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Abbrederis Proving to be an Asset in Practice

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Abbrederis Proving to be an Asset in Practice

As the Packers wean into the week leading up to Hall of Fame weekend and their first of five undesired preseason games, the position battles are continuing to heat up. Most noticeably with the wide receivers.

A month ago, the predictions for who would make the final 53-man roster - as early as it was - seemed clear. A popular choice not to be one of the last receivers standing was Jared Abbrederis, and rightfully so. Abbrederis is coming off a couple of injury plagued seasons where he missed all of 2014 with a torn ACL and fluctuated in 2015 with a concussion in the opening stages of training camp and a rib injury midway through the regular season. The fact that he's still even on the roster after injuries suffered in the first week of camp in back-to-back years is a testament to the belief the coaching staff has in the Wisconsin native. Going into the 2016 campaign, he's looking to stay healthy the whole way through.

Being healthy, however, isn't his only goal. Making the roster is going to take a mighty effort on Abbrederis' part with the competition boiling behind the three solidified receivers; Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Davante Adams. 

Abbrederis needs to fend off fan favorite and special teams salient Jeff Janis, fifth round draft pick Trevor Davis and arguably Ty Montgomery who has also shown off with his limited opportunities and is currently on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list. According to reporters in Green Bay, Abbrederis has done more than enough to help show up his competition.

"It's fitting Abbrederis' diving touchdown came one rep after Janis dropped a pass that hit his hands," wrote Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Ryan Wood and Tom Silverstein on Abbrederis' performance in Saturday's morning practice. "(Aaron) Rodgers' throw was behind Janis, forcing his receiver to turn almost 180 degrees. Still, Janis adjusted well enough for the football to smack both hands. He just couldn't hold on."

Consistent health is the biggest obstacle in Abbrederis' future.

Impressing in camp is something Abbrederis has mastered through the first week and even managed to earn Aaron Rodgers' approval. The third-year receiver has been precisely where Rodgers needs him to be with a combination of crisp route-running and well-placed footballs. 

In the long run, however, one solid week of practice means virtually nothing. Especially when a majority of those practices aren't in pads. Adams was also deemed the "offseason MVP" a year ago before going on to have a lack-luster season despite the phantom ankle injury that he masked well and the sudden role in the offense he was forced into with Nelson's absence. The hype isn't always justified.

The preseason will likely be the crucial measuring stick to use when deciphering where some of these receivers will end up, such as Davis who has also had his fair share of big moments through the week.

The rookie has fought for his spot on the team's roster and will have a flurry of opportunities to do so through the expanded preseason, as will Abbrederis. Not much was expected from Davis, taken in the later rounds as a speedy return man out of California. He brings a quick, elusive skill set to a wide receiver unit that was ranked as the slowest in the NFL in 2015. 

Davis and Janis bring to the table something that Abbrederis necessarily doesn't, and that's the third aspect of the game - special teams. 

Although Davis hasn't played a snap or ran back a kick at the professional level, a combination of evasive ability and a 4.4 40-yard dash set of wheels doesn't exactly vanish over the span of a few months. It may just be safe to assume that Davis will be an asset in the return game. Janis, meanwhile, has proven to be a quality kick returner and an even better gunner on punt coverage. That alone is enough is enough to stamp his spot on the final roster. Not because of the final drive in Arizona where, prior to that, he had just five receptions for 44 yards and a touchdown. Janis' route running needs work and that's definitely no secret.

Those specified roles in another phase of the game may just be enough to give both Davis and Janis a lift over Abbrederis when it comes to making the roster. If history has any fascination with repeating itself, which it does, the Packers may even go into 2016 with five receivers on the squad. Given last year's circumstances, though, that's highly unlikely.

The Packers are lucky. Very lucky. Having an onslaught of talent at a skill position is a good problem to have, but will eventually draw a lot of disdain from fans across the nation when their preferred receiver is cut or assigned to the practice squad.

Just last season, it seemed like there weren't enough wide receivers to help cease the sputtering of the Packers' offense. Now, it seems like there may be too many. Buckle up, this is going to be a fun ride.

