KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Chiefs pass defense has its hands full against Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers at Lambeau Field on Monday Night Football.
While dealing with Rodgers is bad enough, cornerbacks Marcus Peters, Phillip Gaines and Jamell Fleming must account for wide receivers Randall Cobb, Davante Adams and James Jones.
But the Chiefs catch a break and won’t have to worry about facing one of the NFL’s most-feared receiving threats.
Former Kansas State wide receiver Jordy Nelson is out for the season after suffering a torn ACL in the second preseason game, and his loss is felt throughout the Green Bay organization.
“It was tough,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Thursday during a media conference call. “The whole sideline, I think when everybody realized what happened, it definitely affected our football team. I think we had a bit of a hangover going into the following week against the Eagles here in the preseason.”
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers agreed during his media conference call, adding defenses have adjusted to Nelson’s absence.
“We’re 2-0, but it’s tough to replace a guy like that, who does so many different things,” Rodgers said. “We’re seeing some different type of defenses because he’s out. Teams obviously paid pretty high attention to where 87 was at all times.”
The 6-3, 215-pound Nelson comes off a season where he posted career highs in receptions (98) and yards receiving (1,519) to go along with 13 touchdowns, the latter marking his second-highest total since he entered the NFL in 2008.
The former K-State Wildcat earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl in 2014, and he and Rodgers have a rapport typically found between an elite quarterback and his top target.
“He’s a fantastic teammate, a great locker room guy, a great leader for us,” Rodgers said. “His play on the field has spoken for itself over the last few years. It’s tough to not have him around.”
Nelson means more to the Packers than just his presence on the field, and he’s doing his part to remain involved by rehabilitating in Green Bay.
McCarthy indicated Nelson is working hard and the recovery is going well, and Nelson’s leadership shines throughout.
“He’s here every day, all day, he goes to all the meetings,” McCarthy said. “He still part of our leadership group here.”
That Nelson remains involved doesn’t surprise Rodgers, who spoke in glowing terms of his injured teammate.
“It’s a testament to Jordy because it’s tough,” Rodgers said. “I was on injured reserve in 2006 for the last five games and it’s a tough feeling.
“You feel a little disconnected from the team because you’re not suiting up every week. You’re not always around in the meetings and conversations, but he’s been here. He’s been visible to guys. Like I said, he’s a great teammate. That’s what you’d want from a team leader like that.”