In a season where he became the number one, go-to guy, he actually backpedaled to the tune of 458 yards. I expect Randall to be back around the 1000 yard mark again this season.
The Battle for Third Receiver
We have a ton of talent at third receiver. While we were disappointed that one of these guys didn’t take advantage of his opportunity last season and stand out, they still are loaded with talent. They will be waging war for playing time and each of them knows they have to make the absolute most of each opportunity they’re given.
Aaron is insanely good at seeing the field and a wizard at spreading the ball around. If you let him down too many times you’ll lose his trust, but, as long as you do your job and make the catches you should make, he’s not afraid to share the fun with everyone.
Because teams in 2016 will have to go back to paying heavy attention to Nelson and Cobb, they’ll be forced to leave these talented receivers in one-on-one situations. I think our third receiver position is going to get a good portion of the targets, as teams do what they can to try to keep the ball out of Jordy’s and Randall’s hands.
Again, this means fewer yards for Jordy.
But, What If?….
There are some situations which, I think, would push Jordy over the 1500 yard mark.
If teams get lulled into the idea that Jordy will have lost a step and try to take him on one-on-one, the Rodgers to Nelson show will become a delightful comedy for Packer fans and a terrifying horror show for everyone who meets them. Jordy will collect ten yards here and 12 yards there on his way to 1500 yards and a whole lot of touchdowns.
Also, if defenders believe that Jordy has lost a step and think he can no longer beat them deep, he will prove them wrong and tear off 50, 60, and 70 yard touchdowns.
The reason I don’t expect either of these scenarios to present themselves is that I just don’t think teams would be foolish enough to take Nelson for granted. I would love to see them do it because watching games this season would be so much more fun. But, I think teams are going to go back to playing Jordy like they’ve always played Jordy, surgery or no surgery.
I’ve got Jordy racking up between 1200 and 1300 yards this season. How about you? Where do you think he’ll fall. Let me know in the poll below, and tell me why in the comments.