Category Archives: Greg Jennings

18

June

Is Aaron Rodgers Getting Too Old For the Green Bay Packers?

Football is a young man’s sport and even more so with the Green Bay Packers.  Since the introduction of Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy as the Packers general manager and head coach respectively, the Packers has consistently fielded one of the youngest rosters in the league.  In particular, Ted Thompson’s acumen for finding talented college players coupled with his penchant for ignoring free agency usually means there are a lot of players with little or no previous experience in the NFL.  The Packers have also been ruthless with aging veterans, where seemingly no player is safe; Charles Woodson, Cullen Jenkins, Chad Clifton, Marco Rivera, Mike Wahle, Darren Sharper were big name players all dumped to the curbside in favor of younger, cheaper options.

There is one exception of course and that’s the quarterback; while Ted Thompson probably believes he can replace just about every player on his roster with someone younger who can be equally talented (and overall he’s been right), even Ted Thompson realizes that quarterbacks are a different breed and the best are diamonds in the rough.  Aaron Rodgers is one of those quarterbacks and Ted Thompson made is clear that he’s not going to be replaced anytime soon by making him the highest paid player in the history of the NFL.

However, while Rodgers is here to stay for the long haul, the same can’t be said for the rest of the roster.  And as Rodgers continues to get older while the rest of the team gets younger, it’s naturally going to cause some issues.  One famous example was with Brett Favre and Randy Moss.  As told by Andrew Brandt of the National Football Post, in 2007 both the Packers and Patriots were interested in trading for Randy Moss, who had languished for 2 years with the Oakland Raiders.  At the end of the day, New England made the better deal and Moss was a Patriot.  Brett Favre was “livid” not only because he had long admired Moss while he was a Vikings but also because the Packers philosophy of building for the future did not work for Favre; Brandt mentions he told Favre he felt Greg Jennings would be a star in a couple years (which ultimately turned out to be true), but Favre countered that he didn’t have a couple years to wait (which also turned out to be ultimately be true).  In the end, Favre knew he only had a couple good years of football left and felt like the Packers were shortchanging him when instead they should have been giving him more ammo for one last push for a Super Bowl.  Obviously in retrospect, Ted Thompson was right to build the future (Aaron Rodgers), but had Rodgers not panned out, Favre would have been correct where sacrificing some of the future for the present would have been the better option.

8

June

Packers Coach Mike McCarthy is Awesome

Packers coach Mike McCarthy is dedicated to his community work.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy is dedicated to his community work.

A lot of ink has been spilled and hot air bloviated this week about Brett Favre taking some of the blame for his split with the Packers and Greg Jennings possibly holding a grudge against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers after departing Green Bay for Minnesota.

Both of those topics merit further discussion. They also move the meter and bring out the passion — for better or worse — of Packers fans and media personalities.

Unfortunately, both of those stories broke around the same time Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel wrote an excellent piece about Packers coach Mike McCarthy and his commitment to both his family and community outreach.

Push pause on all the thoughts that are running through your head about when Favre might finally have his number retired as a Packer, or whether Jennings will send Rodgers a Christmas card this year, and read Nickel’s story.

I get that we don’t truly know the coaches and players that we cheer for every Sunday, but I am pretty confident that McCarthy is a helluva guy and about as genuine as they come. I’m really proud that he’s the coach of the Packers.

I’ve always been impressed with McCarthy’s demeanor throughout the season. He’s never too high and never too low and always remains resolute while looking forward. You can tell he would rather talk about Justin Bieber’s fashion sense than answer questions about the Packers sometimes, but he’s always respectful and provides at least some level of insight.

It looks like many of those same characteristics carry through to McCarthy’s community work and family life. He may tick fans off by calling for a 50-yard bomb on 3rd and 1 or not running the ball as often as we’d like, but any coach will tick off fans with stuff like that on occasion.

I’ve already written too much about this topic. Stop reading this, and go read Nickel’s story. Keep up the good work, Mike.

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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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7

June

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Jennings says there is no love lost between he and the Packers

Jennings says there is no love lost between he and the Packers

Former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings played his first seven seasons for the Packers and was an integral part of the team’s rise to their latest Super Bowl championship in 2011.  After the 2012 season, Jennings became an unrestricted free agent and signed with the Minnesota Vikings.

Packers General Manager Ted Thompson had to consider that Jennings will turn 30 this season, which is an unspoken benchmark for a skill player’s abilities to begin to erode.  In 2012, Jennings missed half of the season with a core injury that required surgery and extensive rehab.  Legitimately, there were questions as to what Jennings’ value and contributions would be over the next five seasons or so.

