6

August

Packers Training Camp Report: Just How Good is Randall Cobb?

Packers WR Randall Cobb

Packers WR Randall Cobb

From the moment Randall Cobb first arrived in Green Bay, it was apparent that the former Kentucky star would add yet another wrinkle in the Packers already potent offense.

As a rookie, Cobb quickly emerged as a homerun threat in the return game—something the Packers haven’t had since the mid 1990s with Desmond Howard. And while Cobb hasn’t collected as much hardware as the former Heisman trophy winner and Super Bowl XXXI MVP, the second-year wide receiver possesses a diverse skillset unparalleled by any Packer in recent memory.

And throughout the early goings of training camp, it’s clear that Cobb is on the verge of an expanded role within the Packers’ offense.

Starting wide receivers Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson form quite possibly the best duo in all of football, leaving veterans Donald Driver and James Jones as Cobb’s primary competition for playing time. Jones and Driver have shown flashes in training camp, but neither player is the “X-Factor” that Cobb is.

With Cobb, head coach Mike McCarthy feels like a kid in a candy store—if the candy store were located in the middle of Disney World and handing out free Hot Wheels cars.

In just over a week of training camp, Cobb has taken snaps as the team’s placeholder on field goals, lined up in the slot, the perimeter and the backfield, while being featured on bubble screens, reverses and at least one reverse pass.

As a slot receiver, Cobb has shown the ability to settle within holes in zone coverage, and his ability to explode after the catch stands out among his peers. Cobb’s explosiveness was on display towards the end of Sunday night’s practice, as he caught a crossing route from Graham Harrell and immediately accelerated past the defense on the way to what likely would have been a 30-yard touchdown.

It’s unmistakable that Cobb has a very bright future with the Packers. But since his repertoire of offensive skills is different than the rest of the team’s receivers, Cobb could be in line for a heavy workload in his second NFL season.

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Marques is a Journalism student, serving as the Sports Editor of UW-Green Bay\'s campus newspaper The Fourth Estate and a Packers writer at Jersey Al\'s AllGBP.com. Follow Marques on Twitter @MJEversoll.

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18

September

Packers’ Chastin West Signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars

Chastin West

According to his Twitter Feed,  wide receiver Chastin West has been signed off of the Packers Practice Squad by the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Stats: Attended Fresno State, (6’1”, 216lbs) WR.  Combine Stats: 4.59 40yd time, 2.64 20yd.,  1.61 10yd time, 4.42 20yd shuttle, 7.12 3-cone,  33.5” vertical, 15 reps@225lbs, and a 9’1” broad jump. Ranked 64 out of 276  Wide receivers by NFLDraftScout.com.

West had five catches for 134 yards in the preseason game against the Cardinals, but only managed three catches for 18 yards in the other three preseason games. West flashed some potential at times during camp, but never stood out. West was then signed to the Packers practice squad for the second straight year.

 

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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.

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11

September

Despite Slow Start, James Jones Still a Weapon for Packers

Don't give up on James Jones just yet.

Packers WR James Jones didn’t see much action Thursday Night against the Saints.  Does this mean the Packers don’t need him or won’t use him?

It reminds me of a guy I know who has a basement full of weapons. Guns, ammo, knives, night-vision goggles, explosives, flares, etc., etc. If you hear of  something blowing up and creating a giant hole, it’s likely in his basement.

I always chuckle when I’m at his house. If you go downstairs to get a beer, chances are good that you’ll have to step over an AK-47 or a giant tub full of bullets the size of your arm to gain access to the fridge. People’s reactions to these weapons differ. Some are fascinated, some are frightened, some wonder why he has so many and some don’t know what to think.

It’s the same with the Packers WRs. There are so many weapons, that people get overwhelmed, probably even the WRs themselves.

James Jones is probably the one overwhelmed right now. He was only targeted once on Thursday night while everyone else seemed to get all kinds of opportunities, even if they weren’t open.

People are wondering why the Packers bothered to resign Jones in the offseason. They just drafted Randall Cobb. Jordy Nelson appears ready for a breakout season and Jermichael Finley was returning. Why did the Packers need to spend over $9 million on Jones, a player that causes just as much frustration as he does excitement?

I’ve always liked Jones and probably give him more love than he deserves, but I’m glad the Packers resigned him and I wouldn’t write him off just yet.

