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Jordy Nelson: “You have to make the most of your opportunities”

Posted by Ricky Zeller on January 26, 2012 – 12:58 pm

After a breakout season where he set career highs in every statistical category (68 catches, 1,263 yards, 15 TDs), WR Jordy Nelson sat down for a Q&A session that was printed in the Gameday program for the NFC Divisional playoff. What follows are a few excerpts from the conversation:

Your family has a farm that you worked on as a kid. What was your typical day like?

We got up early, but not as early as people think…7 a.m., 8 a.m., depending on what was going on. We would go out and make sure all the water tanks were full in the morning. We would feed some calves if need be, then do whatever was on the list for the day – working the grounds, working the cattle, fix some things. It varied for the day. At night, we would fill the tanks back up to make sure the cows had water and we were done. We had Angus Beef cattle. We only had about 150 or 200 at any one time.

You grew up in Leonardville, Kan., (population: 495) and set a slew of records in high school, but ended up walking on at Kansas State. Did you have any scholarship offers?

I had offers from Division II schools. We only had 67 kids in my graduating class. That was part of it. I just got overlooked. They probably didn’t think I was playing against the talent other kids were.

In high school you played quarterback, but when you got to Kansas State they put you at safety.

Quarterback was out of the question when I went to college. If I wanted to have a future at the next level, meaning the NFL, I knew it wasn’t at quarterback. I knew it was either at safety or wide receiver. I walked on as a safety, didn’t see any playing time my first two years – the year I redshirted or my freshman year. Then they swapped me and another guy. He went to safety and I went to wide receiver.

What did the coaches say when they switched you to wide receiver?

There was some discussion my first year about which position I should play. When they called me in a couple of years later, it was really nerve-wracking, because you never want to be called into your coach’s office. They told me they were going to make the switch, and asked me what I thought of it. When you are a sophomore in college, you never say, ‘I think I should stay on defense.’ I liked offense better than defense, anyway. So I went after it, and it was a long offseason trying to learn the playbook, and it was a lot more running than I’d ever experienced before during practice being a wide receiver.

Moving forward, after you were drafted by the Packers, were you hoping for more opportunities or did you feel like it was part of the process?

My rookie year I was developing, we just had a bunch of receivers. I was still in the process of learning the position because I had only played wide receiver for three years prior to getting here. My second year I had a little drop off. I missed three games with injuries. I was still learning, still getting some chemistry with Aaron (Rodgers). The number of opportunities was down with everyone else in the rotation.

When a player talks about getting opportunities, does that mean playing time, or getting the same amount of plays and doing more when you are on the field?

I’d say it’s getting more plays, but also the type of plays. On a pass play, maybe you are the key read. A lot of it has to do with just making plays. Aaron is going to look your way the more plays you make. The coaches are going to put you in more situations the more plays you make. It’s something that grows.

Does it also take being lucky, where you could run the same great route as the week before and not be thrown the ball and then someone else is up in the rotation?

Yes, it happens to every wide receiver. Aaron could have looked the other way. It’s part of the position. Sometimes he looks at you and you don’t run as good of a route. You have to be on top of it every time.

Do you still feel the urgency you used to, that you must make a play or you’ll end up on the sidelines?

You still have to make the most of your opportunities because there is still the rotation. I don’t have the same fear of getting pulled if I do something wrong.

After how you finished last season and your performance in the Super Bowl (nine catches, 140 yards, TD), did you come into 2011 feeling more established?

I did. Going into training camp, there was a lot less on my mind, a lot less thinking on the field. I knew the playbook in and out. I was able to think about how I was going to run a route and reading the coverage, how I was going to try to beat the guy in front of me. I could spend time thinking about that instead of concentrating on the route.

Individually, did this season exceeded any expectations or goals you may have had?

I don’t think I ever would have thought I’d score 15 touchdowns, especially with the group of guys we have and the amount of time we share on the field. I’ve been fortunate, and I’ve been able to make a lot of big plays based on the coverage I’ve seen. Like I said earlier, the more big plays you make, the more opportunities you get, because you get the trust of the coaches and you get the trust of Aaron.

You are a quiet guy, but wide receivers and defensive backs are known for taunting each other on the field. Do you get involved with that?

(Laughing) They don’t get any joy out of talking trash to me. There are less than a handful of guys that have tried to talk to me in college and in the NFL because I really don’t have anything to say. It’s kind of like talking to yourself.

DRAFT: Jordy Nelson example of BAP targeting: http://pckrs.com/2c9j

VIDEO: Nelson explaining what the battles are like with cornerbacks during each play: http://pckrs.com/bx3b

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Posted in Packers.com Blog | 6 Comments »

6 Responses to “Jordy Nelson: “You have to make the most of your opportunities””

  1. By junior on Jan 29, 2012 | Reply

    nice job jordy you were the only packer player to not drop any catchable balls…. and i still say that aaron will only win one super bowl trophy in his life time

  2. By Cali on Jan 30, 2012 | Reply

    Try at least two more Titles there junior. Four years in this league and one title already under his belt. Marcia Brady is making his 5th appearence in 10 years. Three of those he won. And Rodgers is the elite of elite QB’s, so Rodgers is FAR from done. We lost in the first round against the Cardinals, then won a Superbowl. Lost this year in our first round, well, you see the pattern. RODGERS MVP!! GO PACK GO!!

  3. By airpacker12 on Jan 30, 2012 | Reply

    PACKER WEAK LINKS ; dom capers and his scam artitst defense. namly the 2 down linmen front !that makes cm3 play run first and always allows a free o-linemen to double team him . mm is an avg. coach with a great qb. he has 2 major weakness; 1st- he falls in love with asst coaches, tell me how rb edgar benett is the wr coach ? not going into drops, but i will say that i saw far to meny recivers jogging routs this year! 2nd – when you play football in dec and jan in gb you have to run the football if you expect to win. what was mm famous quote (we dont run for yards just to keep the d honest !) wow !! the lack of a viable running game puts to much pressure on 1 man for these marathon seasons , not to mention it gets him hit a lot ! i warned this team when we were undefeated and before jso and the gazzett wrote we might not be built to win in gb during the playoffs ! the biggest problem is capers ,and he wont change scheems!theres a reason why he never lasts anywhere he goes ! and i just wonder how meny years we will squander with his approach ! go pack go !

  4. By junior on Feb 1, 2012 | Reply

    @cali dude i love the packers with all of my heart but i feel in my gut that this will only be his only title.. @ airpacker12 you make a good point about about dom capers he usually lasts about a couple of years on different teams and then moves on he should do something different or the should get another def. cord. sooon!!!!!!!!!

  5. By memepearson on Feb 3, 2012 | Reply

    Jordy you are a amazing, I’m still ou fan but you are my jersey every sunday and Im so proud to wear your jersey, on fridays I wear to work at a hospital and when i go into older patient rooms they love talking about you!!!!! YOU ARE GREATTTTTTTTTTTTTTT tony the tiger!!!!!

  6. By junior on Feb 6, 2012 | Reply

    i dont care what anyone says a-rod is going to win only one super bowl EVER!!!!!! and there is no more playoff for the pack…. i dont believe that there deff. could bring us back or there off. line will allow aaron to have enough time to throw the ball im sorry to say that this might be our last time of glory years seeing the pack win anything.. maybe the nfc north but thats it

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