Packing the Stats Follow-Up: Tracking Greg Jennings’ Targets

Last week we took a look at some statistics to help us answer the question, “Did Jermichael Finley Steal Attention From Greg Jennings?” During the first four games of the season, it seemed as if Jennings was losing productivity to Finley, who posted significantly more receiving yards and catches. However, after looking at the number of targets each receiver was getting in the first four weeks, we came to the conclusion that there was little evidence to support this claim.

Many of you responded positively to this presentation of data, and a couple of you – PackersRS and KS_Packer in particular – wanted to see more. Specifically, how did Greg Jennings’ targets change, if at all, during the remainder of the season after Finley was gone?

It was an interesting question, the results of which would definitely bolster our investigation into this quandary.

Let’s jump right in. Below is the raw data I collected in regards to who was targeted by Aaron Rodgers last season. As I did before, the most targets for a specific week are highlighted in green, and the most receptions are highlighted in yellow. Also, the totals for each position group are presented at the bottom of each chart to give an overall indication of how the ball was distributed.

In the interest of readability, I have broken up the data so that each chart represents four games, and they cover the regular season all the way through the Super Bowl run. You can click on each to get a higher resolution:


Click image for larger resolution.

Click image for larger resolution.

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Before we get into some other observations, let’s consider our original question: how did Greg Jennings’ targets change after Week 5? To answer this, let’s first extract his specific statistics and get rid of the extraneous information:

For each category, I highlighted both the highest (green) and lowest (red) numbers. Some extra statistical information (mean, median, and standard deviation) is also included for those categories they would help to explain the most.



Packing the Stats: Did Jermichael Finley Steal Attention From Greg Jennings?

*** Packing the Stats ***

As a new Collective Bargaining Agreement looms hopeful in the future, the return of Jermichael Finley to the Green Bay Packers offense has become an exciting topic of conversation. During the Week 5 game against the Washington Redskins, Finley suffered a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee, permanently sidelining him for the remainder of the 2010 season.

Now, after surgery and months of rehabilitation, the match-up nightmare tight end is set to return stronger than ever in 2011. (Even most of our readers agree he’ll be the “Comeback Player of the Year.”)

But some people have wondered: what is going to happen to Greg Jennings’ production with Finley back in the mix?

After not having a 100+ yard game until Week 6 (and after letting his frustrations be known publicly), Jennings seemed like he was being overlooked by offensive play-caller Mike McCarthy and quarterback Aaron Rodgers in favor of Finley. Even the fans started wondering why, over the first four games, Jennings only had 12 receptions for 161 yards.

Meanwhile, in that span of time, Finley had 21 receptions for 301 yards.

You can see where the criticism stems from. You’ve got the best receiver on the team apparently playing second fiddle to the best tight end on the team. Not only did Finley gain, on average, 35 more yards per game, he also had two games with 100+ receiving yards. Jennings had none.


1 @PHI 5 82 4 47
2 BUF 3 36 4 103
3 @CHI 2 18 9 115
4 DET 2 25 4 36
TOTAL: 12 161 21 301


Do these numbers tell the whole story, though?

I, for one, was skeptical.

Receptions and yards are a nice indicator of how good a receiver is. After all, a player with high stats in these areas is someone who can get open and make plays for the offense. They are the primary measurement of elite receivers.

However, any good Fantasy Football team manager will know that catches and receiving yards aren’t the whole story.