Packers 2016 Recap: WR Jordy Nelson
- 16 games played, 16 games started
- 97 receptions, 1257 yards, 14 touchdowns
- Pro Football Focus: 83.9/100 (14th out of 115 qualified receivers)
Expectations going into the season: High
Expectations were: Exceeded
Analysis: Jordy Nelson made it all the way back, if in a different way
A year removed from ACL surgery, it was fair to wonder what kind of performance the Packers would get from Jordy Nelson in 2016. Recovery timelines can vary widely, and many athletes don’t see a full recovery from serious knee surgery until almost two years after they go under the knife.
Still, the Packers needed Nelson at his best, lest the offense fall into the same sort of doldrums it languished in during the 2015 season. Thus, expectations were high for the 31-year old, balky knee or not.
Early on, it seemed that Nelson wouldn’t be the same player again. He lacked any sort of explosion, and though he was still getting catches, Nelson only averaged 12.51 yards per catch, more than two full yards under his career average.
But the week after Aaron Rodgers made his “run the table” comment, things started to click for Nelson. Over the last six weeks of the season, he averaged seven catches for 99 yards and a touchdown per game, upping his yards per catch to 13.5. The Packers moved Nelson all over their formations, turning him into something of a receiving Swiss army knife.
Unfortunately, Nelson didn’t have much of a chance to help the Packers’ offense in the playoffs. Early in their Wildcard bout with the Giants, cornerback Leon Hall slammed head first into Nelson’s side, sending the Packers receiver to the sideline with broken ribs. Nelson didn’t play against Dallas and gutted through a performance in Atlanta, clad in a Kevlar flak jacket to protect his ribs.
Battling through the injury provided a fitting end to Nelson’s season, one that ended with a comeback player of the year award.