Create Account

Or log in with Facebook


Log in

Or log in with Facebook

Angsty criticism could -- and should -- kick Packers' young WRs into second gear

By Category

Angsty criticism could -- and should -- kick Packers' young WRs into second gear

-- For as frustrated as Aaron Rodgers is, the Green Bay Packers' star signal-caller won't be able to act on those frustrations until the team's next practice on Sunday, August 12.

Rodgers ran the Packers' scout team offense on Tuesday, a sure sign that he won't be suiting up in Thursday night's preseason opener against the Tennesee Titans. Rodgers hasn't played in an inaugural preseason game since 2015.

It's safe to assume Rodgers hasn't worked with such an experienced group of receivers since taking over as the Packers' full-time starting quarterback in 2008. It's also safe to assume that most of the young receivers housed on the roster are the focal point of his frustration.

"It was one of the worst card sessions we've had," Rodgers said Tuesday, according to "I don't know how you can make it any simpler. You literally have what the play would be in our terminology on the card, and the effort level was very low."

The Packers have had the better part of a mixed bag in terms of their rookie receivers. All three -- J'Mon Moore, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown -- have shown their own flashes of potential in training camp, but they've also displayed an expected lack of consistency.

"Especially with what I'm accustomed to. I've been running that period for a number of years. So it's not a good start for us on the card period for the young guys."

There's a quiet sense of urgency amongst the pass-catchers in Green Bay, even after bringing aboard tight end -- or receiver -- Jimmy Graham over the offseason.

With Jordy Nelson now an Oakland Raider and the Packers lacking a true veteran outside of Randall Cobb, who has been with the team since 2011, the best case scenario would be for each one of the three aforementioned rookies to contribute in their own ways, even if it's minuscule.

A conjoined effort from Moore, Valdes-Scantling and St. Brown could be all the Packers need by season's end. But to even see the field -- or the active roster by September, for that matter -- would require limiting mistakes on the practice field.

If Rodgers' demeanor outside of his locker on Tuesday is any indication, there's a long road ahead of them.

"They’re all working to improve. But there’s too many repeat mistakes," Rodgers said. "You want to be able to trust guys out there when you talk about guys making consistent plays in practice. If you’re not running the right routes, catching the ball when you have opportunities, catching contested throws, it’s hard to have the confidence to put you out there when it’s for real."

One of Rodgers' new favorite targets in practice, Jake Kumerow, was listed ahead of all three rookie receivers on the Packers' newly-released unofficial depth chart leading into their first exhibition game. That's either a result of Kumerow's four years of NFL experience under his belt or the fact that he continuously stands out amongst the rest in practice.

"He's in the right spot all the time, he makes contested catches, finishes the right way," Rodgers said of Kumerow. "He practices like a pro."

The Wisconsin-Whitewater prospect was originally brought on in December to the Packers' practice squad. During the spring, he was rummaging through the bottom of the barrel on the imaginary depth chart, buried beneath the seeming hoard of talent the Packers had at wide receiver.

Now, Kumerow is in line to earn first-team reps on Thursday night -- except it won't be Rodgers throwing him the ball, but either one of his backups, Brett Hundley or DeShone Kizer.

If the 26-year-old Kumerow can find a way to mesh with even one of the two backups and still showcase his ability without a world-class quarterback targeting him on the practice field, his case for making the Packers' final roster would likely increase tenfold in magnitude.

"I’m pretty specific with the people that I highlight, and it’s for a reason. Jake has done a great job and had a great camp."

Nobody should feel dejected that an undrafted receiver with two stints for two different teams is passing up what were expected to be three promising wide receivers on the depth chart in early August, but Rodgers' angsty criticism and presumed emphasized on-field coaching could be just the kick they needed to move into second gear before the start of the season.


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].

NFL Categories: 
  • Like Like
  • 0 points

Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (47) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Nick Perry's picture

I buy about 30% of what Rodgers said as "Frustration" and think the other 70% is MOTIVATION. They all know by know if Rodgers doesn't trust you he isn't throwing the ball to you. Hell he probably won't even look at you.

