During training camp, Green Bay Packers receiver James Jones said the team could have three 1,000-yard receivers between himself, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb.
Jones could be wrong. The Packers might have four.
Through two games, Cobb has 236 yards, which would put him on pace for 1,888, Nelson has 196 yards, which would put him on pace for 1,568, and Jones has 178 yards, which would put him on pace for 1,424. Plus, Jermichael Finley has 121 receiving yards, which would put him on pace for 968.
“That’s a high bar. That’s a pretty high bar there. I think it’s possible,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. “We have some great weapons. We’ve been throwing it around a lot the first two games. It just depends on how teams are going to play us. Obviously, we’ve got to complement our passing game with our running game. We had a 100-yard rusher, which was exciting for everybody, and we need to have that balance. If you have that balance, you’re going to have the opportunity to spread it around a little bit. I told the guys, I reminded them, I’m going to go through my progressions and I’m going to throw to the open guy and the high-percentage throw. Some games it might be a few targets and some games it could be 15.”
Of course, things are bound to change. The man pulling the trigger, Rodgers, is on pace to throw for 6,504 yards. That’s more than 1,000 yards more than Drew Brees’ single-season record of 5,476 yards, set in 2011. Defenses will adjust, there will be bad days and the weather will get cold and windy.
Still, with less depth in the receiver corps, there should be more passes directed at the “Big Three” receivers and Finley.
“If we all have more opportunities like we’re getting this year, I think it’s possible,” Nelson sad. “It’s two games but you can see how quick it can happen. James went from no yards in Week 1 to 179 in Week 2. That’s how quick it can change week to week. It’ll be interesting how the year plays out.”
Packers injury report
Out: CB Casey Hayward (hamstring). Did not participate: CB Jarrett Bush (hamstring), TE Jermichael Finley (toe), FB John Kuhn (hamstring), RB Eddie Lacy (concussion). Limited: S Morgan Burnett (hamstring). Full: DE Johnny Jolly (neck).
Lacy is making “progress” in going through the NFL’s concussion protocol, McCarthy said.
“He looks good,” McCarthy added. “He’s in the meetings and that’s always a positive sign, but he’s got a couple more tests in front of him that he has to pass before he’ll be able to practice.”
Bengals injury report
Out: DE Robert Geathers (concussion; injured reserve). Did not participate: CB Brandon Ghee (concussion), CB Adam Jones (abdomen), CB Dre Kirkpatrick (hamstring), S Jeromy Miles (hamstring), G Mike Pollak (knee). Limited: OT Anthony Collins (knee), DE Carlos Dunlap (thigh), WR Marvin Jones (foot).
-- The Packers have not made any roster moves at running back, where only James Starks and Johnathan Franklin practiced due to injuries. Franklin, a fourth-round pick, hasn’t played a snap on offense in the first two games. “He had a good practice today. He had a big-time catch today down in the red area,” McCarthy said. “So, he probably will get some opportunities this week. In hindsight, I probably should have gotten him in the game on Sunday, but James was hot and I wanted to ride him and give him as many opportunities as possible. And frankly, if John Kuhn did get hurt, James probably would have had some more opportunities at the end of the game. But Johnathan Franklin is doing what he’s supposed to do and he’s getting ready to go.”
-- McCarthy and Cincinnati counterpart Marvin Lewis served on the same coaching staff at Pitt, with Lewis coaching linebackers and McCarthy being a graduate assistant on offense. The two remain close. “My first year as a head coach (with Green Bay in 2006) didn’t start very good and he was the one coach who called me,” McCarthy recalled. “And he asked, ‘Hey, how are you doing?’ and I said, ‘I’m hiding under the desk right now.’ And he said, ‘Well, get up and back in the chair and it will get better.’ You appreciate those things. He told me something that really held true, he said, ‘Trust me, it’s good that it started this way for you because the guys who are flying out the gate 3-, 4-0, have no idea what’s in front of them.’ He said, ‘Trust me, this will pay off the in the long run.’ And I’ve never forgotten that.”
-- For the second consecutive week, the Packers are playing teams coming off a Monday night performance. “We have an early bye and 13 straight,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. “I don’t know how many favors we’re getting here.”
-- Rodgers was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.