With news of Julian Edelman’s ACL tear, the response from Packer fans is something like “Remember when we lost Jordy? Let’s see how New England likes it!” The predictable response from Boston is “Wull Brady’s da GOAT, so everything’ll be wicked fine!”
But this isn’t the same, it’s not even close.
For starters, Julian Edelman is no Jordy Nelson – different planets – that should be the end right there.
Last year, Julian Edelman had 1,106 yards (a career high) and 3 touchdowns (not far off his career high of 7). In 2014, the year before tearing his ACL, Jordy had 1,519 yards and 13 touchdowns (OVer half of the 24 Edelman has in his 8 year career). That’s a big discrepancy. It’s even bigger when you consider that in both years, each receiver had exactly 98 catches.
That means Edelman was a possession guy, a check-down safety blanket, and Jordy was a big play stud (which we already knew).
But it’s not, there’s more. A lot more.
The Patriots have this guy called Rob Gronkowski who also catches passes for them. Maybe you’ve heard of him, he’s a lovable goofball who, when not creating humorous hijinks (or being an idiot, depending on your perspective), is running around the football field as the most dominant tight end in the game.
The Patriots also recently traded a first round pick for former first round pick Brandin Cooks. Cooks had 1,138 and 1,173 yards the last two years with 8 TDs last year and 9 the year before. All of those numbers are better than Edelman ever had in any year of his career.
You know who the Packers best receiver was after Jordy went down? James Jones. The same James Jones that was on the Giants when Jordy went down. Jones asked the Giants, who usually end up facing the Packers in the playoffs, for his release so he could go play for their rivals.
The Giants shrugged their shoulders and said “sure.” That should tell you what they thought of him. Just a few months earlier, the Raiders had cut him.
This was not a man in demand.
Davante Adams had a huge sophomore slump that year and people were calling for him to be cut. Randall Cobb had his own injury issues that reduced him to a shell of himself.
But Rodgers manufactured a 6-0 start with that ramshackle bunch, an amazing hardcount, and his other-worldly talent. Sure things got tough in the middle, but when your top receiver goes down and you don’t still have an all-pro to throw to like Brady does, things get tough.
The Packers made the playoffs though, and beat the hot Redskins on their home turf even after Washington jumped out to an early lead. The division playoff was just as exciting.
Receivers were dropping like Dez Bryant at Green Bay in the playoffs! By the time regulation ended, Rodgers was down to James Jones (who was cut twice in the offseason) and Jared Abbrederis (who was cut the following season). That’s it. That’s aaaaall the receivers that were left. And his tight ends? Richard Rodgers and Justin Perillo. That was all he had to throw to and he got his team within overtime of going to the conference championship. They wouldn’t have needed overtime if Sam Shields could catch balls that hit him in both hands in stride.
I won’t even go into the difference between the defenses.
Tom Brady is the luckiest quarterback in the history of the NFL. The loss of Edelman will not test him anywhere near how the loss of Jordy tested Rodgers.
So when the Patriots have a good season (racking up a 6-0 division record, for sure), let’s cool it on the Great Brady talk.