Jordy Nelson has caught 400 passes for 6,109 yards and 49 touchdowns during his career. The vast majority of that production, including 45 of the touchdowns, has come with Aaron Rodgers throwing the football.
Nelson was the team’s first draft pick in 2008, the same year Rodgers became the Green Bay Packers’ starting quarterback. The two are incredibly close, with an unspoken bond on the field formed through more than 500 passes thrown together in the games and countless thousands more from offseason practices in May and June, training camps in August and in-season reps from September into January.
So, Rodgers has no doubt that the six remaining practices before the season-opening game at Jacksonville on Sept. 11 will be enough to get this dynamic duo back in a groove. One pass to Nelson, a stop route along the left sideline for a completion against ace cornerback Sam Shields on Tuesday, was all Rodgers needed for affirmation.
“Yeah, it is,” Rodgers said after Tuesday’s practice, the second of Nelson’s training camp. “Like you said, we’ve got a thousand reps together. I threw a ball to him today. He did a one-on-one drill against Sam and I quipped to (quarterbacks coach) Alex (Van Pelt), I said, ‘I could throw that ball with my eyes closed’ because I know exactly where he’s going to be. That’s the beauty of us playing together for a long time.”
Nelson didn’t take any 11-on-11 reps but he did take three snaps during a one-on-one drill early in practice. While Nelson mostly jogged his way through Monday’s practice, these reps were of a much greater intensity. On the first play, Rodgers fired a bullet to Nelson, who was streaking up the seam. The second was the aforementioned stop route, with Nelson starting to go up the sideline, then stopping and getting the pass with perfect timing. The third, also against Shields, came on a crossing route.
“It’s good having him around,” Rodgers said. “He’s a great leader for us. It’s good to see him in pads, warming up the other night. But we’re just taking it one day at a time.”
Looking ahead, it appears that Rodgers and Nelson will go into the regular season without taking any preseason snaps. Rodgers said he would not play in the preseason finale next Thursday at Kansas City, with the starters running the scout team to get the other players ready for that game.
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.