A couple weeks ago, the Raiders welcomed Jordy Nelson to the team. While we all talk about how he fits with the team and whether he is an upgrade over Michael Crabtree, the other side of it is there is a team and a fan base that lost him.
Nelson spent the past ten years in Green Bay, six years of which as Aaron Rodgers’s favorite target, so watching him leave is tough for the diehard Packers fan base that watched him all these years. From Their Super Bowl run in 2010 in which he caught two touchdown passes i the playoffs (one in the Super Bowl). To putting up over 1500 yards in 2014.
Here to give us the rundown of Nelson from the perspective of someone who has followed him through it all is Evan “Tex” Western from SB Nation Packers blog, Acme Packing Company.
Watching the Green Bay Packers release Jordy Nelson was painful for the entire Packers fan base. It’s tough when the team parts ways with a player who is not only one of the great players in franchise history, but also one who was universally beloved by fans and teammates alike for the last decade.
Nelson entered the league as a second-round pick out of Kansas State and made some special teams contributions in his first few years, but he really burst onto the scene down the stretch in his third year, the 2010 season. He was particularly explosive in the playoff run, and made his biggest mark in Super Bowl XLV with nine catches for 140 yards and a touchdown. That was an omen for his unbelievable 2011 season, when he (and the Packers’ offense in its entirety) were unstoppable. He averaged 18.6 yards per catch and scored 15 touchdowns, a career-high, helping Aaron Rodgers win his first MVP award.
In the following seasons, Nelson became Rodgers’ favorite target and enjoyed an almost ESP-like connection with his quarterback. Nobody was more deadly in the red zone or on back-shoulder fades than Nelson when Rodgers was the one throwing him the football. However, a torn ACL on the turf at Heinz Field in the 2015 preseason cost him that entire year and his overall effectiveness.
Prior to that injury. Nelson had averaged 15.3 yards per reception, with an average over 15 every year between 2011 and 2014. Since his return, he averaged just 13 YPR in 2016 and a miserable 9.1 in 2017 (which was largely spent without Rodgers). The numbers without Rodgers are truly astounding, as he recorded just three catches for 21 yards per game after week six, which was the game when Rodgers broke his collarbone.
Off the field, Nelson has been a fan favorite for his humility and his charitable work. He took over a charity softball game from Donald Driver when the latter retired, and has helped it become one of the premier events of the offseason for the franchise.
Unfortunately, Nelson’s lateral agility and breakaway speed seem to be sapped after returning from his torn ACL. He isn’t the physical mismatch that he used to be, and as such he is probably best suited to playing a possession role on back-shoulder throws and as a bigger slot receiver. He’s still capable of contributing, but as a complementary piece rather than a featured weapon.
Thanks again, Tex. We here at Silver & Black Pride know the feeling of losing team favorites. And the community is hoping you’re wrong about your last paragraph.