Not since 2007 or so have we seen a Packers rookie WR really do much, at least compared to what they've done starting with Nelson. Why? Because Favre would throw the ball to anyone, anywhere, anytime. Rodgers doesn't operate like that. You need to show him on a consistent basis your where you should be when your supposed to be. BUT I still look for one of these guys to have a season like James Jones or Greg Jennings did in their rookie seasons. The Packers no longer have the "Embarrassment of Riches" at the WR position they used to have. They HAVE to depend at least a little more on one or more of these youngsters to produce.

At this point I don't care if Kumerow was an UDFA who's bounced around. If the guy can play and help the Packers win it doesn't matter HOW he got there...Just that he's here now AND Rodgers trusts him.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Agreed on Kumerow.

The problem with these rookie WR is similar to what we saw with Yancey last year. They can just out big the other guy anymore, They can't just out fast them. They now have to know the plays and have perfect route running and technique. And they Can't. Now they have to learn it.

Handsback's picture

NP I think you're right. We are talking about the 4th WR on the team and maybe the 5th or 6th targeted guy during a game. So yes at this point it probably is mostly motivation and long term development. None of the rookie wideouts are starter material right now. This far into camp they would have stood out and seperated themselves if they were going to take first string snaps.

porupack's picture

I respectfully take a bit different view; I have enormous belief in everyone and their potential regardless of star-power. I believe in anyone from UDFA regardless of draft round, until they disprove that, mostly by stupidity or lack of effort, fear, self entitlement, close mindedness or whatever (my guiding truism in non-football universe).

As an irrelevant fan, however...I believe all rookie WRs are starting material; NFL rookie stats-be-damned. They are gifted, had years of coaching, and now had months to learn since draft day. No excuses. This is the time. It all starts with effort. Oh, and learn the cards by the way, they are your learning prompts.

I'll take a DDriver over DBryant, and JKumerow over any entitled rookie regardless of ceiling. Plenty of high ceiling, ex-NFL studs like Laquan 'Treadwear'.

croatpackfan's picture

Please, take in consideation that Jake Kumerow is in his 3rd TC and 3 rookies are at the beginning of the first!

porupack's picture

The alarm going off in my estimation is that 3 rookies were called out publicly for their poor effort and not even knowing the play prompts.
I don't recall ever hearing Jake Kumerow getting such a sharp criticism.

4thand10's picture

As far as I know this is the first time for Kumerow having a Packers Playbook and memorizing it just the same as all the other rookies....2nd or 3rd training camp with different teams be damned. Still have to play football and memorize different routes, different’s the same for everyone.

Oppy's picture

The point with Kumerow is this isn't his first rodeo in the NFL. He's been in the league for going on three years. It's not proprietary to being in the Packers camp. It's about learning what it takes to transition from being a student athlete to become a professional football player.

Bure9620's picture

Agreed about the motivation, however I could not help while listening to Rodgers rant, think "Dude, you know they're rookies right?" Rookies screw up, it's what they do. I get calling out effort and repeated mistakes. They will clean it up. It's not permanent, They will learn and develop. Don't get me wrong, I love the energy and trying to light a fire under their butts, but to compare them to veterans that have been in the offense doesn't make much sense. Kumerow is also not a rookie. I do not want him on the roster. He would have to be hands down better and not just for now but the future. For example, do you let St. Brown, a prototype develop or go with Kumerow?? St. Brown will not clear waivers, I gurantee he would be claimed if released because of his physical skill set. Kumerow is also closer to a second contract at his age, is he worth it? BG has to decide now if Kumerow is indeed worth it over his draft picks. I say no. I say go with the rookies and development. Take St. Brown. He's a prototype with enormous upside but not ready yet. Fine. He will not see targets this year anyway. Adams, Graham, Cobb, Lewis, Allsion will be your top 5 targets and in that order, and also a combination of Williams/Monty/Jones from the backfield. The rookies don't need to be key contributors yet, most rookie receivers are not. Even Jordy was not. Rodgers knows exactly whats he is doing, why keep praising Kumerow?? Because Rodgers knows he's a huge long shot to make the 53, and is more polished now than the rookies. But, His ceiling is low, similar to Allison.

guenaj15's picture

6'5" 209 lbs
4.58" 40 time

6'5" 214 lbs
4.48" 40 time

According to their measurables they are very similar, both "prototypical" Kumerow is not as fast, although I thought I saw a 40 time of 4.52 listed somewhere else. Kumerow has also been noted to be very good at high pointing balls and making contested catches... traits of a prototypical WR. I have no idea who they will keep or what they should do, but if he can play I see no reason not to keep him. Similar story to Thielen on the Vikings... small school, local kid, takes a few years to "break out" maybe. That has worked out well for them.

dobber's picture

" He would have to be hands down better and not just for now but the future. For example, do you let St. Brown, a prototype develop or go with Kumerow?? St. Brown will not clear waivers, I gurantee he would be claimed if released because of his physical skill set."