__________________________

Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (30) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Tarynfor12's picture

If Montgomery isn't ready and that seems likely, and if Nelson is dealing with more than a hiccup, it would appear impossible for Abberderis to not make the roster of 6 receivers even if either Davis or Geronimo perform well. If the former are healthy and able to go week 1, a different outcome looms.

Chad Lundberg's picture

It would seem to me that the Packers just might have the best offense they've ever had. The offensive line is still the same unit that played in 2014, the running game is strong and solid with Eddie Lacy and James Starks and the wide receiver position is overfilled and we have two capable tight ends.

croatpackfan's picture

I do not get it. While I expect Davante to show some real progress, I consider Jared 4/5th receiver. He knows playbook, he knows routes, he is precise, he is team player, he has great hands, he has Aaron's trust and he was security blanket all his career and can be the one for Aaron. Jared was QB in high school, so he understands Aaron's position and needs.
Still, I do not know anyone here who will not be pissed of if he will make 53 this year. I really do not get it.
Maybe that is because I'm stupid and have little knowledge about football. I really do not know...

LeagueObsrvr's picture

Agreed, croatpackfan, the margin that seperates these guys seems razor thin, and as the article points out, the deciding factor may come down to what they can contribute to special teams, which may mean Abby is the odd-man-out. It's so hard to predict. On another note, I just saw that James Jones was picked up by the Chargers, good for him.

BELIEVER's picture

Only thing might prevent it is an injury, it's a given he will get hurt.

Oppy's picture

Agreed, croat..

Abby is extremely under rated by most Packers fans.

He's a gamer. Only concern u have with Abby is his health. One more concussion miight end his career.

lucky953's picture

It may be brutal, but it's all about production. If he's finally healthy, he'll be a significant contributor given the aforementioned assets. He's just seemed so dang fragile-- like one hard hit and he misses 5 games. For the Packers sake, I hope that's all behind him now.

Nick Perry's picture

I'll be pissed Croat, and not because he played for the Badgers. Always good to see "Hometown Guys" do well, but Abby is exactly the type of player if cut would come back and haunt the Packers. He's quick, runs great routes and catches the ball when thrown his way, and has Rodgers trust. That's more than Janis, Adams, and Davis. are even close to having so Abby is ahead of all of them in my mind. Obviously they'll give Adams every chance to be the #3 but if everything I've read is true, then Abby should be ahead of Adams already.
I understand his primary position is the "Slot", but if they REALLY keep the BEST 53, then Abby should make the team.

RCPackerFan's picture

The position I was looking forward to seeing the most was the WR position. There is just a lot of talent at that position.

I am really looking forward to seeing what it looks like after Nelson and Montgomery come back.

I think Abbrederis will be a bigger part of the offense. One trait that he brings as good as anyone else is his route running. He just finds ways to get open. He also is building a really good rapport with Rodgers. He is building that trust of knowing where he is supposed to be.

DrealynWilliams's picture

That entire last paragraph doesn't sound like a player fighting for a roster spot.

RCPackerFan's picture

I personally don't think he is. I am sure i'm in the minority saying that. I just don't think he is.

DrealynWilliams's picture

Then we both are. I said from the jump all Abby has to do is stay healthy and he's pretty much a lock. Rodgers loves him.

RCPackerFan's picture

I am one that believes if all the WR's are healthy that there is a really good chance they keep 7. But at this point we still haven't seen 2 of the WR's come off of the pup list.

Turophile's picture

At this early stage, because of the depth of talent there, I'm expecting six WRs to be kept. They would be Nelson, Cobb, Montgomery, Adams, Janis and Abbrederis.

That means Davis would go to the PS, along with at least one of the longer shot prospects Allison, Binford, Williams, Johnson, Waters. Will Davis then get claimed for another teams final 53, very possibly.

Keeping only Five WRS means the Packers are more likely to cut Abbrederis than Adams (a high pick) or Janis (a key ST player). ST play is very important for guys at the back end of a position, ie backup TE, LB, Safety, CB, RB and WR.

