Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 10/12/11
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Donald Drivers playing time, targets and catches have ranked near the bottom of the Green Bay Packers wide receivers all season, but coach Mike McCarthy wanted no part of those statistics on Wednesday. When asked about Drivers offensive numbers through five games, McCarthy went off during his post-practice media session calling it a bunch of garbage. Every week I come in here and theres an individual in the offensive perimeter that we have to, that we feel, that you feel I have to address, McCarthy said. We have one footballIm not going to apologize for having too many guys to throw the ball to. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers certainly does have plenty of offensive weapons and proved his willingness to throw to any open receiver last week when he completed passes to 12 different players. Driver, however, caught only one of Rodgers 26 completions and was targeted just twice. The quarterback is doing an excellent job of throwing the football to the open guy, McCarthy continued. So whether the snaps come in at 20, 30 or 40, thats just the way the game goes. Whether the opportunities come in at 2, 4 or 9, thats the way the game goes. Every week its somebody else that were going to pick at because he didnt have the numbers he had the week before. Frankly, I think its a bunch of garbage. Drivers numbers have fallen off considerably since the start of the 2010 season. Driver, the Packers all-time leading receiver whos now in his 13th season, had six consecutive seasons of 1,000-plus yards from 2004 to 2009. He had a career-best 92 catches in 2006. But last season, as Green Bay went on its run to the Super Bowl, Drivers numbers declined considerably with 565 yardson 51 receptions. So far in 2011, Driver has nine catches for 76 yards. He has been targeted a total of nine times in the last four games. Do (receivers) want the ball? Yeah, they want the ball, McCarthy said as his voice began to rise. They all want the ball. And if they dont want the ball then I have a real issue with them. But every week to come in here and a guy scores three touchdowns one week and he doesnt have any the next week, and thats an issue? I mean, what are we doing here? Im not going to continue to sit here and answer this thing every week. Like I said, I think its a bunch of garbage. Driver has only one touchdown this season. However, there were questions after the Packers season-opening win when newly-resigned wide receiver James Jones was targeted only once by Rodgers in that game. Jones has since been much more involved in the offense. But Drivers numbers have been consistently low each week. He had no catches in Week 3 against Chicago and has had only catch on two other occasions. Driver, who has spent his entire career in Green Bay since being drafted in the seventh round in 1999, is taking the transition in stride. My opportunities, when it comes, I make plays, Driver said. I did the same thing when I walked in here in 99 with the same attitude, and Im going to have the same attitude when I walk out of here. You cant get to a point where youre being selfish about balls. You start doing that, then you cause confusion in this locker room. Although Driver is being used in the offense less than he was in previous years, much of that is due to the Packers talent and depth at the position. Greg Jennings emerged as a go-to threat and Jordy Nelson has become a major target for Rodgers since catching nine passes for 140 yards in Super Bowl XLV. Pass-catching tight end Jermichael Finley is also a big part of Green Bays offense. Do I still think I can still play? Yeah, Driver said. Have I proven I can still play? Yeah. Im OK with whatever the numbers are. Back in the days when I was the guy, I got all the balls. It didnt matter how many people I had on me, (Rodgers) was still throwing it to me, (Brett Favre) was still throwing it to me. Now it gets to a point where you have so many weapons, you have to spread the ball around. But that doesnt mean Driver wouldnt like to have the same opportunities that he had earlier in his career. If they came out there and said, Hey, Drive, look, weve got these plays and were throwing the ball to you, Driver said. Yeah, Im going to get open and get the ball. It works that way. But the way our scheme is, theres so many guys, so many routes and theres only one ball to spread around. If there were three quarterbacks out there throwing, I think wed all have five or six catches. But unfortunately, its not that way. Aaron only has one arm and he only has one ball to throw.
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