Category Archives: Wide Receivers

19

February

Jarrett Boykin 2013 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

1) Introduction: When Jarrett Boykin replaced Randall Cobb in the Ravens game, Boykin  looked like me trying to get a date back in high school: awkward, bumbling and completely out of his element. My game never improved. Boykin’s did.

Packers WR Jarrett Boykin

2) Profile:

Jarrett Boykin

  • Age: 24
  • Born: 11/4/89 in Chattanooga, TN
  • Height: 6’2″
  • Weight: 218
  • College: Virginia Tech
  • Rookie Year: 2012
  • NFL Experience: 2 years

Career Stats and more

3) Expectations coming into the season: Be ready in case of injury. With Cobb missing most of the season and James Jones also missing time, Boykin got his chance and made the most of it after a slow start.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Lowlights don’t get much lower than Boykin against the Ravens. He caught one pass in five targets, dropped two balls and was on a completely different planet than Aaron Rodgers. The following week against Minnesota, Boykin caught all five passes thrown his way and began showing that he may be more than just a backup.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Boykin is an aggressive receiver who is tough to deal with after the catch. Might he be the replacement for James Jones if Jones departs via free agency? I would’ve said “no way” earlier this season, but Boykin showed improvement, and with a little more consistency catching the ball and separating from defensive backs, he’ll stick.

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: Boykin was only targeted once and didn’t catch a pass. Is Boykin fast enough to separate from good cornersbacks? It didn’t look like it against San Francisco

Season Report Card:

(A-) Level of expectations met during the season

(B) Contributions to team’s overall success.

(D) Contributions to team during the playoffs

Overall Grade:  B-

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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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19

February

Randall Cobb 2013 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

Packers WR Randall Cobb

1) Introduction: The Packers best offensive play in the season’s final two games was to have Aaron Rodgers magically escape the grasp of an oncoming defender or two, scurry outside the pocket, and throw it Randall Cobb, who somehow managed to improvise, get behind the defense and catch Rodgers’ attention. Cobb was slowed by injuries at the end of 2012 and missed most of 2013 with a fractured leg. He’s a free agent after next season and will need to stay healthy if he wants to cash in.

2) Profile:

Randall Cobb

  • Age: 23
  • Born: 8/22/1990 in Maryville, TN
  • Height: 5’10″
  • Weight: 191
  • College: Kentucky
  • Rookie Year: 2011
  • NFL Experience: 3 years

Career Stats and more

3) Expectations coming into the season: This year was going to be another progression in Cobb becoming one of the most dangerous weapons in the NFL. All was mostly going as planned until Cobb fractured his leg against Baltimore.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Of course, Cobb’s catch against the Bears in the season finale tops the highlight list, not just for Cobb but for the Packers entire season. Receiving honorable mention is Cobb’s long run that woke up the Packers muddling offense against Detroit and a couple of nice catches on improvised plays in the playoffs.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Without Cobb, the Packers probably don’t make the playoffs. When he was on the field, Cobb’s speed from the slot and overall playmaking ability made a good offense much more dynamic.

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: Cobb only had two catches in the postseason, but they were two memorable catches. Too bad the Packers couldn’t punch it in the end zone after Cobb’s last big catch.

Season Report Card:

(B) Level of expectations met during the season

(A-) Contributions to team’s overall success.

(B) Contributions to team during the playoffs

Overall Grade:  B

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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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1

February

Cory’s Corner: Helping Rodgers should be Packers’ priority

Aaron Rodgers needs to be surrounded with weapons and protection.

Aaron Rodgers needs to be surrounded with weapons and protection.

Super Bowl XLVIII is a collision course of two different team-building philosophies.

In 2012, the Broncos paid 36-year-old Peyton Manning, the owner of four neck surgeries, a five-year $96 million contract to take them back to the promised land. Many saw it as a surprise because nobody knew how Manning would respond to contact and if his arm strength would return.

The Seahawks, on the other hand, decided to spread out most of its resources. Sidney Rice ($8.5M), Russell Okung ($7.06M) and Marshawn Lynch ($7M) are the three highest-paid players on the team. But that doesn’t mean Seattle doesn’t spend money. The Seahawks were the second-highest payroll in the NFL this year with over $103M in salaries.

But the difference is at the quarterback position. Russell Wilson is the 44th-highest paid player on the Seahawks, making just $526,217 this year. Obviously that number is going to skyrocket when he’s a free agent in 2016, but until then Seattle is going to ride the wave of an efficient and cheap quarterback while they fill holes on the rest of their team.

Which is exactly how the 49ers have approached their quarterback position. Colin Kaepernick is the 26th-highest paid player on the roster with a salary of $740,844. San Francisco will have some difficult choices to make when he’s a free agent in 2015.

