Now that you're done wiping the coffee off your keyboard after reading that headline, let's look at one of the strangest, yet true, facts of this preseason. When the Green Bay Packers roll into St. Louis on Saturday to take on the Rams in week two of the preseason, Rams quarterback Sam Bradford will have more weapons in his arsenal than that of Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers.
When these two teams wrapped up 2012, no one could have foreseen the roster changes that would take place over the next eight months. The Rams, though they lost their two leading pass catchers from 2012 in Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson, actually significantly upgraded the weapons around Sam Bradford.
Lest you think we've totally lost our minds, we're willing to cede that Aaron Rodgers is a superior quarterback to Sam Bradford at this stage of their careers. They've reversed roles though in the weapons they have around them. Let's take a look at the skill position comparisons:
Running Back: The Rams said goodbye to long-time workhorse Steven Jackson, not because they couldn't afford to keep him, but because they couldn't afford not to hand over the bulk of the carries to Daryl Richardson. Richardson averaged nearly five yards per tote last season in limited duty behind Jackson, and proved to be a very reliable receiver out of the backfield. Add Isaiah Pead and Zac Stacy behind Richardson, and the Rams have a talented stable of backs.
The Packers return only James Starks from last year's MASH unit in the backfield. Starks averaged only 3.6 yards per carry last season and isn't a very effective pass catcher. Green Bay hopes they have a budding star in former Alabama star, Eddie Lacy. Lacy didn't see any game action in the preseason opener, however, and is as of yet only potential.
Tight End: Jermichael Finley has been one of the more dangerous tight ends in the NFL over the past four seasons. The Rams new tight end, Jared Cook, has nearly matched Finley's output in yardage over the past two years, however. What Cook adds to the Rams offense can't be over-emphasized. He's got speed to burn linebackers and size to out-muscle safeties in coverage.
Wide Receiver: Here is where Green Bay would dominate the Rams, but that would only be true in Bernie Kosar's muddled mind. In place of the departed Amendola and Gibson, the Rams drafted Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey. Bradford spent his first off season working with Chris Givens and Austin Pettis, and the increased comfort level shows. Brian Quick is also looking like he might be finally catching up with the speed of the NFL.
The Packers, on the other hand, lost Greg Jennings to free agency, taking away Aaron Rodgers most dependable weapon. Jordy Nelson, who had a breakout season in 2012 when Jennings was injured, likely won't suit up in the preseason. Randall Cobb, Green Bay's own "do everything" receiver, may not play Saturday because he's already dinged up.
If you're keeping score, that's two-thirds of Aaron Rodgers' 2012 targets who won't be on the field Saturday. James Jones is a veteran, but he's likely to be the number one receiver this weekend, a role he's long since passed age-wise.
With this dearth of talent around him, Aaron Rodgers could be in for a long preseason…at least. And if the Packers decide not to risk Rodgers' health and limit his snaps Saturday, Vince Young, Graham Harrell and BJ Coleman back him up. Not exactly a group that will make Cortland Finnegan and company quake in their cleats.
The Packers didn't score last week against Arizona. Given their lack of offensive weapons, that's a distinct possibility again on Saturday.
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