GREEN BAY, Wis. — No one on the Green Bay Packers’ roster misses Aaron Rodgers more than Jordy Nelson — at least according to the stat sheet.
Nelson, the Packers 10th-year wide receiver and Rodgers’ go-to guy for much of his career, has seen his numbers drop off significantly since the two-time NFL MVP quarterback suffered a fractured right collarbone at Minnesota on Oct. 15. Backup quarterback Brett Hundley took over and has started the past four games — three of which the Packers have lost — and is set to start Sunday night’s game at Pittsburgh as well.
Before Rodgers’ injury, Nelson had caught 20 passes for 240 yards and a league-high six touchdowns from his longtime teammate and close friend —- and those numbers include the team’s Week 2 loss at Atlanta, where Nelson played only seven offensive snaps and did not have a reception before exiting the game with a quadriceps injury.
Nelson caught five passes from Hundley for 50 yards against the Vikings after Rodgers left the game, but in Hundley’s four starts, Nelson has just 10 receptions for 92 yards. He also hasn’t caught a touchdown pass since Rodgers went down.
“You want to be a part of it more, but you have no control over it,” Nelson said Tuesday. “I don’t want to sit here and say (Hundley) needs to throw me the ball because that’s definitely not the case. I’m going to do my job, they’re doing to do theirs. If we continue to do that and be more consistent in everyone doing that, we’ll be successful.”
With six games left, Nelson has caught 35 passes for 382 yards – putting him on pace for 56 receptions for 611 yards, both of which would be his lowest numbers since 2012, when he caught 49 passes for 745 yards and seven touchdowns while missing four games and parts of two others with hamstring injuries.
Nelson said the one thing he does not want to do is make Hundley feel obligated to throw him the ball more. Hundley has more readily connected with Davante Adams, who had eight catches for 126 yards in last week’s loss to Baltimore and leads the Packers in receptions (50) and receiving yards (620) this season.
“Brett feeling comfortable with Davante and being able to hit a couple big plays for him (is obvious),” Nelson said. “You see that, and I think you see that with any quarterback in connection with the receiver. If you’re able to make some big plays for him, you feel more and more comfortable with it.
“It’s just sometimes the way it goes as a receiver. The quarterback feels comfortable with certain guys or whatever it is. I’m not saying he doesn’t feel comfortable with me, but that’s the way the games play out sometimes. I’m not worried about it. I don’t want him to feel like he needs to try to get me the ball or anything. He just needs to continue doing what he’s doing.”
Rookie running back Aaron Jones apologized Tuesday after news broke that he is facing three charges and possible NFL discipline after an arrest Oct. 1 during a traffic stop. According to Wisconsin Circuit Court records, Jones has been charged with operating a vehicle with a controlled substance in his system, speeding (24 mph over the posted speed limit of 55) and operating a vehicle without a valid license. Jones’ arrest occurred a week before his breakout game at Dallas on Oct. 8, and he entered a plea of not guilty on Nov. 15.
In his first public comments since the arrest came to light, Jones made a brief statement before asking that questions be limited only to football. Jones suffered a left knee injury Nov. 12 at Chicago and has been sidelined since.
“I owe an apology to my family, teammates, coaches, the fans and the Packers organization,” Jones said. “I made a mistake, and I take full responsibility for it. And it won’t happen again.”
Jones, who leads the Packers in rushing (70 carries, 370 yards, three touchdowns) is expected to miss several more weeks with his knee injury, but he vowed to return this season.
“Definitely,” Jones said.