Category Archives: Greg Jennings

26

March

Patience and Proactivity Pay Off for Packers GM Ted Thompson

Ted Thompson manages the Packers roster by balancing patience and proactivity.

Ted Thompson manages the Packers roster by balancing patience and proactivity.

General manager Ted Thompson runs the Green Bay Packers football operations his way.

The Thompson way is characterized by accumulating draft picks, developing drafted players, re-signing young Packers players on the rise, and largely avoiding bidding wars with players leaving other teams during the opening of free agency.

Depending on the fans prospective, this is usually a love or hate relationship. Fans either love the draft and develop approach or long for big name signings in free agency.

However, Ted Thompson has utilized a combination of patience and proactivity to bring his vision of building a franchise to life.

Thompson isn’t afraid of free agency. Rather, he waits until the initial frenzy is over to avoid overpaying players. Doing this has yielded quality players in the past, including Charles Woodson and Ryan Pickett, who were both signed in 2006.

Both Pickett and Woodson were integral players in the 2010 Super Bowl run, and when looking back at their contracts, they appeared to be relative bargains when compared to their contributions to the team.

When free agency opened in 2014, Thompson appeared to be quiet. While teams like the Denver Broncos and New Orleans Saints were throwing money around like they printed it, Thompson waited.

By waiting until the overpaying binge subsided, he was able to sign defensive end Julius Peppers at a very competitive contract (3 years, $30 million) and bolster the interior defensive line with Letroy Guion (1 year, $1 million).

Will Peppers have the same impact as either Woodson or Pickett? We certainly hope so, but only time will tell.

Rather than panicking and overpaying impeding offensive free agents running back James Starks and tight end Andrew Quarless, Thompson was able to bring them back for a modest investment (2 years, $3.17 million and 2 years, $3 million, respectively).

Not only is Thompson patient, he’s also proactive.

He’s great at extending players before they ever hit free agency. Similarly, he has knack for re-signing his own players in that small window between when their contracts expire and when they’re able to test the market.

22

November

Packers Periscope: Week 12 vs Minnesota Vikings

The Past: The Packers played their last game at the Mall of America Field at the Metrodome in week 8 and showed exactly how dangerous a balanced Packers offense could be.  In short, the offense was brutally efficient; even without Randall Cobb, James Jones and Jermichael Finley, quarterback Aaron Rodgers completed 24 passes out of 29 for 285 yards and two touchdowns to Jordy Nelson while adding 31 yards on 6 scrambles.  However the running attack needed no help from Rodgers this time as Eddie Lacy ground the Vikings defense for 94 yards on 29 carries and a touchdown while James Starks provided the change of pace with 57 yards on only 7 carries (8.1 ypc) and a touchdown.

On defense, the loss of Clay Matthews and Nick Perry certainly didn’t help with the pass rush, but with Adrian Peterson’s body obviously starting to break down plus a “give up” call to put Christian Ponder back after perhaps the worst quarterback play in the history of the NFL by Josh Freeman the week against the Giants before left the Vikings offense in shambles; Peterson only managed 60 yards on a paltry 13 attempts while Ponder completed 50% of his passes for only 145 yards.

Perhaps the most interesting story of the night happened after the game where Greg Jennings purposefully pulled Aaron Rodgers aside and proceeded to awkwardly hug/presumable apologize for about 5 minutes to which Rodgers just nodded dutifully.  Neither Rodgers nor Jennings has fully disclosed what was said on the field, but as both players might be watching from the sidelines this game probably means that this will be a non-issue for either team (not that that will stop the media from covering it like it was).

The Present: The Vikings are perhaps as injury riddled in key positions as the Packers are, which is no small task.  Star running back Adrian Peterson has been hobbled by a groin injury and hasn’t been as explosive as he once was.  Leading wide receiver Greg Jennings was a surprise scratch from last weeks game against the Seattle Seahawks, much to the dismay of head coach Leslie Frasier. If Jennings does indeed miss his homecoming against the Packers, how much of it will because he simply doesn’t want to be on the field when he knows he can’t win back the fans?  The Vikings still also have questions at quarterback, Josh Freeman was expected to see the field at some point after recovering from his concussion due to his relatively large contract, but hasn’t seen the field as Matt Cassel played in relief of starter Christian Ponder when he dislocated his shoulder two weeks ago.  Aside from Christian Ponder’s shoulder injury, he will also be without his favorite target in tight end Kyle Rudolph, who is likely to be out with a broken foot.

20

November

Does Anybody Care About Greg Jennings Returning to Lambeau?

