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Packers Rookie WR Jeff Janis Impresses in Preseason Win Over Rams

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Packers Rookie WR Jeff Janis Impresses in Preseason Win Over Rams

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jeff Janis by Jasen Vinlove—USA Today Sports.

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jeff Janis by Jasen Vinlove—USA Today Sports.

Jeff Janis was downright giddy after scoring a touchdown in his professional game debut Saturday in the Green Bay Packers' 21-7 win at the St. Louis Rams.

"I don't really know what happened after that," said Janis. "I kind of blacked out. Yeah, it was pretty exciting, though."

It's been a long road for Janis, coming from Division II college football at Saginaw Valley State all the way to the ranks of the NFL.

After suffering from a rare case of Shingles for a 23-year old at the outset of training camp, Janis has been forced to wait his turn.

Missing the first week of practice and then the team's first preseason game at Tennessee, it wasn't until Saturday that the public at large could appreciate the ample talent stored inside the body of his 6-3, 219-pound frame.

Most impressive was Janis' speed, the way he took a third quarter pass from quarterback Matt Flynn on a drag route underneath the coverage of the defense for a 34-yard catch-and-run to paydirt. He turned the corner and out-sprinted those in pursuit.

As a rookie, as a seventh round draft choice, Janis thinks he's flying under the radar right now, his swift speed perhaps not getting the respect it deserves.

"I think probably right now they're not going to realize how fast I am, so I think that's going to work out in my my favor," said Janis. "So hopefully it takes them a little while to realize that."

The coaching staff did their best to bring Janis back down to Earth after that dash to the endzone, however.

"Even on my touchdown, the first thing Coach said was 'Ball security wasn't as good as it should be,'" said Janis. "That's something you got to just keep working on."

Even so, the talent wide receivers coach Edgar Bennett and head coach Mike McCarthy have on their hands is evident.

It might be up in the air whether the Packers carry five or six wide receivers on their regular season 53-man roser, but it no longer seems to be in question whether Janis will be among them.

If released, the Packers won't get another sniff at Janis. He'd be picked up by another team in an instant, intrigued by his height-weight-speed combination.

"It was great to get Jeff out there finally," said McCarthy. "It was a great experience for him. He continues to do something every day, and that's something you look for. I thought our big-play production as a football team was very high and obviously (Jeff) did an excellent job on the touchdown throw, him and Matt (Flynn) were definitely in synch there. So we like the timing of that. We're getting better, young players getting better."

Every day that passes it's looking as if the Packers have to somehow get Janis involved, get the ball in his hands, and it's going to be difficult with wide receivers like Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Jarrett Boykin and even second round draft chocie Davante Adams ahead of him on the depth chart.

One way to do so looks as if it might be on special teams, where Janis got an opportunity on Saturday to see if he can handle punt returns.

Janis dropped back three times to return punts against Rams. He wasn't put in a difficult position, having to catch the football on run or with a defender in his face. But he did look comfortable back there, and maybe that's more important than anything else.

On three punts, Janis returned one for nine yards, called for a fair catch and watched another sail out of bounds.

All in all, it could be considered a successful first outing for the rookie.

"I felt pretty good," said Janis.

He looked good too.

Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor at Cheesehead TV and its "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (36) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

DrealynWilliams's picture

Is that...a....young Jordy...?

Cheesestradamus's picture

Jeff Janis AKA "Jordy Lite"

Nick Perry's picture

I was just rewatching the Packers game and Janis's TD. He doesn't even look like he's running that fast but once he turned the corner he was gone. It will be interesting to see Janis progress during the season, Adams too. As the season progresses and guys like Janis, Adams, and Rodgers II some game time under belts, this team will be just that much stronger at the end of year. Should be fun!

The TKstinator's picture

He looked very un slow.

GatorJason's picture

Jeff Janis is more white chocolate on the Packer roster. He is slightly bigger and faster than Jordy and his crew-cut is slightly longer. Jeff is as good of a WR as Jordy was as a rookie but not seasoned/skilled enough to be in Jordy's class now. Janis deserves to be on the Packer roster not only because of his receiving potential, he can actually help Special Teams as a returner and on coverage. He should be the #5 WR with White or Dorsey making #6 IF they can show enough value on ST.

COW's picture

Is it really so hard to find a punt returner?
I'm to the point where I just want to see the ball caught cleanly.

Even Cobb has had some muffs.

Everyone who goes back there looks lost.

At least Janis caught it without bobbling it.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

"I'm to the point where I just want to see the ball caught cleanly."

I completely agree. Just get the ball and and give it to Rodgers and Lacy.

GoldFinger's picture

Which is why I said Micah Hyde is the clear cut choice as he catches punts better than anyone on the team including Cobb.

The Packers obviously want someone ANYONE other than Hyde and Cobb to do it and based on that the ONLY possible person left that fits that description is probably Jeff Janis. If that's the case they better have him back there catching all the punts in the next two preseason games and forget about anymore tryouts especially Davante Adams who is trying to do his best Walter Stanley going backwards imitation. Janis appears to at least be serviceable as far as just catching the ball.

