The Green Bay Packers played without their top two wide receivers when they defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars last Sunday, as Greg Jennings remains out with a groin injury and Jordy Nelson missed the game with a hamstring issue. While Nelson will be held out of practice until Friday at the earliest, could the Packers choose to sit him for the second straight game?
As much as it may sound strange, it would make sense.
Nelson has stepped up to take over as the No. 1 wide receiver with the Packers with Jennings missing a substantial amount of game time. It took him a few weeks, but the last two contests that Nelson played, he more than delivered for Green Bay.
But a hamstring – like a groin – can be a tricky injury. Just when a player feels he is ready to return, it can flare up again. The Packers are 5-3, which is second in the NFC North behind the 6-1 Chicago Bears. Every game is big at this point of the season for Green Bay, as they cannot afford to drop any games in which they are expected to win.
One of those games will take place on Sunday. The Packers are home for their second consecutive contest against the Cardinals. After watching what Alex Smith of the San Francisco 49ers did to the cardinals on the road on Monday Night Football, Green Bay has to almost figure that they should defeat Arizona with or without Nelson.
No offense to Smith or the 49ers offense, but they are not Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. It can be argued that even without Jennings and Nelson, Green Bay has better offensive weapons in the passing game than San Francisco.
Green Bay knows how hard it is to win on a steady and consistent basis without their No. 1 wide receiver in Jennings. They are starting to get used to what life may be like next season without him in the field.
But having to go forward with Jennings and Nelson is a far more daunting task. Green Bay must be overly cautious when it comes to Nelson. While some say that Nelson was very close to suiting up last week against the Jaguars, the fact that he does not appear to be getting any better makes me seriously question just how accurate that report was coming out of Green Bay.
The Packers face the Cardinals this Sunday, but they have a bye the following week. If they truly believe that Nelson is close, he could suit up this week. But if he is not close to 100 percent, it would make sense to sit him for one more game and give him the entire bye week to rest.
They will need him to be healthy when they take on the Detroit Lions and New York Giants the following two games after their bye.
Jennings tried to return too quickly with a lingering injury that he thought he was over. The Packers cannot afford for Nelson to attempt the same thing.