While the rest of the roster has dropped like flies, Packers WRs have been abnormally healthy. Jennings hasn’t missed a game since 2007. Nelson missed three games in 2009, but has otherwise stayed on the field; and Driver has only missed three games since becoming a full-time starter in 2002.

If the Packers luck on keeping their WRs healthy runs out, someone is going to have to fill in. Like Frank Zombo, Charlie Peprah and Jackson/Kuhn/Starks were at various positions last season, Jones is an ideal depth guy at WR and could adequately replace one of the other guys (speaking of health, Jones has only missed six games in his career).

20

June

The Uncertain Future of James “Rocksteady” Jones in Green Bay

If you’re a 20-something fan like me (and I should apologize to the readers who may have no idea what I’m talking about in the following lines), the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were likely one of your favorite cartoons growing up. If that’s the case, you’ll also likely remember “Rocksteady,” one of the evil henchmen that the four turtles routinely fought against.

Naturally, I’m sure you’re thinking: What in the world does this have to do with Green Bay Packers receiver James Jones?

To be honest, there’s very little comparison between the two in either appearance or personality. Jones is neither a bi-pedal rhino or a crime-loving henchman from my own observations.

But the nickname? It’s perfect for Jones.

He’s proven to have “Rock” hands in some of the worst situations over his short career, dropping a handful of big passes in 2010 that nearly cost the Packers several games. Drops against the Jets, Eagles and Steelers are the first to come to my mind, but there has been several others.

And I think most fans will admit that they’ve grown tired of passes that have no business being dropped hitting the turf because of Jones. Honestly, who didn’t post something on Twitter in the moments after Jones’s drop against the Eagles in the Wild Card round about his long-term future in Green Bay?

In fact, I’m sure there will be commenters on this very post that say they want nothing to do with Jones because of those drops—and that’s understandable.

But to be fair to Jones, you also have to say he’s been “steady” too.

As the Packers’ third, and sometimes fourth, receiving option over the past four years, Jones has caught 149 passes for over 2,000 yards and 13 touchdowns. During his two best seasons (2007 and ’10), Jones caught over 45 passes for nearly 700 yards in both years. What more could you expect or want out of a guy in his role?

To that point, I think there is very few who would say Jones isn’t a talented receiver. Even if the Packers’ offense gives him favorable opportunities, you have to be able to take advantage of those mismatches—and Jones, for the most part, has done that.

Obviously, the similarities between James Jones and Rocksteady are striking.

6

April

2011 Draft Prep: Green Bay Packers Needs by Position – Wide Receivers

In this next installment of our 2011 Draft Prep series looking at the Green Bay Packers’ needs by position, we are going to analyze how the wide receiver position currently stands. Strengths, weaknesses, depth, and uncertainties will all be examined to determine the urgency of need in regards to next season.

This series is meant to help us figure out the needs of the team and how the draft could be used to improve the weaker areas. While Ted Thompson largely uses the “best player available” (BPA) approach, his decision to trade up or down the board is affected by what position players he would prefer to have. Additionally, the picking up of players in the later rounds and in undrafted free agency is often based on need, since the talent is less defined.

CURRENT PLAYERS:

#80 Donald Driver
36 yrs. old / 12 yrs. exp.
Signed through 2012

#85 Greg Jennings
27 yrs. old / 5 yrs. exp.
Signed through 2012

#87 Jordy Nelson
25 yrs. old / 3 yrs. exp.
Signed through 2011

#11 Chastin West
23 yrs. old / 1 yrs. exp.
Signed to reserve/future contract

#17 Antonio Robinson
25 yrs. old / 1 yrs. exp.
Signed to reserve/future contract

#16 Brett Swain
25 yrs. old / 2 yrs. exp.
Restricted Free Agent

#89 James Jones
26 yrs. old / 4 yrs. exp.
Free Agent (tender offered)

* Contract information acquired from RotoWorld.com

POSITION STRENGTHS:

It’s no secret why Mike McCarthy runs a pass-heavy offense. As fellow blogger Adam Czech recently pointed out, “the Packers receivers are among the most dangerous in the NFL.” Combined with the arm of Aaron Rodgers, this unit is easily one of the best in the league.

At the top is Greg Jennings, the vertical threat who runs some of the best routes in the game. He has put up over 1,100 yards in each of his last three seasons. Behind Jennings is Donald Driver, the dependable veteran who fights for every ball and every yard – a man whose motor never stops running. He is the Green Bay Packers’ all-time leader in receptions with 698 and sits only 41 yards behind leader James Lofton in career receiving yards.

