You might recall my post from last week, “Who the Hell Is Hundley Going to Throw To?”
We got our answer. Though he threw 40 times, only four players caught multiple passes from quarterback Brett Hundley.
Michael Clark: three of nine for 36 yards, 4 yards per attempt.
Lance Kendricks: four of nine for 36 yards, 4 y/a.
Randall Cobb: four of seven for 22 yards, 3.1 y/a.
Jordy Nelson: three of five for 11 yards, 2.2 y/a.
On the evening, Hundley went 17-of-40 for 130 yards, no TDs, and two interceptions. His passer rating was about as low as you can go, and the lowest Hundley has ever recorded: 30.2.
Hundley was bad, and got worse as the game went on, but much of that was due to frustration — he got no support from his receivers. I counted at least five drops and two other catchable balls. Even Jordy Nelson let an easy catch get away. Yes it was cold, but it didn’t seem to bother the Vikings’ receivers.
Heading into the season, I said that though the Packers had three capable starting receivers, the team had a great lack of depth. The last half of that opinion has been borne out, but I’m not so sure about the first part.
The Backup Receivers
Geronimo Allison has had his opportunities on the year: 21 catches in 36 targets for 238 yards, no TDs. Without his one 72-yard ramble, his tally would be meager indeed.
Allison has taken 268 snaps on the year, considerably more than the 183 snaps he got as a rookie. A year ago, he had almost as much yardage: 12 catches in 22 targets for 202 yards and two touchdowns. Allison’s productivity has gone down, not up.
Trevor Davis has caught two of four throws for 14 yards; last year he was three of seven for 24 yards. It’s pretty clear he doesn’t have the talent to be a starting NFL receiver.
With the injuries to two starters, Jeff Janis was allowed by coach Mike McCarthy to get his sole catch of the year.
Lanky Michael Clark finally got to play, and showed some potential, but also showed he played the game at the college level for just one year. He looks like at least a three-year project, time which the Packers don’t have.
Last year, the tight ends, Jared Cook, Richard Rodgers, and Justin Perillo, combined for 683 yards. With a game remaining, the traitor Martellus Bennett, Richard Rodgers, and Lance Kendricks have combined for 601 yards, but the one with the most yardage, 233, is long gone. Kendricks has 203 yards and Rodgers has a woeful 160 on the year. Green Bay is in truly sad shape at tight end – though it might not matter a lot, as Big Mike has proven he doesn’t know how to effectively utilize them anyway.
I concur with all those who think the Packers let a good prospect get away, when the San Francisco picked Max McCaffrey off the practice squad.
The Starting Wide Receivers
The three veteran starting receivers for the Packers seemed like a solid and reliable group going into this season, but it hasn’t turned out that way.
Jordy Nelson’s extremely down year has been well publicized. Whether he’s got anything left in the tank is a question Green Bay will have to grapple with in the offseason.
Davante Adams has improved in each of his four years in the league. Even so, he’s not what you’d call a dominant receiver. He’s more like the Lions’ eight-year vet Golden Tate, or the Seahawks’ seven-year man Doug Baldwin. In fact, going into the Vikings game (which Adams missed) Tate had 82 catches for 885 yards, Adams had 74 catches for 885 yards, and Baldwin had 67 catches for 866 yards. They were tied at 17th and 19th in receiving yards in the league.
Each player in the threesome is helped by having a taller and faster receiver to complement him: Marvin Jones, Jordy Nelson, and Paul Richardson. As for All-Pro or Pro Bowl honors, Tate was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2014, and Baldwin in 2016.
Randall Cobb is winding up his seventh year in the league. His annual yardage totals, from 2014 to now, say it all: 1,287, 829, 610, and 608. A downward spiral – and he’ll be 28 when the 2018 season gets underway.
Nelson’s and Cobb’s contracts are up after the 2018 season, while Adams will be up for renewal following this season – but that’s a matter for another time.
The Packers have had a top-notch quarterback and depended on a robust passing game for over 20 years now. But they face the prospect of not having a strong set of receivers on the field in 2018, and the backup situation is even more concerning. To continue to possess one of the league’s top passing attacks in 2018 and beyond seems to be in great jeopardy at the moment.