Behind Enemy Lines-End of an Era in Green Bay?

Jan 23, 2011; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears cornerback Tim Jennings (26) breaks up a pass intended for Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver (80) during the third quarter of the 2011 NFC championship game at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-US PRESSWIRE

When the Green Bay Packers open training camp at the end of this month there will be a huge battle for the #3 WR position.  The Packers that will be battling for the position are Donald Driver, Randall Cobb, and James Jones.  Driver has been in Green Bay since 1999, and father time has seemed to caught up to the 35 year old receiver, so it will be interesting if he gets the #3 receiver spot, a roster spot, or pink slip.

Driver has had the privilege to get to play in one of the best passing offenses in the past decade, that also has been one of  the most stable.  Driver has only ever had 3 different quarterbacks pass him the ball,  future Hall of Famer Brett Favre, Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers, and ” most wanted free agent qb” Matt Flynn.  That’s pretty incredible after 14 years in the NFL. If Driver had been drafted by the Bears, on the other hand, he would have all these names throw him the ball during the same career- Shane Matthews, Cade McNown, Jim Miller, Chris Chandler, Henry Burris, Kordell Stewart Jonathan Quinn, Craig Krenzel, Chad Hutchinson, Rex Grossman, Kyle Orton, Jay Cutler, Caleb Hanie, and Josh McCown.

Driver’s career numbers are very impressive 735 receptions 10,060 yards 59 touchdowns.  Driver has had seven 1,000 yard seasons and seven seasons of 70 receptions or more.  He ranks first all time in Packers history in games, receptions, and yards as a receiver.  His time with the team though could come to an end in training camp.  James Jones has the talent to be as high as the #2 receiver except for his hands of stone as he ranked #2 in dropped pass % last year.  The other option for #3 WR  is 2nd year man Randall Cobb.

Cobb seems to be the choice that the coaching staff will be pulling for in training camp.  He has the speed to be a good slot guy like Victor Cruz was for the NY Giants last season.  Cobb had the sensational kickoff return on opening night last season against the New Orleans Saints. Cobb will be afforded every opportunity to seize the position in training camp.

Driver wants to end his career as a Packer, so he will need to prove to the staff he still has the ability although his stats state they are in decline.  The Packers are very strong at receiver with Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson as their top two receivers.  It must be a nice problem for Coach McCarthy to have to choose between so much talent to take the field at one position.  This will be the first season that the Bears will honestly be able to say, without the Martz propoganda machine in prior years,  they have as much talent  in comparison to the Packers at the wide receiver  position.  For a team that is considered nationally as a lock for the NFC North title, the Packers  have a lot of battles at many positions come training camp.

My prediction is that Driver makes the roster but not the #3 WR spot to start the season.  He will be counted on for his veteran leadership, and to be able to fill in if an injury does occur to the wide receiving core.  If he doesn’t make the team he still will be able to dance off the stage right into retirement as a life long Packer.

It was Bearly worth mentioning, but they are our rivals!!

DA BEARS!!!

 

Topics: Chicago Bears, Donald Driver, Green Bay Packers, James Jones, Jay Cutler, Randall Cobb

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  • apackphan

    Keith, this is a topic very much worthy of mention. However, in Green Bay the decision to move ahead with Randall Cobb or even Borel or Gurley ahead of Driver has already been made. Don’t get me wrong, every Packers fan LOVES Donald Driver. He has become as much the face of the franchise as Aaron Rodgers. However, you’re right in saying he has gone past his prime and will retire after one more season (hopefully with another Super Bowl ring). He has given much to the franchise and the fans, but it’s time to move on. He will play a strong role in the locker room and in mentoring and will get his chances on the field … he is after all one of the best clutch receivers on the team. He will contribute in 2012 as he did in 2011. I predict he will catch between 25 and 40 passes next year, but they will be in big spots. Who knows, maybe he even catches a couple of TDs against the Bears. But thanks for the mention on your site. Yes, we are rivals, but I like that you show the respect of the Packers that I do for the Bears. 2012 should be an awesome year for both teams. Looking forward to the fun.