Bay Packers' Jordy Nelson catches a pass in front of Detroit
Lions' Glover Quin during the first half of an NFL football
game Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013, in Green Bay, Wis.
GREEN BAY —
Jordy Nelson is making navigating the sideline for catches look
easy for the Packers.
receiver is on his tiptoes. Sometimes he has to twist around like
a pretzel with a defensive back draped over him. Either way, he
usually comes down with the ball.
Now it's the
Ravens' turn to deal with Nelson's tightrope act and the rest of
Green Bay's talented receiving group when the Packers visit
M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday.
to admit those aren't made by every receiver across the
league," quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. "He's a special
receiver. I'm glad he's on our team, and I'm glad he makes me and
our team look good all the time."
Well, it's not
quite all on Nelson. Someone has to throw, and Rodgers has a knack
of getting receivers the ball at the right time.
And there's other
concerns for an opposing coach. Randall Cobb made a nice
one-handed grab during last week's 22-9 win over the Lions, and
also spiced up the offense in the second half with a 67-yard run
to set up a Mason Crosby field goal.
Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson in action against the
Washington Redskins during an NFL football game Sunday,
Sept. 15, 2013, in Green Bay, Wis.
James Jones may
not have one outstanding characteristic — like Cobb's speed, or
Nelson's playmaking ability — but he just seems to do a lot of
things well. Like that 83-yard touchdown reception last week that
ended with a brief impromptu end zone shuffle.
Nelson with his high-wire act on the sideline. He's only getting
better at it, receivers coach Edgar Bennett said.
It's in part due
to certain drills. "But I also think a big part goes toward
his athleticism and his ability to make those type plays,"
Bennett said Thursday. "His focus, his concentration and all
of that plays into it when you're talking about a playmaker of his
Nelson and Jones have 67 catches for 1,035 yards and seven
touchdowns through four games.
look at Jordy, JJ and Randall, when you put them out there, you
get something different from each and every guy," Bennett
defensive standpoint, they probably look at it in a similar way,
as well as far as strengths and weaknesses and we're certainly
always trying to improve."
Throw in tight
end Jermichael Finley (17 catches, 153 yards, 2TDs) and the
ability he's shown to fight his way for extra yards, and the
Packers can give any secondary fits.
that Green Bay is also developing a running game. Eddie Lacy came
a yard short last week of the Packers' having a third straight
100-yard rusher, a feat considering the Packers went nearly three
years without one until this season.
And yet, with all
those options, the Packers have had trouble of late converting red
zone drives into touchdowns. The offense hasn't looked as sharp,
at least compared to what Green Bay fans are used to seeing.
Bay Packers' James Jones is congratulated by Jordy Nelson
(87) after Jones caught an 83-yard touchdown pass during the
second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit
Lions Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013, in Green Bay, Wis.
all four attempts in the season opener against the 49ers, the
Packers are 5 of 12 in red zone efficiency the past three games.
Certainly not ideal, though there doesn't seem to be panic either.
Green Bay is tied
for 13th in the NFL in scoring touchdowns from inside the 20,
converting at a 56 percent clip.
going to change our approach, the way we train our red zone,"
coach Mike McCarthy said this week. "It's been four weeks,
it's not quite where we want it to be, but we have confidence it's
going to get there."
back on sure footing has helped. He was the NFC special teams
player of the week this week after hitting five field goals
Garth Gerhart is back on the Packers practice squad after being
re-signed Thursday. A first-year player out of Arizona State,
Gerhart was with Green Bay until the final cuts of the preseason.
The Packers are down a lineman with backup G-C Greg Van Roten out
with a foot injury. To make room, the team cut WR Reggie Dunn
after a 10-day stay on the Green Bay practice squad. ... Backup LB
Andy Mulumba did not practice for a second straight day with an
ankle injury. The Packers will already be without starting LBs
Clay Matthews (thumb) and Brad Jones (hamstring) for the Ravens