Health and dropped passes were two of the biggest issues with the Green Bay Packers' wide receiver group a year ago. With Jordy Nelson on the shelf for the entire season, Davante Adams and Randall Cobb were forced to step up and take over as the top wideouts. They did a decent job, but they had far too many drops, too.
According to ESPN, they each had six dropped passes, which was tied for the ninth-most in the NFL. So to combat those deficiencies, the Packers are using circus acts ... sort of. Wide receivers are going through juggling drills in OTAs to help with hand-eye coordination, and it's impressive.
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"It helps with just hand-eye coordination," Cobb told ESPN, "and continuing to work on different ways and keeping it fresh. I haven't juggled four yet. I'm working on off the wall with three. It's a process."
His teammate, Ty Montgomery, is a better juggler than he is. Probably because Montgomery was in a juggling club in middle school.
"Random fact: I was in juggling club in middle school," Montgomery said. "But I think all of our guys here knew how to already. Actually, I think it's pretty normal for a receiver to see those drills."
It's not just tennis balls that receivers are juggling. They're also using bricks (yes, actual bricks) to improve grip strength, as well as footballs, because that's what they have to catch on the gridiron.
"That's actually what I'm going to do right now; I'm going to pick up another brick for tomorrow," Cobb said after breaking one in practice. "But you didn't see that. It wasn't me, either. Don't tell anybody."
Not only will juggling and gripping bricks help the wide receiver position for the Packers, but the return of Nelson will too. The offense struggled mightily without him on the field in 2015, and it showed in Aaron Rodgers' numbers. Hopefully these new circus-like drills will benefit; they seem to be doing so already.