On Tuesday, Green Bay Packers wide receiver James Jones went on NFL AM on the NFL Network on Tuesday to talk about the Packers' offense, and specifically the roles of the wide receivers remaining on the team. A portion of Jones' interview can be seen over at NFL.com, where he discusses the passing game without Donald Driver and Greg Jennings involved.
Jones made several interesting comments in this interview, including saying that he feels that the Packers need Jermichael Finley back if Greg Jennings does not re-sign. He expressed the same feeling that most of us have - namely that Finley can be one of the best tight ends in the game when he's functioning properly and has his confidence up.
Jones also expressed confidence in himself to make the next step to become a true number one receiver, a step which would be a drastic one for the veteran receiver. He also mentioned the great playmaking abilities of Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson, but emphasized the need to continue restocking depth on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.
But the most intriguing comment may have been one not shown in the video clip, but was instead quoted in the article:
I think a 100-catch receiver is gone out of our offense just because Aaron (Rodgers) spreads the ball around so much...I can see me, Jordy and Randall getting about 80 catches a piece. I can see us all having over 1,000 yards.
That's an awfully lofty goal, and one that hasn't been accomplished since the 2004 Indianapolis Colts did it with Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, and Brandon Stokley (though the New Orleans Saints were close this year, but Jimmy Graham came 18 yards short). The Packers have never really come close to having three receivers with 1,000 yards apiece, though they have had a pair of receivers over that mark five times since 1990 (2009, 2008, 2004, 1999, 1997).
Looking at receptions statistics over recent Packers history isn't going to support Jones' prediction either, as Aaron Rodgers has only thrown 80 passes to a single receiver in a season twice: Randall Cobb last year and Greg Jennings in 2008. Furthermore, the last time two Packers wideouts had 80 or more catches in a season was in 2004 with Donald Driver and Javon Walker - and I can't find a record of a season where three receivers each had 80 catches. The only season that comes close to Jones' prediction from a reception standpoint was 1999, when the Packers had three receivers with at least 70 catches (Antonio Freeman, Bill Schroeder, and Dorsey Levens) - and one of those was a running back which adds a different aspect to the passing game.
Now Jones' predictions are certainly admirable goals, and Jones likely suggested them as a hopeful idea rather than actual predictions. If anything, they're probably an example of setting the goals high for him and his teammates to achieve, and exemplify Jones' belief in his, Cobb's, and Nelson's abilities rather than whether those numbers are actually realistic. However, if his prediction were to somehow come true, it would be a season of historic proportions for the Packers' passing game, and right now it's a fun idea to think about.