Green Bay Packers receiver [intlink id=”76″ type=”category”]Donald Driver[/intlink] has made a career out of proving people wrong, but you have to wonder how much longer that can go on.
Driver is coming off, statistically, his worst season since 2003 and his worst since he became a starter.
The 35-year-old caught 51 passes for 565 yards in 2010 and even though he pulled off “the old man’s still got it” play, very much looked like an afterthought in the Packers offense.
Both [intlink id=”22″ type=”category”]Jordy Nelson[/intlink] and [intlink id=”204″ type=”category”]James Jones[/intlink] recorded more yards (582 and 679, respectively) than Driver and Nelson had a break-out game in the Super Bowl, catching nine balls for 140 yards and a touchdown.
Although Jones is likely to depart in free agency, it seems time for Nelson, who’s entering his fourth NFL season, to push for the starting spot opposite [intlink id=”138″ type=”category”]Greg Jennings[/intlink], if not take it from Driver outright.
That isn’t happening in the next two years if you ask Donald Driver, though.
“I know I can play at a high level,” said Driver. “I’m going back to have fun. I have two years left on my contract; I want to play those two years out – as a starter.”
“I think I’ve earned that respect to be the starter,” said Driver. “I earned my spot as a starter.”
Driver did earn his spot, but just because he holds most of the Packers receiving records and is close to breaking the yardage record, doesn’t mean he gets to keep his starting spot as long as he wants.
There’s no doubt the guy can still play football, but he’s at the tail end of his career and very few receivers have put up big numbers after 35 — something we’ve detailed before.
Meanwhile, Nelson is entering his prime.
No one expects the Packers to hand Nelson a starting role, but the team would be foolish not to make a change if the youngster outplays the vet. That could happen this season.
Even if Nelson doesn’t become a starter, he will be on the field just as much and take away opportunities from Driver.
We’re not ready to count the old man out, but Driver will have to be on top of his game and employ his me-against-the-world attitude to keep his starting spot in 2011.