But it speaks to an interesting philosophy. The quarterback is and always be the most important player on a football team. However, if a team can strike oil in the draft with a rookie that doesn’t make a flurry of mistakes while adjusting quickly to the faster NFL game, it definitely behooves them to go with the unproven rookie.

The 49ers and Seahawks have been playing with house money ever since Wilson and Kaepernick became household names.

The Broncos meanwhile are going all-in for a potential Super Bowl streak with Manning. But in order to do so, they have left gaping holes in the secondary and on the offensive line but Manning has been able to overcome those.

After showing Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews the money last April, the Packers have to decide where their priorities lie. Jordy Nelson becomes a free agent in 2015, which will limit money spent on expiring contracts this spring.

21

November

Numbers up for Packers receivers, down for Vikings corners

Packers receiver Jordy Nelson is really good. Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes is alright, but his fellow corners are not.

Packers receiver Jordy Nelson is really good. Vikings rookie Xavier Rhodes is alright, but his fellow corners are not.

Numbers never lie. Except when they do.

Numbers lied when they said that Robert Griffin III had a big day against the Packers. After all, 320 yards and three touchdowns isn’t a bad day at the office, but in reality, Griffin really just benefitted from a garbage-time stat stuffer.

But thanks to new-age stats sites like Pro Football Focus, anyone and everyone can access in-depth stats at the click of a mouse. So if I want to see how good/bad a player does in coverage, it’s pretty easy.

And the numbers say Vikings cornerback Josh Robinson is bad. Awfully bad.

Opposing quarterbacks have completed 56 of 66 targets on Robinson this season. That’s 84.8 percent of their passes–the worst mark in the NFL for a cornerback, along with a league-high 716 receiving yards. Add three touchdowns and no interceptions, and you’ve got yourself a 127.0 cumulative passer rating.

Robinson’s partner in crime, Chris Cook, has allowed 19 completions on 26 targets–again, a staggering 73.1 percent. Cook has been a sieve as far as allowing touchdowns, as he’s been responsible for four scores, despite being thrown at only 26 times. That’s not good for him, but really good for opposing offenses.

Xavier Rhodes, one of the team’s three first-round picks from last April, has shown flashes of why he was a Day 1 pick, although he’s certainly been exposed. The secondary’s lone bright spot will likely see a heavy dose of Jordy Nelson on Sunday, as the Packers will likely move him all around the formation, including the slot which is where he caught both of his touchdowns when the teams met in the MetroDome Oct. 27.

Of 107 cornerbacks that have played at least 25 percent of their team’s snaps, the Vikings have three players who rank 83 or lower on the list, according to Pro Football Focus. Here’s a closer look at how they’ve fared so far this season:

83. Xavier Rhodes (60.8% completion, 293 yards, o TD o INT. 79.3 QB rating)

84. Chris Cook (73.0% completion, 241 yards, 4 TD 0 INT. 141.2 QB rating)

101. Josh Robinson (84.8% completion, 716 yards, 3 TD 0 INT. 127.0 QB rating)

2

November

Cory’s Corner: Adversity makes Rodgers MVP worthy

Aaron Rodgers has been playing without his top weapons for two weeks and hasn't missed a beat.

Aaron Rodgers has been playing without his top weapons for two weeks and hasn’t missed a beat.

We all know that Aaron Rodgers is good.

But in the last two weeks he’s actually given us a value of how good.

With Randall Cobb and James Jones out with injury, he effortlessly beat Cleveland at home with only nine incompletions as he spread the wealth to eight different receivers.

And then last week, with Jermichael Finley out, he carved up the Vikings. He spread it around to six different receivers and of those, four were still getting used to being thrust into an increased role thanks to a rash of injuries.

Now I know the Browns and Vikings aren’t exactly the cream of any crop whatsoever, but Rodgers proved that he is the Packers’ puppet master.

In a year in which Peyton Manning is taking a machete to the passing record book, Rodgers just put himself in the NFL MVP discussion.

Everyone, including myself, didn’t think it was possible for Rodgers to jell with guys like Jarrett Boykin, a Jacksonville castoff, Myles White, a practice squad promotion, and Andrew Quarless, whose career has been truncated due to injury. The last time Quarless caught five passes in a game was Dec. 2010.

There’s a reason why these guys are backups. Obviously Randall Cobb, James Jones and Jermichael Finley are exponentially more talented than this trio. There’s a reason why Rodgers gets all the reps with the No. 1’s in preseason camp so they can quickly get on the same page and develop that needed nonverbal communication that’s so important for success.

Rodgers hasn’t been given that much time with White and Boykin. It’s only been a couple weeks. Usually quarterbacks begin their critical timing at mini-camp and follow that up with more reps at training camp, which lasts five weeks.