How come every damn year under Slocum we seem to have these problems? As Cow says, is it that damn hard to catch a punt? Since when did this become such a rare skill? Good Lord. You would think these young guys who grew up texting and driving would be able to catch a punt and look ahead to see if someone is coming. It's the same thing when you think about it.

Stroh's picture

The numbers don't support your claim of Hyde being more reliable than Cobb. 24 career returns and 2 fumbles. Cobb has 60 career returns and 5. Both are one every 12 returns. I feel every bit as good w/ Cobb on returns as Hyde. Not too mention he's more elusive.

Go ahead and keep ignoring the facts tho. You seem to be really good at it!

As I posted early last week, McCarthy himself said he has to get away from being cautious about using starters on returns. He said that bad things happen w/ that kind of thinking.

GoldFinger's picture

I don't need numbers or facts. I have my eyes Stroh. It's pretty clear to me that Michah Hyde is the best at catching punts on the team. Yes, he's more smooth than Cobb is. Anyone can see that. Not talking about whether he fumbles or not. I am talking strictly at HOW he catches the punt. It's smooth as silk. The best on the team by far. Puts everyone especially the coaching staff at ease. If they are idiots and want to push their luck they'll put Cobb out there and he'll eventually get hurt all for that extra 3.5 punt return average.

Stick Hyde in game one against Seattle and put in the green rookie Janis after that. Leave Cobb the f alone and let him play receiver. Just my humble opinion. I am sure you will disagree naturally.

Stroh's picture

Apparently you've been watching w/ your eyes closed again. Just like Bernice did.

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

Stroh, I agree with MM statement about getting away from being cautious. I'm not sure throwing Cobb in the mix is the right thing, whether he is the best we have or not, especially after being hurt most of last year. I don't want to look for trouble on GB, & I certainly don't think I know more than MM, but I don't want to use Cobb to return anything. He's just to valuable as a receiver. Not sure if returning punts or kickoffs is in his comfort zone. I know we used Robert Brooks & Antonio Freeman as return men, & they did well, but each of those guy's wasn't coming back from a broken leg. I think we best find another return guy, at least for this year. I'd call Desmond Howard up, before I'd use Cobb, LVT

Stroh's picture

If Cobb is so valuable on offense why didn't the packers offense miss a beat when he was injured? Just saying...

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

Stroh, The point I was trying to make about Cobb is, He has what it takes to be a Great Returner. (Reckless Abandon). That's what gets you hurt. Do you think it's worth Risking him for another season? How do you know they didn't miss a beat? I want to get to the end of the season with all of our Best Players. Can't remember their names, but we had 2 good returners after DH. They can find a Return Guy, if they want to. Cobb is not the guy to occupy that spot, not this year. At least, I'd like to see him get some games under his belt 1st.

Stroh's picture

I play to win. Not afraid of injury. Put my best playmakers in position to make plays. That means I use Cobb on PR.

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

Stroh, I'm not going to argue with you. You can think what you want, but you are wrong on this one. If Cobb is the only guy we got that can catch & run back a punt, we're in trouble. You're welcome to your opinion. I disagree, because of the broken leg issue. That's my opinion. LVT

Stroh's picture

The broken keg was on offense. Bt your logic we shouldn't play him on offense I guess. MM came out abd said he's getting away frim NOT using starters on returns. Seems he or Hyde wilo be doing it. My preference isCobb. He's the best at it. And PR aren't nearly as dangerous as KR.

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

Stroh, Offense or Defense, doesn't have anything to do with my logic. My logic has to do with a Great Player who is coming back from a Broken Leg. There are different moves involved in Pass Receiving, & Punt Returning. When you take someone out of his Element, you are looking for trouble. If it weren't for the Broken Leg, & what Cobb means to the offense, I would agree with you, he should be the guy returning punts. Don't make a Stupid Statement like my logic says he shouldn't be playing offense either. This year Cobb because of the player he is, & because he's coming off of a Broken Leg, should not be taken out of his element, ( What he does best!!), Pass Receiving. If you can't see that, you know a lot less than what you want fans to believe. I agree, PR is a lot less dangerous than KR's. I don't want to risk a player of his caliber. I'll be surprised if MM uses him for PR's. If he does, we have a much better receiving core, than anyone knows.

Stroh's picture

He came back from the broken leg last year and has had another full offseason for the bone to heal. If it wasn't already healed fully he wouldn't have gotten clearance from the Packers Dr's end of last year. The broken bone is a non-issue... So you need to drop that line of reasoning.

IMO Cobb is very much in his element on PR, as well as WR. The plants and cuts aren't different on offense they're just more premeditiated and on PR are more improvised. Cobb was drafted to be a slot WR and primary return man.