15

March

According to Hobbes: Packers Offseason Primer on the NFL Combine: Wide Recievers

Wide Receivers: Here’s the third of a series of articles looking specifically at the NFL combine and the Packers’ drafting tendencies. (read here for the rationale for this series and here for quarterbacks and here for running backs).  This article will use the combine numbers from previous players drafted by GM Ted Thompson as a guide for what wide receivers are likely to fit into the Packers’ scheme.

Again, this is merely an attempt to make a best guess based on statistics at which players the Packers might be interested in, game tape naturally trumps combine numbers, so take all of this with a grain of salt.  But I believe it will make for some interesting discussion. Listed below are two wide receivers in this year’s draft who I think fit the Packers scheme the best, based on their combine numbers.

Statistics of wide receivers drafted by the Packers:

Name Height Weight 40-Yard 3-Cone Shuttle Vertical Broad Bench
Terrence Murphy 6’1” 202.00 4.39
Craig Bragg 6’1” 196.00 4.45 36.00
Greg Jennings 5’11” 195.00 4.42 6.69 4.18 36.50 117.00
Cory Rodgers 6’0” 188.00 4.58 7.38 4.19 33.50 110.00
James Jones 6’1” 208.00 4.54 7.06 4.20 34.00 119.00 22.00
David Clowney 6’1” 190.00 4.36 7.00 4.15 32.50 123.00
Jordy Nelson 6’3” 215.00 4.51 7.03 4.35 31.00 123.00
Brett Swain 6’1” 200.00 4.40
Average 6’1″ 199.25 4.46 7.03 4.21 33.92 118.40 22.00
StDev 1.13 9.05 0.08 0.24 0.08 2.08 5.37 N/A

What the Packers are looking for: Ted Thompson is in love with wide receivers; the Packers had arguably the deepest wide receiver core in the league and it definitely helped them during their Super Bowl run.  Add to that Thompson always brings in a couple of wide receivers into camp and the fact that wide receivers are tied for the most drafted with 8 and it becomes apparent that wide receiver position is a big deal for Thompson (ironically, he’s somehow avoided the curse of Matt Millen by drafting 3 wide receivers high in the draft and hasn’t really had a bust)

8

March

Green Bay Packers 2010 Player Evaluations — Offense — James Jones

1) Introduction: Drafted in the third round of the 2007 draft, Packers receiver James Jones has battled through an up and down start to his NFL career. Jones started nine games in his rookie season and caught 47 passes for 676 yards, but he only managed 52 catches and 714 yards the next two seasons (2008-09). A lingering knee injury contributed to his lack of production in 2008 as he only saw the field in 10 games.

When healthy, however, Jones can be a difference maker in the passing game. He has a big frame (6’1″, 208 lbs), and underrated straight line speed that often sees him getting behind defenders. Jones might not have the ceiling of a No. 1 receiver, but he’s one of the best No. 3 receivers in the NFL today.

2) Profile:

James Deandre Jones

Position: WR
Height: 6-1    Weight: 208 lbs.

Born: March 31, 1984 in San Jose, CA
College: San Jose State (school history)    (Jones college stats)
Drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the 3rd round (78th overall) of the 2007 NFL Draft.

3) Expectations coming into the season for that player: Mixed. His rookie season gave us a brief glimpse of what Jones could do over the course of a season, but injuries and a frustrating lack on consistency kept Jones from breaking out in the Packers offense.

In addition, both Greg Jennings and Donald Driver were coming off 1,000 yard seasons, and Jermichael Finley figured to become a bigger part of the offense. While having a bevy of weapons is surely a luxury, there are only so many footballs to go around and it was unsure how many Jones would see in 2010.

4) Player’s highlights/lowlights: To be honest, the entire 2010 season was a mix of highlights and lowlights for Jones. The Packers bi-polar receiver was either making you say “wow!” after a sure-handed reception or causing you to throw beverages at your television screen after the easiest of drops.

Jones started his highlights in Week 3 against the Buffalo Bills, as he made a nice adjustment on a back shoulder throw from Aaron Rodgers for a 30-yard touchdown. In Weeks 7 (vs. Minnesota), 8 (vs. Dallas) amd 10 (at Minnesota), Jones caught a combined 15 passes for 271 yards and two touchdowns.