Green Bay Packers

Someone Dared to Slander Donald Driver

Photo credit: Mark Hoffman (USA TODAY Sports)

It started with an innocent tweet.

Marcus Whitman, an NFL YouTuber out of Minnesota, was talking about Aaron Rodgers having a good receiving group on another team. He stated that this year’s Denver Broncos team might be enticing.

But then it happened. He tweeted the following about the 2011 Green Bay Packers’ receivers.

There is a lot to unpack here. Tim Patrick is James Jones? Jerry Jeudy is better than Jordy Nelson when he still has barely had a career? Jerry had three touchdowns and 856 yards his first year. He wasn’t expected to be the best receiver his rookie season, but you can’t say he’s better than prime Jordy Nelson.

Besides all of these assumptions without any evidence, the worst statement is about Donald Driver. He was washed?

First of All, How Dare You?

To say Driver was washed in 2011 is pretty insulting. It wasn’t even his last season as a Packer. He did have a quick follow-up on their PFF grades regarding the original tweet.

In 2011, Driver had 37 receptions for 445 yards and six touchdowns. At first glance, it’s not impressive. But he was technically the No. 5 receiver while also competing with Jermichael Finley for catches. Driver played for 14 seasons with the Packers, and he had over 1,000 yards receiving in seven of those. He had 61 touchdowns and almost 750 receptions. And this was a receiver who was washed?

If you want to compare Driver with the 2020 Denver Broncos, we can definitely do that. If Driver’s stats were transplanted to 2021, he would have been the No. 2 or No. 3 receiver on the team. K.J. Hamler had 30 receptions for 387 yards and three touchdowns. Noah Fant and Jerry Jeudy also had only three touchdowns. Tim Patrick had six touchdowns and 742 yards on 51 receptions.

Granted, the Broncos didn’t have Aaron Rodgers or Brett Favre playing quarterback last year. But you can’t claim a bunch of receivers are superior and that Driver is washed if his stats years ago — as a fifth receiver — were better than your top wideouts.

2011 Numbers and 2020 Numbers

Let’s compare Driver’s “washed” numbers to last year’s stats. If Driver’s 445 came last year, he would have more yards than Randall Cobb, Michael Thomas, Willie Snead, Sammy Watkins, and Larry Fitzgerald. Players who had six touchdowns in 2020 included Robert Woods, Allen Robinson, the previously mentioned Tim Patrick, DeAndre Hopkins, Brandin Cooks, and Jamison Crowder.

No. 80 would have been the WR3 on the 2020 Packers too. We can skip Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Robert Tonyan had 586 yards and 11 touchdowns as a tight end. Allen Lazard had 451 yards for only three touchdowns. Next up for highest yardage were both main running backs, Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams. Equanimeous St. Brown had 13 receptions for 117 yards and one touchdown.

Yes, Rodgers did spread the ball around quite a bit last season if you weren’t Adams or Tonyan. But Driver still would have been ranked in the top three in receiving stats. That’s not bad for a player who was called “washed” during the 2011 season.

Just a Harmless Tweet

In reality, it’s doubtful that Marcus meant to slander Driver. It’s common to over-exaggerate or twist words around in a tweet to make it more appealing. He did have plenty of follow-up tweets and a video explaining further. The tweet was in reference to a Broncos deep-dive. He also has a framed Aaron Rodgers jersey behind him in the video, so we can’t assume that he’s a dirty Vikings fan because he lives in Minnesota.

He also mentions in the video that he shouldn’t have said “washed.” He defends his position and analyzes the Broncos in-depth as well. If Rodgers ends up in Denver, will they be talented? Absolutely. But would they be better than any of the receiver groups he ever had in Green Bay? Very doubtful.

There’s an important lesson he learned: Never slander Packers legend Donald Driver.

Please enjoy this video of Driver first downs as a palate cleanser.

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