Vikings WR Greg Jennings returns to Green Bay to play the Packers on Sunday.

Remember back when former Packers WR Greg Jennings was questioning the leadership of quarterback Aaron Rodgers and generally acting like an ass after signing a fat new deal with the Minnesota Vikings?

A lot of Packers fans circled Nov. 24 on their calendars. That was the day Jennings and the Vikings were coming to Lambeau Field and the first opportunity Packers fans would have to let the boos reign down on the former Packers standout.

Now that Nov. 24 is almost here, does anyone even remember Greg Jennings and that his return to Lambeau is almost upon us?

I’m going to the game Sunday, and I completely forgot that it’s Jennings’ return until I randomly thought of it earlier this evening. At this point, Jennings isn’t relevant enough to warrant booing.

A lot has happened to the Packers since Jennings contracted diarrhea of the mouth. Half the team — including Rodgers — is injured and the season is close to falling off a cliff. Packers fans just want their team to win a game and probably care less about booing Jennings.

Jennings also hasn’t done anything in Minnesota. He looks like just another past his prime WR who was given a giant contract and won’t come anywhere close to fulfilling the investment.

I’d rather save my energy for cheering the Packers than boo Jennings.

Oh, I’m sure Jennings will hear it when he trots out on Sunday, but the catcalls won’t be nearly as loud as what they would have been had the Packers hosted the Vikings in week one.

Greg Jennings: Standout wide receiver and Super Bowl champion in Green Bay. Mr. Irrelevant in Minnesota.

 

 

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Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam's writing on the Packers here.

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27

October

Packers vs. Vikings: Keys To The Game

Christian Ponder

Ponder will step in for last week’s Vikings starting quarterback Josh Freeman. The Vikings have started three different quarterbacks so far this season.

The Green Bay Packers bring their three-game winning streak into Mall of America Field to face the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday night football.  Maybe it’s just the old school in me that “Mall of America Field” doesn’t roll easily off the tongue.  It’s the Metrodome, the Humpty Dome, The Dome or in some instances, “Hell”, right?

Either way, this is the last time that the Packers will face the Vikings in that building.  The plan, after this season, is for Minnesota to play their home games at TCF Stadium for two years while their new stadium is expected to be built in the same spot that the Dome currently sits.

The Vikings have to be hoping that a change in venue might lead to some improvement in their play.  They currently sit at a disappointing 1-5 and just handed the previously-winless New York Giants their first win of the season this past Monday night.

While this has the makings of an easier game for the Packers, divisional matchups always carry an added element of competitiveness and especially on the road.  Let’s look at the keys for Green Bay to leave Minnesota with the win that many are expecting for them.

Fast Start, Dictate the Tempo

The Vikings have struggled in nearly every area so far this season.  They have trotted out three different starting quarterbacks and have not been able to establish any type of offensive rhythm at all.  Defensively, they have not been much better and they are now without safety Harrison Smith, who is dealing with a toe injury.  If there is one area of deficiency that can most disastrous against Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, it’s the secondary.

While the Packers will continue to showcase their more physical side and establish the run, Rodgers should be looking for the deep ball early on.  Rodgers is one of the league leaders in completed passes over 25 yards from scrimmage.  While Green Bay isn’t likely to find their 2011 stroke, they have had more success in pushing the ball downfield over their past three games.  A quick, early strike and a quick score can set the tone and put the Vikings on their heels right away.

3

October

Where Are They Now: Following Former Packers

With the 2013 season now a quarter of the way over, I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at all the Packers who played for the 2012 team who are now playing somewhere else.  Have the Packers really missed them?  Have they made a contribution to their new teams?  (note: snaps are only counting offense and defense, not special teams)

Alex Green (New York Jets)

  • 2012 season: 343 snaps, 135 attempts for 464 Yds, 3.4ypc, 0 TDs, 1 Fum
  • 2013 season (projected): 40 snaps, 28 rushing attempts for 60 Yds, 2.1ypc, 0 TDs, 0 Fum
  • Alex Green never really was able to overcome the ACL injury he suffered as a rookie and became one of the few high draft picks to be quickly dumped by the Ted Thompson regime.  Green quickly found a new home with the New York Jets, one of the teams that curiously have been linked to the Packers (numerous trades of picks, Caleb Schlauderaff and of course Brett Favre).  As of yet, Green hasn’t been able to make much of an impact even with an apparent opening at the running back position with the Jets; Chris Ivory has been hobbled with injuries, Mike Goodson just returned from suspension and KR/RB Joe McKnight was sent packing.  At the moment, Green is projected as the 3rd running back and is on pace for about 60 yards rushing with a 2.1 average.   For the Packers James Starks has played pretty well and Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin have both showed promise.  the Packers are fine at running back without Green.

