To be sure, it was still an extremely small sample size as the Green Bay Packers ease their Pro Bowl receiver back into the mix. But on the one-year anniversary of tearing the ACL in his right knee, Nelson ran routes against an actual defender in tight coverage for the first time.
By unofficial count, he did that three times in the one-on-one receiving drill. Twice, he caught passes against Sam Shields -- one down the left sideline and another on a crossing route. The other came down the seam with Quinten Rollins in coverage.
It was after the throw down the sideline that Aaron Rodgers said he remarked to quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt, “I could throw that ball with my eyes closed, because I know exactly where he’s going to be.”
“That’s the beauty of us playing together for a long time,” Rodgers said after practice.
It’s why even if Nelson doesn’t play in either of the two remaining preseason games, Rodgers doesn’t seem worried about getting the chemistry back with his top receiver. When Nelson last played in 2014, he posted career highs with 98 catches and 1,519 yards to go along with 13 touchdowns.
Forty-five of Nelson’s 49 career regular-season touchdowns have come from Rodgers, who became a starter in 2008, the year Nelson was drafted.
“We’ve got a thousand reps together,” Rodgers said.
Nelson still hasn’t not done any 11-on-11 work in practice; he said he expects that may come next week.
"We haven't had Jordy in a team period yet," Rodgers said, "So we're just going to keep expectations at a reasonable level.”
There’s no telling if Nelson will be limited early in the season, but he said Monday that he expects he’ll get plenty of work in between now and the regular-season opener at Jacksonville on Sept. 11.
"The important step is the games when it really matters," Nelson said Monday after his first practice. "I’ve been in meetings, walk-throughs and everything. So the knowledge of the game and our offense and what we’re doing is fine. We’ll work through everything else."