The return of Packers wide receiver Donald Driver for a 14th season with the Packers was seen by some as a case of sentimentality trumping cold calculation about roster construction.
In Diondre Borel and Tori Gurley, Green Bay had a pair of receivers that they thought were good enough to warrant salaries above the normal practice squad rate last season and a deep receiving corps that would make it easier to work inexperienced players into the mix. According to Driver, though, there’s nothing sentimental about his presence in Packers camp because he’s still better than the younger men trying to take his job.
“It’s funny how these young guys look up and say, ‘I thought I was going to catch the old man, but I can’t catch him,’” Driver said, via Rob Reischel of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “He still has it. I think a lot of people are surprised how I’ve played at 37 years old. But if you haven’t lost it, you haven’t lost it. And I haven’t lost anything.”
It didn’t look that way at many points last season. Driver didn’t look like he was out of place on a football field, but he also didn’t look like the same player he was when he was building a career that has made him the team’s all-time leader in receptions and yards. He slipped down the depth chart as a result and fueled the speculation that he was done in Green Bay.
Reischel raves about Driver’s play during practice (and notes Gurley and Borel have been less effective) and notes that he’s in excellent physical condition, something that would have to be the case for him to be on the field at his age. True as that might be, it doesn’t help on the numbers front. Driver didn’t provide much evidence last season that he deserved more playing time than Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Randall Cobb and it seems unlikely that he’d push the ball too far back up the hill this season.