Greg Jennings (Minnesota Vikings)

  • 2012 season: 416 snaps, 36 Rec for 366 Yds, 10.2 YPC, 4 TDs, 0 Fum
  • 2013 season (projected): 664 snaps, 56 Rec, 1,008 Yds, 18.0 ypc, 8 TD, 0 Fum
19

August

Cory’s Corner: The Bullseye on Aaron Rodgers’ Back Just Got a Little Bit Bigger

Aaron Rodgers - Bigger Bullseye on his back

Aaron Rodgers has a bigger bullseye on his back

In case you somehow haven’t heard, Donald Driver appeared on ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike” last week and tried to clear the air between the offseason schism between Greg Jennings and Rodgers.

“If a guy runs the wrong route, it’s easy for the quarterback to say, ‘Hey, I told him to run that route,’ than the guy to say, ‘Hey, I ran the wrong route.’” Which normally shouldn’t be a big deal until the 14-year Packer and three-time Pro Bowler dropped this bombshell: “Sometimes you ask Aaron to take the pressure off those guys so we don’t look bad. He didn’t want to do that. He felt like if you did something bad, you do it. That’s the difference. You want that leadership. I think sometimes you may not feel like you got it.”

Those are strong words from Driver, who was considered to be the team’s mouthpiece during his final six years in Green Bay. Everyone knows the Driver comeback story. How he lived out of a U-Haul trailer, got picked 213th overall in the 1999 NFL Draft and coupled that into a Packers Hall of Fame bust after finishing with team career highs in receptions (743) and yards (10,137).

Driver doesn’t have an ax to grind here. I completely believe him.

But that’s the point — nobody cares.

Rodgers’ predecessor enjoyed being liked by his teammates. Brett Favre was the kind of guy that loved hanging out with the guys, sharing a beer and a laugh or two.

Rodgers isn’t like that. He demands ultimate perfection each play and when it doesn’t happen he puts on his verbal boxing gloves. If you remember, he even lashed out at coach Mike McCarthy when things weren’t particularly going his way last year.

Of course, the reason no one is really concerned with what Driver said is because Rodgers produces. He is the all-time career leader in passer rating with an absurd 104.9, he won a Super Bowl in his third season as a starter and he’s got a 5-3 playoff record.

Those things trump any beef that receivers may have with their quarterback when things go wrong. I understand that Rodgers needs to own it, and often does, when the offense just cannot get on track at all.

8

August

OK – I’ve Officially Had Enough of Greg Jennings

Greg Jennings Farewell Newspaper Ad

Click for larger image.

Greg Jennings – I remember when we used to think you were  a classy guy. Why are you now trying so hard to disprove what we believed to be true?

You won a Super Bowl with the Packers and in the resulting Sound/FX video, we hear you agonizing with great emotion over the final plays of the game.  In your nervousness, you seemingly can’t stop talking, as the defense proceeded to stop the Steelers and close out the game. It seems like you haven’t stopped talking since.

Perhaps the Super Bowl was the inception of your apparent jealousy of the attention bestowed upon Aaron Rodgers.  After all, it was YOU who made the fantastic catch for a TD. It was YOU who scored two TDs in that game. Yet Rodgers got the accolades, Rodgers got the MVP, Rodgers got the car, Rodgers got the trip to Disneyland. And it burned away at you, didn’t it Greg? Think of what your next contract demands could have been with a Super Bowl MVP cred?

Oh well, at least you were “the man” among the receiving corps, right? But then 2011 happened and Jordy Nelson’s breakout year left you second on the team in receptions and yards. Even worse, Nelson became the recipient of most of the deep throws, you biggest source of glory. Damn, that hurt.

And then the fateful 2012 season. the Packers offered you more money than you eventually accepted from the Vikings, but it wasn’t enough. You felt slighted.  You kept talking back then about having to move on for the good of your family. You put your house up for sale the week the Packers season was over. You couldn’t wait to get out.

It didn’t help that there was a new kid in town stealing your targets – Randall Cobb. And that James Jones was catching all those TD passes.  You missed half the season with injuries, but when you did play, you felt you weren’t being thrown to enough. Rodgers had new favorite receivers, you thought. You never said that, but your sister went on a rant about Rodgers not throwing to you enough. We all know where she got that idea, right? You obviously had expressed those feelings to her.