Aaron Rodgers got the gang back together at practice for the Green Bay Packers.
Receiver Randall Cobb is playing through some pain, but his sprained right shoulder is well enough that he returned to practice on Wednesday. James Jones is wearing green and gold again after re-signing with the Packers earlier this week.
Just in time for the season opener on Sunday against the NFC North rival Chicago Bears.
"Stability I think is the biggest thing," the NFL MVP said about Jones' return. "James has done it in a game for years, he's done it in practice many times as well. That's how the continuity starts with the quarterback."
Rodgers might as well have been talking about Cobb, too.
The return of Jones gives Rodgers another veteran target to accompany Cobb in the receiving corps following the season-ending right knee injury to Jordy Nelson in the preseason. With 383 career receptions in eight seasons, Jones becomes the most tenured veteran in an otherwise young position group. Cobb, who is entering his fifth season, has 227 career catches.
After Cobb and Jones, the next most experienced receiver on the roster was Davante Adams, who had 38 catches in his promising rookie campaign in 2014.
Rodgers doesn't think it will take long to re-establish a rapport with Jones.
"I think it might take a little bit to get back with the terminology, the route running and stuff," Rodgers said. "Completed a lot of passes to him, a lot of touchdowns, so I feel good about him being out there."
The initial depth chart listed Cobb and Adams as the starters, with rookie Ty Montgomery backing Cobb and Jones behind Adams. The Packers often go with three-receiver sets.
Cobb was a limited participant in practice on Wednesday. The receiver said he worked through some team drills where he was able to get contact on the shoulder that he hurt during the preseason loss on Aug. 29 to Philadelphia.
Cobb missed practice last week — no use playing in the last preseason game while hurt. Now with the real season here, Cobb is testing out different ways to add extra protection for the shoulder.
"I'm going to do my best to fall a certain way and fall the right way. But I can't help if a guy lands on top of me. I'm going to do everything I can to protect myself," Cobb said.
He doesn't know how the long pain might linger. But he is determined to play.
"I'm going to have moments, I'm sure," Cobb said. "But I'll push through it and I'll find a way."
Cobb's injury is another reason why the return of Jones was crucial for the Packers. If Cobb needs to sit out a series or two, the Packers don't have to rely solely on Adams, Montgomery or another second-year player, Jeff Janis at receiver.
When Cobb is on the field, the experienced Jones can assist Adams in making defenses at least think twice about doubling Cobb or rolling coverage in Cobb's direction.
"We have to get into the game and continue to work and try to get this thing on the right page," Jones said of his rapport with Rodgers. "For the first day, it was really good."