“It’s two games, but you can see how quick it can happen. James (Jones) went from no yards in Week 1 to 179 in Week 2,” said Jordy Nelson when asked about the possibility of himself and Randall Cobb each finishing the year with 1,000 yards receiving.
On Sunday you’re going to see two of the best receivers in the NFL.
Growing up on a farm in the plains of Kansas, Jordy Nelson probably never thought he would be compared to the likes of A.J. Green.
But when it’s time for kickoff Sunday afternoon, those two will represent the best at the position in what has become a passing renaissance in the new-look NFL.
However, the interesting aspect is that they’ve done it in different ways.
Nelson is 15th in the league with 196 receiving yards, yet of all the receivers in the top 15, he has the least amount of targets with 14. The reason Nelson has been able to dazzle defenses is because of the amazing supporting cast. He plays alongside fellow wideout Randall Cobb who has been targeted eight more times and is third in the NFL with 236 yards. And let’s not forget about tight end Jermichael Finley, who has found a way to curb his past and put all of his energy into his God-given talents, which has him on the fast track for an All-Pro season.
Oh, and you’re probably wondering about James Jones. Well, he merely led the NFL in touchdown grabs last year with 14. He’s got 12 targets this season, which is surprising considering he had zero after Week 1.
Green, on the other hand has been blessed with height, speed, catching ability and just enough power to be a problem. Put all those things together and he is a horror film for any defensive back.
Green is looking for his third straight 1,000-yard season on a team that doesn’t have another pass catcher that’s even as close to as reliable as the above guys are to Nelson.
But what Green has is that he will always be the Bengals’ alpha dog. Green doesn’t have to worry about where the ball is going on 3rd-and-7 with the game on the line. Andy Dalton will keep his eyes glued to his two-time Pro Bowler before being forced to pass it anywhere else.
It’s a little different in Green Bay where Aaron Rodgers, the Packers’ alpha dog, treats the pigskin like a timeshare vacation. You put in the time and effort and you celebrate the rewards of getting open.
Obviously comparing Dalton and Rodgers is a failing exercise. One cannot win a playoff game, looks overmatched when forced to throw in traffic and hasn’t really showcased a lot of arm strength. While the other plays the quarterback position with all the smarts like he’s trying to disarm a bomb, in addition to having great escapability and an amazing arm.
But the reason I like Nelson is because of the intangible stuff. He isn’t afraid to hustle downfield, drop his pads and make a block to give the ballcarrier another five yards and a first down. Green cannot be concerned with too much of that because if he gets hurt, Cincinnati’s entire passing game gets derailed.
Many people were surprised when Greg Jennings left Green Bay. The Packers had arguably a more dynamic receiver all along, they just didn’t unleash him until this season.
And now that Jennings is gone, Nelson, Cobb and Jones have not dropped a pass yet this year. That’s pretty amazing considering that defenses have been trying to stop the pass the last two weeks and because the wideouts as a whole dropped 21 passes last year.
Green may be the best overall wideout in the NFL soon, heck he may be the best overall wideout in the NFL this season. But he isn’t going to reach his true potential until another receiver can take some pressure off of him. Last year, Green had 70 more targets than Cincinnati’s next-best receiver and this year he’s already got 15 more targets than second place.
Nelson also proves his value even more with three touchdowns and no fumbles in the postseason during his five-year career.
Green may give you a few more ESPN highlights and he might even help you win a few fantasy games, but Nelson is the better receiver if you want to win in the NFL.——————
Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn