Nelson leads NFL in catches, yards at quarter pole

Ryan Wood
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Jordy Nelson has stated his case over and over. No, he's not playing this season with the offseason in mind. There are no thoughts of justifying the $39 million contract he signed in July.

Green Bay Packers receiver Jordy Nelson (87) makes a touchdown catch against Kyle Fuller (23) of the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field September 28, 2014.  Jim Matthews/Press-Gazette Media/@jmatthe79

The Green Bay Packers receiver is proving plenty anyway.

At the season's quarter pole, Nelson leads the NFL with 33 catches and 459 yards. His three touchdowns are tied for 10th. Yes, it's early. Nelson's 209-yard performance two weeks ago against the New York Jets certainly helped pad his numbers.

But, each week, the Packers go-to receiver has lived up to that billing. The consistency has been impressive. In three of Nelson's four games, he's caught at least nine passes and 80 yards.

It's been the best September of Nelson's career. Could that be taken even further?

"I don't know, to be honest with you. Yeah, I wouldn't be able to remember four-game stretches," Nelson said. "But, no, it's been a good start. Wish we had a few more wins. That's obviously the important thing."

Nelson is reaching a point where it's not advisable for defenses to cover him with one, lonely cornerback.

Last week, the Detroit Lions had success rolling their coverage over to Nelson, using a safety over the top and – at times – a linebacker underneath. They held Nelson to his season low.

The Chicago Bears followed a different approach Sunday. They constantly dropped a safety into the box to shore up the run support, leaving one-on-one matchups on the perimeter. Nelson made them pay dearly. His 10 catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns continued a sizzling start.

Nelson said he was surprised the Bears defense never adjusted.

"It did a little bit that they didn't make any adjustments, but that's what they do," Nelson said. "They're probably sticking with what they know best, what they're doing. We have no control over that. We're just going to do what we need to do."

Gradually, the gripes over how many passes Nelson receives have diminished. Keep this production up, and it doesn't matter that Nelson also leads the NFL with 49 targets.

Now, the criticism centers on the Packers running game. Even after dropping 38 points on the Bears at Soldier Field – the highest point total with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback – Eddie Lacy's measly 48 rushing yards were a topic of conversation.

Nelson said he's not worried.

"Chicago brought an extra guy down in the box all the time, so there's no reason to beat our head against the wall and try to run it when we have matchups outside, and that's what the numbers give you," Nelson said. "So, until a defense goes back to the Tampa 2 stuff we've seen in the past, we'll continue to just adjust what they're doing and be sound in what we're doing. That's all you can do."

-- and follow him on Twitter @ByRyanWood

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