GREEN BAY - In the last two football games Jordy Nelson played — the fateful afternoon against the Pittsburgh Steelers last August and another exhibition game the week prior — his time on the field totaled 38 snaps.
In his last competitive game, which took place on Jan. 18, 2015, against Seattle, Nelson played 66 snaps, and for the year he averaged 53.7 per game.
The numbers are a reflection of Nelson’s endurance and durability. They indicate the type of player he was before tearing his ACL on Aug. 23, 2015.
The time that passed since his last game — 86 weeks; 602 days; 866,880 minutes — illustrates the unfamiliar rust he will need to overcome against Jacksonville on Saturday.
“We're not going to put a number on it,” Nelson said of his snap count. “We've discussed it. I think the situation of being in Jacksonville, we'll play it by snap-by-snap to be honest with you. There's a lot of things that could happen differently. But seeing how the possessions are taken, seeing what the weather is like, I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of guys are rotating to stay fresh.
“Going through camp and everything would have prepared me better. But that’s not the situation I’ve been put in. I was in the meetings, I was at practice, I ran routes, so I’m not — I don’t feel like I’m behind.”
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The production associated with the Nelson-Rodgers connection is due in part to Nelson’s ability to stay healthy. Nelson missed just four regular season games in the five-year stretch from 2010-14, and with the exception of 2012, when he battled hamstring problems, his statistical contributions rose each year.
With seven receivers on the roster — five of which are expected to play Sunday — coach Mike McCarthy has the luxury of easing Nelson back onto the field. The hot and muggy climate in Florida is likely to trigger more frequent substitutions anyway, and in that regard, the sticky opener might be beneficial.
The coaches may need to contain Nelson’s ambition after a year defined by patience, recovery and even more patience.
“I'm ready for anything,” Nelson said. “There’s so much that goes into a game, the flow of a game, how it works, the plays that get called, the routes I end up running. There's so much to it.
“If I end up for some reason getting three deep balls in a row, yeah I'm coming out. I'll come out at the end of the year on that, too. Things happen throughout a game that, you know, I could run a bunch of short routes all the way down the field and never have a problem. It's just going to be how the game flows.”