Ian Rapoport | Tags:
It is a rare reality for Donald Driver. The Packers veteran receiver and one of the faces of the franchise has gone from key cog in the offensive machine to rarely used relic. At least, that’s the way it’s been over four games.
Driver, who has been with the Packers since 1999, has just 2 catches this year. Two for 29 yards, though one was a touchdown. That’s it. And even worse than that, he’s buried on the depth chart that includes Greg Jennings, surging Jordy Nelson, newcomer James Jones and fast-twitcher Randall Cobb. The 37-year-old Driver has been a non-factor.
But now that Jennings is out with his groin injury against the Colts, will that open the door for the team’s elder statesmen? Talking at his locker yesterday, Driver wasn’t so sure.
“You know, I don’t know,” Driver told me. “I’m just going to play the hand that’s dealt to me. I’m just going to continue to work out and continue to stay in shape and when the opportunity presents itself, I’ll be ready to play.”
He didn’t look distraught while saying it, though he wasn’t thrilled either. There’s no way this year is what Driver expected when he came back for one more year on a contract worth $2.5 million after his star turn on Dancing with the Stars.
I mentioned that to him, saying, “It can’t be easy.”
“It’s never easy,” he replied. “It’s never easy at all. But that’s the way the apple falls from the tree.”
Are you handling it OK?
“I’m fine with it,” he said. “Like I’ve always said, as long as we’re winning games, I’m OK. And that’s the biggest thing with me.”
What’s doubly interesting, besides Driver not being convinced he’ll see more snaps Sunday? Offensive coordinator Tom Clements sounded similarly lukewarm when I spoke to him outside the locker room. He knows someone will emerge Sunday, but he doesn’t know who it is.
And while Clements acknowledged that some more snaps could come Driver’s way, well, it also might not happen.
“Well, you’d anticipate that would happen because you have one less receiver and you don’t know how the game-day roster is going to look like,” Clements told me. “You have one less receiver, but you know, a lot of things going into that. If we only have four receivers, whereas in the past we’ve had five, you’d expect that would happen.”
Not exactly a proclamation of more playing time. Simply, Clements said Driver may see more snaps. But that didn’t sound like anything drastic is expected. But sounds like, if this team continues to win, Driver will just deal.