Per MM... Paraphrasing. "I've got to get away from being cautious and not using starters on Returns. I think bad things happen when you think that way. We've got to get playmakers in position to make plays."

He didn't say who was going to be doing them, but its clear from that statement that he's not going to shy away from possibly using Cobb or maybe Hyde. If he sticks to what he said, then Cobb is the more elusive and easily best PR the Packers have. Personally I wouldn't have taken him off PR at all. He is dynamic and elusive. Let him do what he was drafted for. Dieon Sanders did it his entire career. Can't tell me he wasn't more important than Cobb to his teams. Like I said, its playing scared. Hyde is good, but Cobb is more dangerous. PR isn't that dangerous, not like KR is.

I play to WIN. I don't play not too get injured. Injuries are going to happen whether offense, defense or ST. Put your best playmakers in position to make plays. Cobb does that on PR. There's no right or wrong and I'm not going to get into who know more about football. Your statement about that is ludicrous at best. You have your opinion and I have mine. And apparently MM has changed his thinking to my side of the issue!

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

Stroh, I personally think it's too big a risk to use Cobb on any returns, but you & MM know more than I do. LVT

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Agreed. And if the kick-off return unit can't refrain from committing penalties, we might be better off taking a knee every time, too. I know it is early, but come on, Slocum, clean this stuff up.

The TKstinator's picture

I don't like the idea of any front line player (starter) serving as punt or kick returner.

Clay Zombo's picture

Jordy is White Chocolate. Janis is White Lightning.

Stroh's picture

Why all the racial descriptives? Its kinda racist, whether its white or black, who cares?

I'm not saying your racist, but stop w/ the racial descriptives.

RCPackerFan's picture

I do find it funny how a lot of members in the media tend to compare players to other players of the same race. I remember a few years ago a lot of guys were comparing Jordy to Wes Welker. Really good comparison considering Jordy is what about 6" taller.

I will say that I do feel like Nelson doesn't get the recognition he deserves a bit and I do think some of it has to do with him being white.

All this being said though, Janis does remind me of Nelson. Similar size and build.

Guisado's picture

White chocolate? Jordy's white bread. Like Woody Guthrie and Tim Allen. And that's fine. Love the guy. But he ain't no white chocolate. Let's not get crazy.

GoldFinger's picture

How about calling Janis "The White Shadow" since he's almost identical to Jordy. He's Jordy's shadow. That would also be more politically correct and people wouldn't think anyone here is a racist. Can't have that. Nope.

P.S. For your info. The White Shadow was a tv series about some high school basketball team in 1978. Coolige was my favorite character

Stroh's picture

Call him the Jordy Shadow and leave the racial part of it completely out of the equation. Of course you could only do that if you weren't racist...

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

Stroh, No one is being Racist here. GJ's once said on the news, " Jordy can't run that fast, he's a White guy" It was said in the locker room with Jordy & others right there laughing. Things are said by both Blacks & Whites in Jest, or for fun. If it doesn't hurt anyone, it's not Racist. And don't call me Racist, I am still JJ's Biggest Fan. Actually, I am a Racist, I just don't have any particular color in mind. LVT

GoldFinger's picture

I am also thinking of calling the two "Two Live Crew" in honor of both of them having crew cuts. Still brainstorming here.

GoldFinger's picture

How about Farm and Feet. lol

Jordy being a farmer and Janis for his speed (feet)

Again, just brainstorming for some type of nickname or combo nickname.

SI. You listening. Make up a poster like you used to do years ago. Have Jordy in a farmer's outfit with a straw hat and hayseed in his mouth carrying a football and Janis sitting down showing his feet. I'll only request 25% of sales for my idea. Thank you.

P.s. While you are at it, make another poster of Ted Thompson sitting at a card table playing poker looking straight ahead with those beedy eyes and title it." He who blinks first loses". We're talking millions here. lol

ben's picture


But I'm asking for just a mere 20% of sales for the combo nickname of "Farm & Fleet", not "farm and feet", but "Farm & Fleet."

at just 20%

Mojo's picture

Farm and Fleet. Excellent.

I like Janis too, but let's not anoint him the next Jerry Rice just yet. He made one fairly simple catch. When he makes a number of big difficult plays under pressure, then we know we have something. Until then he's just an appealing prospect.

GoldFinger's picture

lol... yes, believe me I would have used Farm and Fleet but I believe there would be some type of copyright infringement issues with that name but I was working off the Farm and Fleet and used Feet instead.

So this is how it works ey? I come up with the name and some guy steps in and undercuts me?

I feel like Kramer from Seinfeld who invented "The Beach" and Calvin Klein stole his idea. lol

White92's picture

I was worried about receiver depth going into this season.

My fears have been calmed for now.

Let's see how they (Adams, Janis) perform when it counts.

The TKstinator's picture

And, don't forget, it's not like these guys are being counted on to be major contributors. GB has Jordy, Randall, and Jarrett in front of them. A good situation for a young guy to learn, grow, and contribute what he can.

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