Thompson decided that his biggest priority was to work on extending the contracts of quarterback Aaron Rodgers and linebacker Clay Matthews and offered Jennings considerably less than Jennings was seeking.   It’s hard to argue that decision and the long-term contributions that both Rodgers and Matthews, if healthy, can provide the team.  It seemed all but certain that Jennings would be leaving to play elsewhere.  When free agency started, Jennings had stated that he was looking for a long-term deal in the neighborhood of $5-$7 million per year.  He received little interest and there was a real possibility that the Packers would end up being his only and best option.  The Vikings then swooped in and gave Jennings a fiver year deal worth $45 million and just over $17 million guaranteed.

Shortly after he signed that contract, Jennings took out a full-page ad in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that thanked the team and fans for their support during his time in Green Bay.  Jennings, for the most part (and aside from a rant on Twitter by his sister), was the consummate teammate while in Green Bay.  However, from some of his recent comments, it would seem that Jennings is still disappointed that the Packers didn’t do more to keep him in Green Bay.  Most athletes who play for their original team for a length of time come to expect the team to take care of them and let them play out their careers, on their terms.  That’s just not how professional sports, and especially the NFL, work.  The game has become a business and teams are constantly forced with the tough decision of letting go of a popular veteran and who has given their all to their team.  Packers fans need only see “July, 2008″ to understand this concept.

17

May

Could Fewer Touches Lead to More Production for Packers WR Randall Cobb?

Packers WR Randall Cobb

Packers WR Randall Cobb.

Breakout WR/HB/KR/PR Randall Cobb touched the ball 159 times and amassed a Packers franchise record 2,342 all-purpose yards in 2012.

It was quite the season for the second-year talent out of Kentucky, and very necessary. Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson all missed significant time with injuries. Cobb, along with James Jones, stepped up to fill the void left by Jennings and Nelson and helped negate the Packers struggles running the ball.

But 159 touches is a lot for a player who is 5-foot-10 and 191 pounds. Cobb injured his ankle and missed the season finale against the Vikings. He also managed just six catches for 31 yards in two playoff games and was taken off of punt returns against the 49ers, only to see rookie Jeremy Ross muff one deep in Green Bay territory that led to a San Francisco touchdown.

I was at the wild-card win over the Vikings and watched Cobb limp around on that ankle. He was hurting. The explosion wasn’t there.

With Jennings gone, it’s assumed Cobb will have an even bigger role in the offense. His role probably will be bigger, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll touch the ball 159 times again.

Cobb was targeted 104 times in 2012, the most since Jennings’ 125 targets in 2010. If Nelson stays healthy, and Jones repeats his stellar 2012 season, perhaps that number will come down a bit.

The addition of Eddie Lacy and Jonathan Franklin — and the shuffling of the offensive line — could also lead to more success in the running game and fewer touches for Cobb.

Of those 159 touches, 10 came as a halfback. You have to figure he won’t carry the ball any more with Lacy and Franklin around.

As great as Cobb is, a little bit less of a workload might be good for him and ensure that he’s just as productive in the playoffs as he is in week eight.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying the Packers should purposely look away from Cobb and reduce his role in the offense. He’s too talented to set off to the side.

All I’m saying is that other players stepping up might take some of the burden off the shoulders of the smallish Cobb, making him that much more explosive when he does get the ball.

30

April

2013 Draft Leaves Packers In Need

Packers WR Greg Jennings

Who will replace Greg Jennings in 2013 is one of many questions left after the draft

The Green Bay Packers added 11 new players to their offseason roster via this past weekend’s NFL draft.  Packers GM Ted Thompson, as he does every year, maneuvered around and was able to add some additional picks to the stash that he began the draft with.

Heading into the draft, the team’s biggest needs were Defensive Line, Safety, Running Back, Wide Receiver, Tight End and Offensive Line.  The team addressed the defensive line with two selections in the first five rounds.  At running back, they added two players in the first four rounds and they selected two offensive linemen in the fourth.  Any pick within the first five rounds should be expected to stick on the team’s final 53 man roster.  The key word is “should” so I cautiously say that those three areas seemingly were covered.

While some GM’s draft more for need, Thompson’s philosophy has been more about taking the best player available on his board at the time.  Two good examples are his selecting two offensive tackles within 10 draft slots of each other in round four and trading back into the fourth round to select running back Johnathan Franklin when he had already selected a top-tier running back two rounds earlier in the form of Eddie Lacy.

