What Happens if Davante Adams and Jordy Nelson Can't Play?

For the record, I think there’s a pretty good chance that Davante Adams suits up for the Packers on Sunday. For the same record, I think there’s a pretty good chance that Jordy Nelson does not.

But still speaking on the record, it’s pretty amazing that Mike McCarthy will say things like this in his press conferences just a few days before the Packers take the field in Atlanta:

Now like I said, I think we can safely assume that Adams will play and Nelson won’t. Assuming further still that Geronimo Allison shakes off his hamstring injury, the Packers will have basically the same receiving corps in Atlanta that they had in Dallas, which turned out pretty well. But let’s take a look at what could happen if they don’t. What would the receiving corps look like then?

The original Packers/Falcons contest could serve as a bit of a blueprint for this discussion. Jordy Nelson was active that day, but Randall Cobb was not. As a result, a bulk of the receiving snaps fell to Jeff Janis, who played exactly as many snaps that day (58) as Davante Adams. Janis had the best regular season receiving day of his career that afternoon, pulling in four passes for 30 yards and his first regular season touchdown.

Trevor Davis also got his first extended playing time that afternoon, as did Geronimo Allison. Both responded well. Each was targeted with four passes; Davis caught three for 24 yards and a touchdown and Allison caught two for 21 yards and a touchdown.

Obviously, there’s a difference between a regular season game and the NFC Championship, but it should be proof positive that the Packers can have success with even unpolished wide receivers.

But let’s say that neither Adams and Nelson are both scratched and Allison is limited. That leaves just Randall Cobb, Davis, and Janis as the healthy wide receivers. What then?

It’s a bit of a ripple effect. Ty Montgomery probably heads back to wide receiver, or at least lines up there more than he has in recent weeks. Jared Cook probably would line up split wide more than as a traditional tight end, leaving Richard Rodgers to hold down the fort inside. That ultimately leaves the receiving corps of Cobb, Davis, Janis, Montgomery, Cook, and Rodgers.

It’s not ideal, but not the worst situation either, especially against Atlanta’s porous pass defense. Still, let’s hope at least Adams can be healthy for Sunday.