That question is almost impossible to answer. What is certain is they dominated like no wide receiver tandem in NFL history last season.
With Nelson’s 98 receptions for 1,519 yards and 13 touchdowns and Cobb’s 91 receptions for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns, they became the first receiver duo in NFL history to each record 90-plus receptions for 1,200-plus yards and 12-plus touchdowns.
“I mean, that’s up for you all to decide,” Cobb said after re-signing with the Packers in March. “I don’t think me or Jordy, either one of us, really care who you consider No. 1. We know we’re going to go play. We know we’re going to do the best we can. We’re going to help put this team in the best position we can. Regardless of who’s catching balls, who’s scoring touchdowns, we’re all about winning.”
With James Jones departing in free agency and only sporadic contributions at tight end due to Jermichael Finley’s career-ending neck injury, Nelson and Cobb had to carry the load. Among wide receiver tandems, they finished second in receptions, second in yards and first in touchdowns. Of the top 13 wide receiver pairs in terms of percentage of their teams’ total passing-game production, Cobb and Nelson finished second in receptions, second in yards and second in touchdowns. (See chart at the end of this story.)
“I think there’s always competition,” Nelson said on Wednesday. “We’re not like counting numbers or anything, like catches and yards or anything, but we’re always going to compete, always pick each other’s brains. We’re two completely different receivers, but we both will play inside, both will play outside, and you both can try to steal things from each other. I think we have a great relationship, a great friendship. I’m super-excited to have him back. That was my biggest worry this offseason, was what was going to happen there. Getting him back is huge for our offense.”
With a four-year, $39 million extension signed at the start of training camp last year, Nelson is signed through 2018. Cobb will stay in Green Bay through 2018, as well, with a four-year deal worth $40 million. Not only are both big-time players, but they were voted playoff captains by their teammates.
“I think the relationship Randall and Jordy have, both personal and professional, on the field, off the field, is part of their success,” coach Mike McCarthy said on Wednesday. “They complement each other in the fact that they’re two totally different players (and) how they're utilized. Their expertise of the offense — you see Jordy out there helping the younger players, staying involved throughout the whole offseason (while recovering from hip surgery). And Randall, he’s been excellent (with) his ability to multitask and play multiple positions and so forth. They’re excellent leaders. They definitely feed off each other, compete, push each other and that’s how it’s been for a couple of years.”
Rodgers spoke for about 2 minutes when asked about Nelson and Cobb. He mentioned Nelson’s size and athleticism, as well as Cobb’s versatility and attention to detail.
Something else stood out about this dynamic duo.
“Those guys both are very selfless guys,” Rodgers said. “They block for each other. If you look at the highlights from this last season, a lot of the plays you see them peeling back for blocks for each other or for Eddie (Lacy) or for James (Starks) or Richard (Rodgers) or Andrew (Quarless). That's what it takes to be a successful player in this league — a well-rounded, all-around receiver — and those guys exemplify what it means to be a Packer and I'm proud to play with them.”
Dynamic WR Duos
The chart shows production from the 13 most productive wide receiver duos in terms of total receptions, plus the percentage of receptions, yards and touchdown receptions in relation to team passing totals.
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.