With that said and as has been the case in year’s past, Thompson did not address every position of need that the Packers had going into the draft.  With so many teams jockeying and moving around constantly, it would be tough for any GM’s board to fall exactly how he wants and leave draft weekend with every hole plugged up.  Three positions left with the biggest question marks are Safety, Wide Receiver and Tight End.

Safety

Mock drafts and big boards had the Packers possibly addressing this position in round one.  It was unlikely that top-rated safety prospect Kenny Vaccaro would still be available when the Packers were set to choose at #26, so the biggest possibilities were Jonathan Cyprien, Matt Elam and Eric Reid.  Reid was taken at 18th overall and was already off the board.  Thompson clearly didn’t feel that Cyprien nor Elam were what he wanted in a first round pick and he drafted defensive lineman Datone Jones instead.

19

April

Packers Schedule Analysis: The March to 16-0 (but probably 11-5 or 10-6)

Ryan Pickett

Look how happy Ryan Pickett is about the Packers 2013 schedule being released.

The 2013 NFL schedule was released Thursday night and it included three Sunday night games and a Monday night game for the Green Bay Packers.

You can view the entire Packers 2013 schedule here. You can view the entire NFL 2013 schedule here.

Here’s everything else you need to know about the Packers 2013 schedule (or at least everything I could think of and lift from other people on Twitter):

  •  The Packers once again open the season against the 49ers, this time on the road. We’ll find out right away if Dom Capers has learned how to stop Colin Kaepernick and the read-option.
  • Need an excuse to eat turkey for breakfast? The Packers play the Lions at 11:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving. I say stuff your face with food early, watch the game, then eat leftovers for dinner.
  • Let’s hope the Packers injury luck is better than last season. Green Bay’s bye comes in week four. That’s early.
  • We’ll find out a lot about the Packers right away. Their first three games are against 2012 playoff teams (@49ers, vs. Redskins and @Bengals).
  • After those first three games, the Packers get a bye, play a non-playoff team (the Lions, who are barely an NFL team, let alone a playoff team) and get right back into the grind with a week six matchup against the Super Bowl champion Ravens.
  • Plenty of variety in kickoff times. The Packers have seven noon games, four night games, four 3:25 p.m. games and 11:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving.
  • The Packers play three night games in 22 days (Oct. 27 @Vikings, Nov. 4 vs. Bears and Nov. 17 @Giants).
  • There are no back-to-back road games for the Packers.
  • Greg Jennings will return to Lambeau Field wearing a Vikings uniform in week 12 on Nov. 24.
  • The last three games could be brutal for the Packers: @Cowboys, vs. Steelers and @Bears.
  • The last seven Super Bowl champions played the NFC East. The Packers play the NFC East this season. Hmmmm….
  • Based on the schedule, it sounds like Packers training camp will open on Friday, July 26.
  • My wife and I are supposed to have our first child on Oct. 5. It looks like we may have to induce labor during the bye week to ensure that we don’t miss any Packers games.
16

April

2013 NFL Schedule To Be Released Thursday, April 18th

Per Greg Aiello, the NFL’s Senior VP of Public Relations, the 2013 NFL schedule will be released at 8pm ET this Thursday, April 18th.  Aiello announced this via Twitter earlier today.

 

 

The Green Bay Packers’ schedule will surely offer some great matchups this season.  They will, of course, face their divisional opponents twice each with what I’m sure will be a keen interest specifically on the Minnesota Vikings matchups.  That may or may not have something to do with a former Packers wide receiver who recently joined the Vikings in free agency.  For those who have been stuck under a rock over the past month, I am, of course, referring to Greg Jennings.

The Packers will face each 2012 NFC division winner, including a rematch with the San Francisco 49ers.  The 9ers beat Green Bay during both the 2012 regular season and in the Divisional playoff round en route to Super Bowl XLVII.  The Packers will also square off against the Atlanta Falcons and Washington Redskins.

Due to the normal rotation of the out-of-conference scheduling, Green Bay will see each of the AFC North teams this season, highlighted by a matchup with the reigning Super Bowl-champion Baltimore Ravens.  The Pittsburgh Steelers will visit Lambeau Field and bring about a rematch of Super Bowl XLV.

The Packers will also face the New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys.  It’s worth noting that Green Bay will travel to Dallas where they have not won a regular season matchup against the Cowboys since December 24, 1989.  On the positive side, that’s also the site of their most recent Super Bowl win following the 2010 season.

Last week, Pulse of the Pack reviewed the Packers 2013 schedule and the matchups.  Be sure to hear what Marques Eversoll and Jacob Westendorf had to say!

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Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on "AllGreenBayPackers.com

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