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NFL: Nelson perfecting high-wire act for Packers

Packers receiver Jordy Nelson has developed a knack for making difficult catches, like this one against the Rams last season.
Packers receiver Jordy Nelson has developed a knack for making difficult catches, like this one against the Rams last season.

GREEN BAY, Wis. – Jordy Nelson is making navigating the sideline for catches look easy for the Packers.

Sometimes the receiver is on his tiptoes. Sometimes he has to twist around like a pretzel with a defensive back draped over him. Either way, he usually comes down with the ball.

Now it’s the Ravens’ turn to deal with Nelson’s tightrope act, and the rest of Green Bay’s talented receiving group when the Packers visit M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday.

“You’ve got to admit those aren’t made by every receiver across the league,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. “He’s a special receiver. I’m glad he’s on our team.”

Well, it’s not quite all on Nelson.

Randall Cobb made a nice one-handed grab during last week’s 22-9 win over the Lions, and also spiced up the offense in the second half with a 67-yard run to set up a Mason
Crosby field goal.

James Jones may not have one outstanding characteristic – like Cobb’s speed, or Nelson’s playmaking ability – but he just seems to do a lot of things well. Like that 83-yard touchdown reception last week that ended with a brief impromptu end zone shuffle.

Then there’s Nelson with his high-wire act on the sideline. He’s only getting better at it, receivers coach Edgar Bennett said.

“I think a big part goes toward his athleticism and his ability to make those type of plays,” Bennett said Thursday. “His focus, his concentration and all of that plays into it when you’re talking about a playmaker of his caliber.”

Together, Cobb, Nelson and Jones have 67 catches for 1,035 yards and seven touchdowns.

“When you look at Jordy, JJ and Randall, when you put them out there, you get something different from each and every guy,” Bennett said.

Then consider that Green Bay is also developing a running game. Eddie Lacy came a yard short last week of the Packers’ having a third straight 100-yard rusher, a feat Green Bay went nearly 3 years without until this season.

Still, the Packers have had trouble of late converting red zone drives into touchdowns.

Since converting all four attempts in the season opener against the 49ers, the Packers are 5-for-12 in red zone efficiency the past three games.

“We’re not going to change our approach, the way we train our red zone,” coach Mike McCarthy. “It’s been 4 weeks, it’s not quite where we want it to be, but we have confidence it’s going to get there.”

Having Crosby back on sure footing has helped. He was the NFC special teams player of the week this week after hitting five field goals against Detroit.

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