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Wide Receivers Move On Without Driver

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Wide Receivers Move On Without Driver

Losing Ryan Grant and Jermichael Finley has been debilitating to the Green Bay Packers offense this season. But the loss of Donald Driver this week is just ... different.

Driver has already been ruled out for Sunday's game against the one-win Dallas Cowboys at Lambeau Field. And the Packers' other starting wide receiver, Greg Jennings, knows something is going to be askew.

"Number one, you can't replace that guy, I'm sorry," said fellow wide receiver Greg Jennings. "With all the numbers he's put up in his career and what he's mean to this team, you can't replace a guy like that."

The franchise's all-time leader in receptions with 675, Driver has always made his presence felt. And even though wide receiver is one of the deeper positions on the team, Driver will still be missed.

Driver may not have been setting the NFL on fire this season even when he's been healthy, but that's beside the point. He's been a constant, almost calming presence because he's always been there week in, week out throughout the course of his 12-year career.

"It will be a different feel," said Jennings. "Just the fact that, he's always been there. Every time you look to your left or your right, you see No. 80. With him being gone, that's huge obviously."

Despite being limited the past two weeks by a quad injury that snapped his streak of consecutive games with at least one reception at 133 games (139 including playoffs), Driver is still the second-leading receiver for the Packers this season in receptions with 28 for 307 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Missing Sunday's game is also delaying Driver's chase to become the franchise's all-time leader in receiving yards. He's currently second on the list with 9,357 yards. James Lofton, who's calling Sunday's game for the Westwood One national radio broadcast, is No. 1 with 9,656 yards.

So with all these records, all these accolades, where do the Packers turn now without the steadying influence of Driver?

"You account for the fact that you have guys that are able to step up and fill the void," said Jennings, "and that's what we have with our Jordy Nelsons and James Joneses and Brett Swains."

When pressed, Jennings also included himself as part of the equation and said he'll do everything in his will to hold up his end of the bargain.

For Jordy Nelson, specifically, the loss of the Driver will have further-reaching consequences. Not only will he have a more prominent role on offense, but he could be pulling double-duty on kick returns with Pat Lee out for Sunday as well.

But it's starting to become old-hat for the Packers receivers, who've already had to overcome the loss of Finley and have seen passes spread around in his absence. According to Nelson, they've all been trying to take it up and extra notch with all the injuries.

"I think we've been thinking that for a while, ever since Jermichael went down, even when Ryan, R.G. went down," said Nelson. "It's just a continued thing this year with the Packers is people having to step up. So obviously we know we're going to get more plays. We experienced that last week. He played some but was out early. It's just I think we'll be comfortable out there, we just got to go play our game."

Unlike the injuries to Finley and Grant, however, Driver won't be out for the entire season. It's only another week in which the Packers won't have his services.

By sitting out this week and then having the bye next week, Driver is getting and extra week of rest such that he can contribute to the stretch run of the season.

"When Donald Driver misses practice, that’s a concern because he hasn’t missed practice," said head coach Mike McCarthy. "And now that he is going to miss games, that obviously tells you the significance of his injury. Talking to Donald, he thinks he’ll be ready to go for Minnesota, so that’s what we’re shooting for."

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (11) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

hyperRevue's picture

I'd say the Packers have already been without Driver's services for 2 weeks now. Two games the Packers have won, keep in mind.

I don't see this as a big deal. Let him rest and get ready for the home stretch. Jennings, Nelson, Jones and Swain should be more than enough to take out the Cowboys.

Tarynfor 12's picture

DD was #1 WR for the Pack
DD was the leader of the Pack
DD will retire a Packer
DD did dictate coverage
DD will be the All-Time Rec Yds WR

The season began with the high hopes(not me) that DDs knees(quads,legs) were rejuvenated and ready to reclaim what was felt to be lost to him.But the time for DD to be downgraded to #3 or $4 has come unless the Packers and fans fail to move from what was to what can be in another vital position on this team.

We have an untapped talent in Nelson that we waste on KRs,a guy named Swain who may just be rotting away by keeping stagnite and we have JJ(don't hit me) who is a big punk playing ahead(scratching mine) of both.

