Author Andy Benoit liked it when the Packers brought a wide receiver out of the backfield on short passes. I actually wish the Packers would do that more with RB Eddie Lacy instead of WR Randall Cobb, though Cobb has better hands. There's always the potential for a big play when Lacy has the ball in the open field and he hasn't been nearly productive enough this season in Nelson's absence.The Packers have problems. What's ailing Aaron Rodgers and the offense, and how it can be fixed. By @Andy_Benoit https://t.co/t2geFndZ5J— The MMQB (@theMMQB) November 2, 2015
When I initially looked at how the Packers could replace Nelson, I focused on the Packers getting more receivers involved in 2015. That hasn't happened but here's who can step up.
WR Davante Adams. He's missed most of the season with ankle injuries but finally returned against Denver. Unfortunately he did next to nothing in the Broncos game but it was only his first game back. He's got to get better as the season goes on.
WR Ty Montgomery. He's been sparingly used and plays an almost identical role to Cobb but he's also been the 2nd best WR of those who have had fewer than 32 targets this season. An ankle injury kept him out against Denver and he'll be welcomed back.
TE Justin Perillo. Perillo is the preferred No. 2 TE at the moment. The answer might be more receivers out in the formation with fewer blockers, and Perillo could become that forgotten TE in two-TE sets that can take advantage of a linebacker in coverage.
RB Eddie Lacy. He too has been battling an ankle injury but looked like his old self in the Denver game. Hopefully he can finish the season strong.
But maybe nothing will help as much as avoiding negative plays and converting on a higher rate of 3rd downs. Their 3rd down conversion percentage has been slowly sinking all season long, and it bottomed out at 25% against the Broncos. Remember that early drive when Lacy carried it twice from on 2nd and 3rd and short when they didn't pick up the 1st down? They can't afford any negative rushing plays at the moment and have to find plays that work on 3rd and short.
As much as the knee injury to Nelson has been the big story of the season on offense, a lesser story is the trifecta of ankle injuries (Adams, Montgomery, Lacy) that has taken away the three players who combined could replace Nelson's production. It's next man up time for one (or more) of these players to make the offense better for the rest of the season.