After Nelson and Cobb, a toss-up at receiver for Packers

August 31, 2016

                   

In this Monday, June 6, 2016 file photo, Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb (18) and wide receiver Davante Adams (17) participate in drills during an NFL football practice in Green Bay, Wis. Itís a toss-up at receiver for the Green Bay Packers after Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. Itís a toss-up at receiver for the Green Bay Packers after Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. After Nelson and Cobb, the Packers have lots of options. Jared Abbrederis and Davante Adams are both entering their third seasons, while Ty Montgomery is going into his second year.

GREEN BAY ó After Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, it's a toss-up at receiver for the Green Bay Packers.

The Packers' final preseason game on Thursday against the Kansas City Chiefs could help sort out the pecking order to catch passes this fall from two-time MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

"The good news is we have another preseason game to give guys an opportunity to go out there and do it the right way and make plays and make the most of their opportunity," offensive coordinator Edger Bennett said. "That competition is extremely high right now in that room."

There is little need for the Packers to risk playing their stars against the Chiefs, even with Nelson coming back from a knee injury. Rodgers isn't expected to play, either.

Nelson returned to practice last week. He took part in 11-on-11 drills on Tuesday, at one point breaking off cornerback Robertson Daniel at the goal line to catch a back-shoulder throw from Rodgers for a touchdown.

               

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Trevor Davis misses a pass from quarterback Joe Callahan as San Francisco 49ers strong safety Jaquiski Tartt, left, and defensive back Jimmie Ward, right, defend during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Friday, Aug. 26, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif.

It looked like a vintage Rodgers-to-Nelson play.

"The key for him I think will be to continue to get in shape. Because the thing you always love about Jordy is when he's feeling good, he doesn't come out many plays," Rodgers said Tuesday.

In his most recent full season in 2014, Nelson would regularly go 75 snaps, which is a lot considering that the Packers like to speed up the tempo on offense.

"It's just going to be him getting into football shape, and really all of us get into a groove together. But I mean he's looked great," Rodgers said.

So has Cobb, who powered his way into the zone for a touchdown catch from Rodgers last week against San Francisco.

After Nelson and Cobb, the Packers have lots of options.

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams misses a pass from quarterback Joe Callahan as San Francisco 49ers cornerback Keith Reaser (27) defends during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Friday, Aug. 26, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif.

Jared Abbrederis and Davante Adams are both entering their third seasons, while Ty Montgomery is going into his second year. Each receiver has had impressive moments, especially Adams, who started 23 games over the previous two seasons.

But Abbrederis, Adams and Montgomery have each their own bouts with injuries that have limited production and snaps.

It seems they've had a healthy competition in training camp. It's not about counting catches in practice, or whether one receiver has made more big plays than the others, Adams said.

"No, that's not how I approach any practice. It's not about getting ahead of this guy or that guy. It's about continuing to be consistent," Adams said. "Because I feel like if I'm consistent, then that's what the coaches will go off of and my teammates."

Adams has the most experience. He started opposite Cobb in the third preseason against the 49ers with Nelson held out.

Montgomery might have the most flexibility, with a skill set comparable to Cobb, who can line up all over the field.

"I don't know if that predicts anything as far as where I'm going to end up," Montgomery said, "but I do think my skill set helps me on the field."

Abbrederis has impressed Rodgers with his route-running and attention to detail. They were Abbrederis' strengths going back to his days as a former walk-on at Wisconsin.

Now if he can stay healthy, Abbrederis might play a bigger role in an offense looking to get past a subpar 2015 season.

"He works every single day, and he's always kind of in my hip pocket, or Jordy's or Randall's hip pocket, asking good questions and he's had a great camp," Rodgers said. "I'm really proud of him."

NOTES: WR Jeff Janis did not wear a protective wrap around his broken right hand, but was limited to non-contact drills. "Yeah. If I'm doing any kind of contact or something like that, they want me to wear it," Janis said. He is a speedster best known for catching a desperation pass from Rodgers for a touchdown in last year's playoff loss to Arizona. But that momentum hasn't carried over to training camp. Still, Janis' job may be safe because he is one of the Packers' best players on special teams. ... In getting to the 75-man roster limit on Tuesday, the Packers released WR Harvey Binford. They also placed the following players on injured reserve: TE Kennard Backman, RB John Crockett, C Jacob Flores, TE Mitchell Henry and G Josh Walker. ... The Packers have a new punter after claiming Jacob Schum off waivers from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and releasing veteran Tim Masthay.


Players cleared by NFL in PEDs investigation

NFL stars James Harrison, Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers can start the regular season without having the specter of a league investigation over whether they used performance-enhancing drugs hanging over their heads.

The NFL cleared all three players on Wednesday, saying there was "no credible evidence" the players were guilty of any of the claims made in a documentary by Al-Jazeera America in January.

An NFL statement said "the investigation involved witness interviews, a review of relevant records and other materials, electronic research, and laboratory analysis and review."

The league threatened Harrison, Matthews, Peppers and free agent Mike Neal with indefinite suspensions if they did not meet with investigators.

All of them were mentioned in an Al-Jazeera television interview with Charlie Sly, who worked as an intern at an anti-aging clinic.

In the December report, Sly made claims of PED use by several athletes, including Harrison, Peyton Manning and the three others, but later recanted his claims.

NFLPA attorney Heather McPhee sent a letter to the NFL earlier this month of accusing it of trying to "bully and publicly shame" Harrison without offering evidence beyond a brief mention in the Al-Jazeera interview.

McPhee's letter said Harrison would meet with the NFL at 5 p.m. Aug. 30 at the team's facility, and would only discuss the portion of the Al-Jazeera interview that mentioned the 14-year veteran.

The five-time Pro Bowl linebacker initially insisted NFL commissioner Roger Goodell come to Harrison's house to conduct the interview in person, though he later backed off.

"When it comes down to it I want to play," Harrison said before a nearly hour-long meeting last week. "But it's certain rules and things that they need to go through that they didn't even go through just to even start an investigation. So, like I said before I don't have a problem with doing an interview. Come to my house. Bring Roger with you."

Harrison eventually had the meeting before the NFL's deadline as did Matthews and Peppers.

Packers claim punter Jacob Schum from Bucs, boot Masthay

GREEN BAY ó The Green Bay Packers have a new punter after claiming Jacob Schum off waivers from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and releasing veteran Tim Masthay.

General manager Ted Thompson made the move on Tuesday, two days after Tampa released Schum. The second-year player averaged 41.9 yards per punt last season for the Bucs, playing in all 16 games.

His first appearance for the Packers will likely come in Thursday night's preseason finale against the Kansas City Chiefs.

The release of Masthay came a day after he had seemingly won the punting job when the Packers released Green Bay native Peter Mortell. Masthay played in 96 regular-season games for Green Bay since 2010, averaging 44.2 yards on 390 punts.


Bills acquire linebacker McCray in trade with Packers

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. ó The Buffalo Bills have acquired linebacker Lerentee McCray in trade with the Green Bay Packers.

In exchange, the Bills gave up an undisclosed pick in the 2018 draft. The trade was completed Tuesday, a few hours before Buffalo was required to cut 15 players to meet the NFL's 75-player roster limit.

At 6-foot-3 and 249 pounds, McCray spent his first two seasons with Denver before signing with Green Bay this past offseason. He was used mostly on special teams in 24 games with the Broncos.

The Bills have lacked depth at outside linebacker. Rookie first-round pick Shaq Lawson had shoulder surgery in May and will miss at least the first month of the season. Backup IK Enempkali sustained a season-ending knee injury two weeks ago.

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Associated Press