I'm sure the usual retorts are coming in DDs defense and against using Swain more due to inexperience,blah,blah,blah.

The fact is our offense is sour and it isn't just the run game putting that taste there.Why not shake some things up this week and see what we got sitting and stop hoping for certain players to recapture or show what they aren't anymore or can ever be.

Before many of you start my burning at the stake please allow me to remind all that I have said I'm a TEAM fan not a PLAYER fan and look for whats best for the team in my opinion,and DD is not whats best for this team anymore,at least not at the level many are still grasping for.

CSS's picture

He has no history of a quadriceps injury, it has nothing to do with having his knee's scoped in the offseason. Random injury to his quadriceps is random, no pattern associated with it.

When he comes back, he's still the clear number 2. His body of work, despite the missed snaps, is still better than Nelson or Jones. I believe Rodgers still trusts Driver far more than he trusts Jones, maybe even Nelson.

Driver is still critical to the stretch run and still the clear #2 unless Jones or Nelson can show some level of consistancy now that they have the opportunity.

To sum up: Rumors of Drivers demise are greatly exaggerated.....

Tarynfor 12's picture

Never said a history of quad,leg or knee,just mentioning when learned of the knee scopes and how some responed.However,still a leg injury.

Age, in time hits everybody,and I'm not saying DD is useless to us,but holding him to what he was is denying other talent to arrive.We need DD for sure,just used differently IMO.

Graffin's picture

So you're saying if DD is healthy we should only put him in on 4 or 5 wide formations because Jordy and Swain aren't getting enough snaps? Wow. Guy gets the first significant injury in years (ever?) and that's it? Toss em to the curb? I understand your'e a fan of TEAM, but part of that is rooting for the players. If he comes back after the bye and lays an egg in 2 games I'll be there with ya. But come on, have a little faith in our franchises reception leader.

corey jenkins's picture

I'd say it's more than different, it's been crushing to Rodgers. Driver hasn't been Driver for a large portion of the season, dating back to at least a month ago. Even if he's been in uniform, which he obviously shouldn't have been the past two weeks, his services have more than limited. And yes, we won those two games, but it had nothing to do with the offense.

What is baffling me is how people keep shrugging this off as 'no big deal..' Give me a freakin' break. Take away Rodgers go to man, a 1,000 yard receiver for the past decade, and that's no big deal? And everyone is sitting around twittling their thumbs asking,, "geez, what's up with Rodgers..." HELLO??? Take away 3,000 yards of production from last year in Finley, Driver, and Grant, and you don't think he might struggle a bit?

And stop it about, 'well, they're still deep at WR.." no, they're not. They have Jennings and a two guys who are supposed to be #4 and #5 who are trying to be #2 and #3 but obviously aren't. And no TE. Good luck.

Not trying to make excuses for MM and AR, but to shrug off the loss of Driver (and to pretend they're losing him just now when they actually lost him a month ago) is just a shame. No, it's not as big of deal as losing JF, but when it's stacked like it is then it is just as big a deal. No, it's not the end of the world and they'll figure it out soon, but lets look at if for what it is.

Glorious80s's picture

Reality is the O has to step it up like the D has. It's unwise to become too dependent on one person, so perhaps the replacements will bring out unexpected talent and opportunities. AR has to adjust his game, the coaching staff have to adjust theirs and teach, teach, teach.

bomdad's picture

Its time for second round picks to play like they are second round picks.

I need a snack.

Tarynfor 12's picture

Agreed,but first give him second rd(#2WR) play time then critize the play.

"The door for the future can only open as fast as you close the door on the past".

I read that or something close to that concerning Oline positioning,here at CHTV.But it holds true for every position and the player in it.

corey jenkins's picture

BTW, and perhaps I wasn't clear, I'm not saying I don't think Driver doesn't have it anymore, I know he does-- strictly speaking in terms of the injury. If he's healthy he's a big weapon. I think Rodgers is good enough to battle through this, and to be fair, he's had his faults, but I can't help but blame him for struggling right now.

corey jenkins's picture

not blame him (I'm done now, promise)

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