Greg Jennings to undergo surgery; can the Packers’ offense stay on track?
In four games without Greg Jennings in the Packers’ lineup this season, Aaron Rodgers has thrown for 1,134 yards and has 13 touchdowns to just two interceptions. So, the news that Jennings will have surgery next week for an abdominal tear is far from a death blow to Green Bay’s surging offense.
According to SI.com’s injury guru, Will Carroll, Jennings’ procedure will be to repair a sports hernia. The timetable on a surgery like that one is about a month, but “I would not count on him being 100 percent at that point,” Carroll said. “It will take him a couple weeks to get back up to speed, literally.”
This falls along a similar line as Charles Woodson’s collarbone injury, which will keep him out for upwards of a month — in name, it’s a huge loss; in reality, the Packers ought to be fine.
Of course, the loss of a player like Jennings makes it that much more imperative that everyone else stay healthy. So, in a lot of ways, Jordy Nelson’s troublesome hamstring (he was on the Packers’ injury report this week and looks like a game-time call for Week 8) is more of an issue for the Packers.
Green Bay is deep — maybe deeper than any team in the league — at the WR spot. Nelson has had a couple of clunkers this year (at Seattle and at Indianapolis), and he’s still 11th in the league in yards receiving and tied for fourth in TDs. Even the Packers’ depth has its limits, though.
Randall Cobb and James Jones have been Rodgers’ second and third options, respectively, with Jennings out. Cobb has 37 catches, Jones 29.
With each injury, that duo gets bumped further and further up the depth chart. Can Cobb or Jones handle the responsibilities of a No. 1 receiver, should the Packers have to play without Jennings and Nelson? Will Cobb’s versatile game be as effective if opposing defenses have less to worry about from Green Bay’s passing attack?
Another wild card in the mix is 37-year-old Donald Driver. He’s been active for all seven of Green Bay’s games but has just four catches this season. Given how frequently Green Bay spreads the field with three- and four-wide sets, Driver might be pressed into duty.
Same goes for unsigned free-agent rookie Jarrett Boykin, who might wind up on the active roster as a receiver Sunday.
Long story short, the Packers can make do — and have done just that — without Jennings on the field. Even if his absence is a very extended or season-ending one, Green Bay has the weapons to weather the storm. A lot of that statement, however, banks on Jordy Nelson staying on the field.