One of the annual arguments among the Packer faithful is the debate over whether or not the Green Bay Packers have given Aaron Rodgers enough weapons throughout his career.
Some believe Green Bay has done more than enough and that the Packers’ postseason downfalls were the defense’s fault. Yet others see what Patrick Mahomes has in Kansas City and what Tom Brady has in Tampa Bay and wonder why the league MVP can’t be spoiled in a similar fashion.
Let’s continue the dialogue by ranking the top five weapons Aaron Rodgers has had throughout his career.
5. James Jones
It has been abundantly clear during Rodgers’ time in Green Bay that wide receivers need to earn his trust before he consistently throws them the pigskin. There have been better receivers than James Jones with the Packers throughout No. 12’s career, but there may not have been someone Rodgers trusted more.
Jones never amazed with his speed or wowed with his open-field elusiveness. The guy just went out and consistently produced. It’s an insult to suggest he was merely a security blanket of sorts because he meant much more to the team, but Jones did always provide that reassuring presence.
He and Rodgers perfected their timing with the back-shoulder fade pass, and Jones flourished in his first stint with the Packers, which lasted seven seasons.
Keep in mind, Jones was part of a Super Bowl-winning team that featured other options like Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Donald Driver, and Jermichael Finley. Most quarterbacks would’ve given their non-throwing arm to have a core like that in 2010. Suggesting that isn’t enough is foolish.
4. Randall Cobb
Cobb was the dynamic wide receiver who could do it all. He and Rodgers become super close; one image that remains burned in the minds of Packers fans for eternity is the photo that captured them realizing they could be playing their final game together as teammates. It turned out to be the sad reality.
Cobb provided some of the best highlights of Rodgers’ prime, including his game-winning touchdown on fourth down in Week 17 in Chicago to clinch the division in 2013.
A fan favorite without a doubt, Cobb racked up 470 receptions for 5,524 yards and 41 touchdowns in eight seasons with Rodgers and the Packers. He was a part of many offenses that had ample weapons.
3. Greg Jennings
Packers fans aren’t going to like this submission in large part, but put the sourness aside and quit rolling your eyes.
Sure, Jennings’ post-football career has been filled largely by him slandering the good name of Aaron Rodgers while sounding like a jealous ex. However, it doesn’t discount the connection he and No. 12 had in Green Bay.
Jennings accumulated 425 receptions for 6,537 yards and 53 touchdowns in just seven seasons in Green Bay.
Jennings dealt a dagger to his old team when he left the Packers for the Vikings. His career was never the same, though. Jennings fizzled out in his last three years in the NFL, leading many to ponder whether he was a beneficiary of Rodgers and the system in Green Bay.
Either way, Jennings was the No. 1 option for Rodgers for many of his years with the Packers, and he and No. 12 were a constant vibe on the field.
There’s no doubt Jennings belongs on this list, so suck it up, Packers fans.
2. Jordy Nelson
Mr. Reliable comes in second on the list.
There may not have been a better duo in the NFL for a stretch of time than Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson.
You’d look at Nelson and quite honestly wouldn’t know what to expect. Then he’d glide by No. 1 cornerbacks down the near and far sideline and coast into the end zone Sunday after Sunday.
Jordy spent nine years in Green Bay, totaling a mammoth 69 touchdowns on 550 receptions and 7,848 yards.
James Jones and Rodgers perfected the back-shoulder fade, yet it was somehow even better than perfect for Nelson and Rodgers. The back-shoulder fade, the deep post routes, quick hitters — it didn’t matter. It all worked for Nelson and No. 12.
When Jordy Nelson decided to hang up the cleats, there was a belief by many that Rodgers wouldn’t have as much success with any other receiver in his career. And like many other players on this list with overlapping careers, Nelson was part of many offenses in Green Bay that were stocked with weapons at wide receiver.
Davante Adams takes the cake. Maybe others had a better connection with Rodgers, which seems highly debatable. But even if that were to be the case, Rodgers has played with no receiver better than Davante Adams.
Adams has a legitimate case to be labeled as the best wide receiver in the NFL right now. That wasn’t the case for the others in their prime. They may have come close to that title, but Adams has it.
The offense has been yearning for a true No. 2 wideout, yet it hasn’t mattered in the last couple of seasons because Adams’ production has been otherworldly.
The route running is top tier, the hands are incredible, and the confidence oozes.
Rodgers’ best weapon throughout his career has been Adams.
While some may be upset by the Donald Driver omission, remember that he retired in 2012 and spent most of his years with Brett Favre.
The narrative that Green Bay hasn’t given Rodgers enough talent to work with throughout his career seems far-fetched given this list. Could they have done more recently? Sure, absolutely. But this isn’t and has never been an empty cupboard.