Here the Green Bay Packers are, same as one year ago, with their receivers all banged up and possibly unable to play, and at the worst possible time.
Reading between the lines, my guess is that none of the trio of Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams, or Geronimo Allison will be at full strength against the Atlanta Falcons, and one or more might not even get on the field.
In case you don’t recall, against the Arizona Cardinals a year ago. the Packers’ starting receivers were James Jones, Randall Cobb and Jared Abbrederis – not the most formidable grouping. Cobb went down after just 15 snaps. The only receiver on the bench came in, and though getting only 55 percent of the game’s offensive snaps, Jeff Janis went for 145 yards and came down with the miraculous game-tying touchdown catch with no time on the clock.
Abbrederis, playing 72 of the game’s 73 offensive snaps, also had a good game: four catches for 55 yards.
So whatever became of Abbrederis? Well, he played for the Packers, but barely, in five games in 2016. On October 24 he was placed on injured reserve, then waived three days later upon reaching an injury settlement with the team. The injury reports included Abbrederis only once, as having a quadriceps injury – in other words a thigh bruise. So, Abbrederis did not have a serious or long-term injury. The injury settlement was a ruse.
Back when the Packers discarded Abbrederis, I deplored their lack of loyalty. I should also have criticized their lack of foresight and planning.
Why did the Packers choose to shove the popular third-year man out the door? Aaron Rodgers had praised him many times over a three-year span, which is more valuable than gold on this team. Why not at least preserve the team’s best route runner on the practice squad?
Ask Ted Thompson. No explanation has ever been given by the team.
I could, but I won’t, argue that Abbrederis was starter quality. But Abby had two-plus years to learn the team’s playbook and get in synch with his QB. He sure as hell would have made for a good reserve player.
At one time, Green Bay’s practice squad was crowded. However, as the season wore on, and injuries invariably mounted, there was ample room to bring Abbrederis back.
Could this have been done? When Green Bay waived Abbrederis, here’s what NBC Sports reported:
“If he clears waivers he’ll be a free agent and eligible to sign with any team when he’s healthy. He wouldn’t be able to re-sign with the Packers for six weeks.”
Okay, then by mid-December he could have been back with the team and had a month to prepare for Sunday’s game.
Prior to Saturday, the Packers had two receivers on the practice squad. Could you name them, and would you feel comfortable moving them up and possibly playing them on Sunday? Those guys were Max McCaffrey and Antwan Goodley.
I say were because McCaffrey got the call to the active roster on Saturday.
So, for two years in a row the Packers are critically short of healthy receivers for the year’s most critical game, and we doubt McCaffrey will be able to play much of a role.
I wish we had Abby. But that opportunity has passed: Abbrederis signed a reserve/future contract with the Detroit Lions on January 9.
Heckuva job, Ted.
P.S. For you conspiracy theorists, Jordy Nelson fractured his ribs on January 8. Could our disappointed division rival, the Lions, have picked Abbrederis off just to prevent the Packers from bringing him back as a replacement for Jordy?