Ibleedgreenmore's picture

Davis might last a day there, I do not see it who knows what injuries happen it has been a yearly thing. The thing I am looking forward to is who is going to push the other. Its possible Mont is on pup for a bit who knows at this point.

Ryan Brunner's picture

I just don't see a way that Davis doesn't make this team. Way too much speed and talent to let hit the waiver wire.

Bearmeat's picture

What we're forgetting here is that it's quite possible Monty goes on PUP to start the year. I hope that's not the case, but that was an ugly ankle injury that he may never recover from.

I would agree there will be 6 WRs. My personal bet is Monty on PUP and the other 6 make the team.

al bundy's picture

If he cant go this year the bettet option is to part ways with him via the injury insurance program. You would not keep him, pay him when you have an entire draft to replace him.

al bundy's picture

Kind of hard not to make this team i would think. As far as talent, which ones not named nelson is a star? None showed much last year.

BELIEVER's picture

I'm with you Al, I don't see all this talent at wide out. Who is a number one wide out after Nelson. What there is a bunch of 3 and 4 wide recievers. Are we the only fans that remember last year?

RCPackerFan's picture

I remember Cobb playing with an injured shoulder, Adams playing with a bad ankle, Abbrederis coming off of a bad concussion, and Montgomery getting injured early in the year and never coming back.

I remember a lot of injuries to the position.

Squeakywheeler's picture

It has been mentioned by many so it's just overstating. In my mind, there is no way Montgomery will be ready to start the season. He will start off on the PUP. This will give the Packers 6 wks to wait for an injury or see what adjustments can be made at that time. So we will keep the remaining 6WR's if healthy.

I love Montgomery. I think he's going to be very good. It's just that his ankle has been way worse than the team would say for a long time. Then he had surgery. Then he was spending all his time in the pool rehabbing then finally light running. Point is, he has been out football and football shape for a very long time. There's no way he can make that kind of progress to start the season on the active roster.

If all the other six perform well in camp and stay healthy they will keep them all and give Monty more time. Heck, any one of these guys if cut (or try to sneak one on the PS they would be GONE). Ted would not allow that to happen.

Ibleedgreenmore's picture

Its perfect sense to have Monty on PUP really its one of the tools they have to use.

Dustin Evans's picture

I still think they keep seven. Ty will probably still be on the pup list like everyone says but when he comes back they keep every WR without cutting any of them. We kept two fullbacks last year with one of them strictly special teaming except for a handful of snaps in Rip. Not going in to this season with two this year why not use that special team spot for Janis and keep Abby in the mix as a number four wide out. All he does is get open and keeps drives alive. That's all I want in are receivers and Abby hasnt disappointed.

Bearmeat's picture

MOOOOO!!!

stockholder's picture

If as you guys think Montgomery goes to the pup list. He won't ever be a packer WR. His time is now! He has to make the roster. The depth at WR, and the draft will push him off the roster. My example is james Jones , jarret Boykin and Kuhn. If the speed goes they go.

chaka's picture

Pack should reach out to Colt Lyerla so they can have a real TE.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Abby averaged 10.7 yds on 55 punt returns in college. He has good hands, one of the reasons we put Hyde back on punts. We do have a few players who could perhaps handle PR, and I can't picture Abby on coverage teams, so STs is just a minor factor in the decision whether to keep Abby.

Otherwise, I agree with Danny. Davis being so raw is a good PS candidate - but this is always subject to how he performs during preseason. Annual hand-wringing about putting players on PS - they generally get there just fine.

dobber's picture

I tend to agree: if Davis plays well enough in preseason that we have to worry about him getting to the practice squad, he'll likely make the 53. If he doesn't play well enough to make the 53, who will put him on their 53?

packsmack's picture

"Not because of the final drive in Arizona where, prior to that, he had just five receptions for 44 yards and a touchdown."

In other words, still lead the team in catches and TDs to that point despite not starting? Got it.

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