And the nice thing about Rodgers is that he hasn’t made any excuses. He keeps plugging along — and winning games for Brett Favre’s fantasy football team.

It looks like it’s going to be the same script again for Rodgers when the Bears come to Lambeau on Monday night. Cobb and Finley are out and Jones isn’t close to making a return. Rodgers’ numbers aren’t going to be as glossy as Manning’s. With a superior running game, Eddie Lacy has been cutting into some of Rodgers’ production, but that shouldn’t detract from Rodgers playing with the Misfit Toys (plus Jordy Nelson) going on three weeks.

28

October

Game Balls and Lame Calls: Packers 44, Vikings 31

Jordy Nelson caught two touchdowns, giving Myles White and the rest of the team reason to celebrate.

Jordy Nelson caught two touchdowns, giving Myles White and the rest of the team reason to celebrate.

The opening kickoff made it look like the Minnesota Vikings would have a shot to upset the Green Bay Packers in teams’ final meeting at the Metrodome, as Cordarrelle Patterson raced 109 yards for a touchdown.

But from then on, it was all Packers.

Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offense moved the ball up and down the field with ease throughout the game. Despite having Myles White as his No. 3 receiver and Andrew Quarless as the starting tight end, Rodgers threw for 285 yards and a pair of scores to go along with just five incompletions.

His two touchdowns–both to Jordy Nelson–were perfect. There’s no other way to put it, really. Rodgers zipped the ball right past the defender’s earhole on each throw, leaving the defender with no chance at deflecting the pass.

After the first scoring connection from Rodgers to Nelson, I tweeted, “If I’m Aaron Rodgers, I’m putting an ongoing loop of that throw on a projection screen. Maybe in every room of my house.” And I meant it.

Then, after Nelson’s 76-yard score, I, again, wanted share my admiration. However, I just couldn’t seem to think of the words. It was simply another perfect throw by one of the best quarterbacks in football.

That touchdown, ironically, reminded me of Rodgers’ crucial third-down dart to Greg Jennings in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLV. Jennings, now with quarterbacks Christian Ponder, Josh Freeman, Matt Cassell and the Minnesota Vikings, was targeted three times Sunday night and only caught one pass for nine yards.

It’s safe to say that, while wealthier, Jennings is not having a lot of fun wearing purple this season. And that’s nothing against the color.

Speaking of Jordy Nelson, I think it’s worth revisiting the unwritten rule that you can’t compare white wide receivers to anyone other than white wide receivers. Nelson isn’t Eric Decker or Ed McCaffrey. He’s not Wayne Chrebet or Wes Welker.

The guy is every bit of 6’3″ 217 pounds. He’s not the fastest receiver in the world, but he does everything you could possibly ask a wide receiver to do, and he does it well.

18

October

How will McCarthy Scheme Around Packers Injuries?

The steam is rising off of the head of Packers coach Mike McCarthy as his brain schemes ways around the loss of Randall Cobb and others.

There’s at least one person in Green Bay happy about all the injuries the Packers have suffered this season: The CEO of whichever electric utility provides power to the head coach’s office at Lambeau Field.

The lights will be on at all hours in the coming weeks as Mike McCarthy puts his mad scientist skills to work and tries to compensate for the loss of Randall Cobb, a hobbled James Jones and a slew of other injuries that threaten to disrupt the Packers offense.

If you haven’t already, read this post from Matt Bowen at Bleacher Report about how the Packers have rebuilt their running game and could incorporate more big formations and multiple tight end looks to make up for the loss of Cobb and others.

It’s a great read and makes a ton of sense, but then again, so do a lot of schematic type of things when they’re written on paper. Once the game starts and the bodies start flying, sometimes the game plan that seemed so innovative on Thursday is proven to be worthless after the first quarter of the actual game.

I have no doubt that McCarthy will incorporate a few formations and looks that maybe we haven’t seen out of the Packers recently. It’s one thing to come out with some unique looks. It’s another to use those looks to create mismatches and put players like Jarrett Boykin or Brandon Bostick — players who might be seeing a much bigger role after barely playing so far — in a position to succeed.

No matter what McCarthy comes up with, he’ll be hard-pressed to make it work unless Eddie Lacy and the running game keeps rolling. Assuming Lacy keeps doing what he’s been doing, does McCarthy have the patience to use the running game to set up his shot plays in the passing game?

McCarthy has always used the passing game to set up running plays. That mindset might have to change a little bit, at least for now.

We saw the impact an effective ground attack had in the win over the Ravens. Does the 64-yard TD to Jordy Nelson happen if Lacy hadn’t been rolling and the defense didn’t actually take the play-action fake seriously? Probably not.