On Sunday, August 23, 2015, I grabbed my snacks, an adult beverage (drink responsibly), my notebook, and the tv remote. It was time to settle in for some Green Bay Packers Preseason Football! Don’t look at me like that. Yes, I get excited for preseason football. Besides the fact I suffer from football withdrawals for the 7 months there isn’t any, I love watching the evolution of a roster. Who is going win position battles, whose game has improved, the fight to make an NFL roster. This is the beginning of a journey and it is part of the deep love I have for this game. (Back to the event) This wasn’t the third preseason game that gets treated like a regular season game, it was only the second. So I knew the first team offense wasn’t going to be in the game long. It was appointment television to see the first team offense and I wasn’t going to miss a minute. Good match-up too. Packers versus the Steelers. It brings back memories of the nail biting 31-25 win in Super Bowl 45. (Have to stop and smell the roses here and there.) I had to calm myself down and remember this was the preseason. This wasn’t going to be the 2009, 37-36 thriller we’d seen between these two. (Still miffed about that loss.) This was about getting some work in and team building. I sit back on my couch on this sunny summer Sunday, crack open my adult beverage, flip open my notebook, and take in the first team offense’s work. My hope was the first team could move the ball more effectively than they did in the previous preseason game versus the Patriots. The first teamers started off moving slowly. Comes to be expected in preseason action. Then we get a little movement down the field. Eddie Lacy isn’t getting much room to run, but he’s making the most of it. Rodgers is looking sharp. Routes are being ran pretty crisply for preseason action. Then comes THE route. A simple square in route ran by Jordy Nelson. This is pitch and catch for Nelson and Rodgers. Nelson catches it and turns up the field to make a big gain. Except there was no gain, only loss. Nelson crumpled to the turf shortly after making the reception… and so did my stomach.
When Nelson went down, I immediately knew it was bad. You never hope for injury of any kind, to anyone. In this case I was hoping for a sprain or a strain. Something that could be healed in weeks instead of the dreaded OFS. (Out for season) Nelson walked off the field under his own power. Then again to the locker room. I don’t even remember what happened on the remainder of the drive. All I cared about was Nelson’s status. I began to scour Twitter for updates on his status. Then I found the news no one wanted to hear. Nelson had sustained a “significant” knee injury. My heart had now joined my stomach on the turf. Now you all know I take pride in being a student of the game. Learning, working, and growing to bring forth the best possible thoughts. That is what you all deserve. This particular day though, I let total fandom take over. In an effort to put my stomach and heart back where they belong, and to quiet my mind as well as other Packers fans’ minds, I said this wouldn’t affect us. McCarthy’s offensive mind, the best QB in the world, a bruising back named Eddie Lacy, and the shifty Randall Cobb, would keep last season’s number one ranked offense going. I said this out loud. My mouth let it fly, my brain constantly screamed “you fool!” I knew good and damn well this was going to affect the Packers and did it ever. It’s something I call “The Jordy Effect.”
Space- Space isn’t just the final frontier, it is also coveted in the world in football. Quarterbacks need passing lanes, running backs need running lanes, and receivers need operating space. Receivers must be able to create that space, but often times this space is as a direct result of your teammate’s actions. Nothing opens up the field for other receivers like a vertical threat. Jordy Nelson IS that vertical threat. With Nelson gone, the Packers became, dare I say, predictable. (Play calling had something to do with this as well. *cough* Tom Clements *cough*) Defenses weren’t scared of this passing game after a while. Despite their 6-0 start to the season, space was a problem. You signed James Jones who’s on the wrong side of 30 (Yes he played decent, but there’s a reason Ted Thompson didn’t re-sign him the first time and this time.), Randall Cobb is dynamic and can make a quick route a huge gain, but he isn’t a vertical threat. Davnte Adams… (Let’s move on). Then you have Jeff Janis, Jared Abbrederis, and Ty Montgomery. All unproven and young with barely any real experience. None of these guys were striking fear in the hearts of defense’s secondaries. DBs were able to sit on routes in the passing game and load the box in the running game, making life hell for the Packers’ offense. Jordy Effect.
Trust- Not to be cliché but, trust is important. It is the foundation on which great relationships are built. Once that
trust is fractured, the relationship crumbles and ultimately collapses. Now, I’m not saying Aaron Rodgers didn’t have trust in any one of his remaining receivers, but you would be telling me a bold faced lie by saying Rodgers had as must trust in his remaining receivers as he did Nelson. There is only so long you can fake it until teams start catching on. Yes the team got off to a 6-0 start, but they really got figured out in the second half of the Kansas City Chiefs game. Since that point, the offense went into a struggle that remained for the rest of the season.Trying to build trust on the fly in the NFL is always a struggle. Go check the tape if you don’t believe me. Guys being forced into positions they don’t normally play and trying to be successful is a monumental task. The Packers went 10-6 last season, working on the fly. The defense was the saving grace of this squad. They were the reason this squad was able to hang around in games with a chance to win them. A role reversal for this team because it was always the offense that was waiting for the defense to hold up their end of the bargain. The trust on this team had shifted. Jordy Effect.
You all know I am a firm believer that the tape don’t lie. (And yes I know the Offensive Line injuries contributed some.) Still, I have people on Twitter arguing with me that Nelson’s absence isn’t to blame for this. Those people are the type to steal Jobu’s Rum, get hit in the head with a baseball bat, and claim that had nothing to do with it. The tape don’t lie. The Jordy Effect is very real and it was felt negatively last season. This season (with good health) the Jordy Effect will be felt positively with explosive results. If you don’t believe me, go check the tape at season’s end. It never lies, and neither will I again. (hopefully)