The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Vikings News

January 3, 2013

Packers excited to have fab four wide receivers back

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"You can go to any one of them and get a big play, so it makes it more difficult for defenses to defend," Green Bay offensive coordinator Tom Clements said. "If (opponents) only have one guy or two guys that they have to defend against, they can structure their defenses and set it up in certain ways to take those guys away. But if you have four out there, and sometimes even five, it makes it more difficult.

"So if it's more difficult for them, it's advantageous for us."

But injuries have kept the Packers (11-5) from making full use of that advantage. The Big Four have played less than three full games together this year, and you have to go all the way back to the Sept. 24 game in Seattle for when they were last all at full strength. (Yes, they were all available for the Dec. 2 game against the Vikings, but Nelson was gone after the second series with a hamstring injury.)

Jennings was hurt in the season opener, and wound up missing eight of the first 11 games with a torn muscle in his abdomen. Nelson was out for four games with a hamstring injury. And Cobb, who's also been Green Bay's primary kick returner, was sidelined last week with a sprained ankle.

Only Jones made it through the entire season unscathed.

"It's been a while," Nelson agreed. "Hopefully we can go out and perform well, make a lot of plays and play a few games together. That's what you want. You want to be at full strength going into the playoffs, and I think we're as healthy as we can be."

To get an idea just how potent the Packers could be, look at their last three games, when only one of the Big Four was on the sidelines. Rodgers has thrown for 998 yards and 10 touchdowns. Cobb, Jones and Jennings have had 100-yard games, and each game has had three receivers with five or more catches. Green Bay has put up 110 points, including hanging a season-high 55 on Tennessee.

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