In the long, illustrious postseason history of the Green Bay Packers that includes 13 world championships and the NFL’s best playoff winning percentage of all-time (.638), several Packers wide receivers will never be forgotten for their contributions.
Boyd Dowler and Max McGee memorably hauled in passes from Bart Starr for the Vince Lombardi-era Packers that won the first two Super Bowls. Antonio Freeman and Robert Brooks were favorite targets of Brett Favre under Mike Holmgren.
And now, it’s Greg Jennings who’s creeping his way up into the Packers history books, on the precipice of setting records for the most receptions and yards in Packers postseason history.
Perhaps even more interesting is that Jennings could establish new marks and then bolt town, a free agent at season’s end.
Even Jennnings doesn’t think he’ll be back in Green Bay next season, having said as much during an interview with Steve Wyche and Mark Kriegel of NFL.com in December.
For the time being, however, Jennings and the rest of the Packers are concentrating on their current playoff run that continues Saturday with a road game against the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional round of the playoffs.
“Honestly, for us, it’s not so much about what (the 49ers) do, it’s about what we do,” said Jennings on Wednesday. “And that’s been our focus all week. We have to execute the plays that are drawn up and the plays that are called despite whatever defense, we have to make our play call right. ”
Experiencing postseason success is in the best interests of everyone on the Packers roster, including Jennings, in terms of what winning another Super Bowl trophy could do toward earning a new, lucrative contract whether it’s with the Packers or another team.
Jennings is already tied for first with the most 100-yard receiving games in Packers postseason history (three, tied with Freeman and Brooks) but could have the record all to himself with one more such outing.
Accomplishing such a feat is easier said than done when the Packers have one of the best and deepest receiving corps in the entire league.
Along with Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Randall Cobb, Jermichael Finley and others, Aaron Rodgers has plenty of options at his disposal. Just this past week in the wildcard matchup with the Minnesota Vikings, Rodgers spread the ball to 10 different players.
“It’s a tribute to the type of guys we’ve got,” said Rodgers. “It’s not often you have 10 skilled guys active like that, but we’ve got a lot of different guys who can do things for us.
“It’s hard to keep them all happy, but I think at this point in the season everybody has a common goal and that’s winning a championship, knowing that you kind of have to be selfless and realize that it’s all about that championship and whoever’s getting the throws that week, make the most of them, and the other guys block for them. They know that I’m going to go through my progressions and find the open guy.”
Jennings is also capable of setting records for the most receptions and receiving yards in Packers postseason history. He’s currently fourth on both those lists with 44 catches and 619 yards but still within striking distance of the top spot on each list.
If Jennings is able to able to become the most prolific receiver in the Packers playoff history, it’s also notable who he’ll surpass.
Donald Driver is currently the No. 1 leader in Packers postseason receptions with 49, so Jennings needs only five catches to tie Driver and six catches to leap-frog him.
On the receiving yardage list, Driver is No. 2 with 675 yards, behind only Freeman’s franchise-leading 748.
The way the season is unfolding, it’s not looking as if Driver will have an opportunity to add to his totals, having been inactive for the first playoff game and four of the past six games in all, despite being healthy and being one of the most popular players in team annals.
It’s possible and perhaps probable, that neither Driver nor Jennings will be back with the Packers next season. Driver is playing under a one-year contract, and it’s difficult to envision him spending another season in Green Bay following a 2012 campaign that saw him catch only eight passes.
The potential for Jennings’ return is slightly more optimistic. At 29 years old, he’s eight years younger than Driver, but the salary cap situation will play a role in how much money the Packers can afford to give Jennings.
As soon as this offseason, the Packers could offer substantial contract extensions to Rodgers, Clay Matthews and B.J. Raji. Jennings could find himself fourth in that pecking order.
But first things first. Jennings is worrying about a win in the playoffs this weekend before finding out what the offseason has in store.
“(The 49ers) do a good job in their scheme,” said Jennings, “but we feel like we do a good job with what we do with the guys we have on the field.”
Brian Carriveau is the author of “It’s Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America,” a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and an editor at Cheesehead TV. To contact Brian, email firstname.lastname@example.org.