Once again, games that don’t count have negatively impacted teams’ seasons. The NFL Preseason’s exhibition games have claimed two more victims: New York Giants safety Bennett Jackson and Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson.
To start with Jackson, he is another in a long string of secondary injuries the Giants have had to put up with this preseason. Jackson tore his ACL this past Saturday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the same game in which safety Justin Currie fractured an ankle.
To make matters worse, linebacker Jon Beason tweaked his knee in Saturday’s game. Outside of those three injuries, Safety Mykkele Thompson will miss the season with a torn Achilles, and Cooper Taylor, Nat Berhe, and Landon Collins have all missed time so far this preseason with various issues.
The free-agent safety Justin Currie broke his right ankle and fibula earlier in the game Saturday night covering a kickoff, and Jackson went down in the waning minutes of the 22-12 victory, playing because the team did not have enough safeties.
Coach Tom Coughlin said Jackson had torn an anterior cruciate ligament while tackling a tight end. Jackson, a second-year player, had converted from cornerback this preseason and started the first two games.
The rookie Mykkele Thompson was lost last week when he sustained an Achilles’ tendon injury against Cincinnati. The second-round draft pick Landon Collins sprained a knee in that game, and Cooper Taylor (toe) and Nat Berhe (calf) were out with injuries sustained in practice.
Coughlin said he was hopeful that Collins, Taylor and Berhe could return this week.
The good news for the Giants was that the starting middle linebacker Jon Beason did not consider his left knee sprain serious.
“It’s minor, nothing too concerning in my book,” Beason said Sunday.
Things weren’t much better in Wisconsin. Nelson was Aaron Rodgers’ favorite target with over 151 passes going his way in 2014. Only Julio Jones, Antonio Brown, and Demaryius Thomas were targeted more than Nelson.
Jordy Nelson caught the ball, spun and prepared to dart downfield.
Two steps later, Nelson, Green Bay’s Pro Bowl wide receiver, was on the turf, his right knee injured and his season in doubt. While Nelson was able to gingerly walk to the sideline early in the first quarter of Sunday’s 24-19 exhibition loss to Pittsburgh, it might be the last sign of Nelson in his familiar No. 87 jersey this year.
While Coach Mike McCarthy stressed that the Packers, the defending N.F.C. North champions, “will look for good news” when Nelson is re-evaluated in Green Bay on Monday, quarterback Aaron Rodgers expressed equal parts frustration and mystification.
“It’s difficult to lose a guy like that in a meaningless game,” Rodgers said.
Well, all that’s gone. Could you imagine if the Packers didn’t resign Randall Cobb this offseason?
“It’s difficult to lose a guy like that in a meaningless game,” said Rodgers after the matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
I’d be pretty pissed too. 98 receptions for 1,519 yards and 13 touchdowns isn’t easy to replace, and it’ll definitely impact Rodgers this season.
Packers’ general manager Ted Thompson chimed in on the situation as well Monday:
“You can’t understand how something like that can happen on a play as simple as it was, but that’s life in the NFL sometimes,” said Thompson.
Yeah, it happens. Kelvin Benjamin, Bennett Jackson, and now Jordy Nelson have all fallen victim to the fragile ACL. We’re only halfway through preseason too, so don’t be surprised if one more big name goes down in vain.