I was mostly where you are a week or two ago when the Kumerow stuff started to build up. When I thought about it, though, the idea is to find the players who not only make you good, now, but also make you good for years to come. Sometimes those characteristics fall into the same player...sometimes not so much.

The bottom line for me is that once you get past Cobb and Adams, all these WRs are 24 and younger, and most haven't hit their prime yet. Davis just turned 25. We can point to the 3 rooks they drafted, but they're not meaningfully different in age and expense from these other guys (Allison, Davis, Kumerow...). They (meaning the coaches and BG) have a hard job with these young guys in projecting where they think they'll be in 3-4 months and where they'll be in 3-4 years. Game reps will help, but if the QB throwing them passes is sub-par and the OL is shaky (think last preseason), how much are they really going to be able to tell?

I don't worry about other teams trying to sign players the Packers any position. You're always going to cut someone who will be attractive to someone else. If you've done your assessment to the best of your ability, keeping a guy because you're afraid someone else will sign him over a player who you like better is a bad move.

Koosh's picture

Sure, a bad move in a vacuum. There are more variables than this, and more important days than just today. Week 1 is not more valuable than all of 2-16.

Branden Burke's picture

His issue was with effort. Their focus. And in hindsight, it may have worked because they played well in the preseason game and even mentioned the comments by Rodgers as a wake-up call to get it in gear.

porupack's picture

Wow. 3 promising athletic WR draftees and they have low effort practices at this point? Effort is the very first and foremost thing a young rookie has to offer.

I guess college pampered them, big studs on campus and all, parties, girls who knows. Looks like real world initiation come knockin at their doors now.
Well done Rodgers, give em a piece of reality. See how 'entitlement' works out for the WRs if they spend their early career running their own routes as they assert their freedom to express 'theirselves'.
Good to know that competition was calculated in by Gute, maybe he sees the immaturity increase year after year firsthand.
Kumerow seems keen. If the other 3 can't respond to the adversity that comes with competition in TC, then that was a fine and brief meet and greet, they don't have the mindset, work ethic of a Donald Driver.
If Rodgers' message lights a spark, then plenty of time for optimism and hope in all 3, that an impact WR or two gets going by bye week, or bye bye. No place for have-ass effort. Its a cancer and has one cure; and generally immediate the better.

Bure9620's picture

Yes millenials, entitled, marturity, etc. They will grow up.

WKUPackFan's picture

Daughter, 27. Graduated summa cum laude. Works in the PR department of a major distiller where the top executives rely on her to produce their talking points.

Son, 22. Works very hard 6 days a week washing dishes without complaint at a local country club.

Son, 21. Senior with a 3.7 GPA at a prestigious private university while also playing lacrosse.

Insert your stupid opinions about millenials in your orifice of choice.

dobber's picture

Every younger generation is viewed this way by older generations. It's hard to think of a time when people under 25 weren't generally referred to as 'lazy', 'entitled' or 'reckless'.

Bearmeat's picture

Agreed. I work with Millennials on a daily basis. Even the next generation after them now. College Freshman this year were mostly born in 2000. And I have to say, I respect the heck out of what the students I interact with daily are trying to do.

Every generation has a bit of "that's not the way we did it" which easily turns into "get off my lawn."

Bure9620's picture

Well I am kind of a Millenial, '83 so I was being sudo self-deprecating.

Koosh's picture

It's almost like stereotypes are not all-inclusive!


fastmoving's picture

Sounds like Bure would wish to be one of them.....and I just saw..........he is.................

The TKstinator's picture

I believe the expression is “half-ass”, which is the portion supported when one sits on a broken chair.

porupack's picture

in effort to salvage that typo; I coin this; your ass is handed to ya back in the huddle when it went in the wrong direction; 'Have-Ass'

The TKstinator's picture


EdsLaces's picture

Everyone knows an NFL team has to have 5 or 6 all pro wrs to win the SB.

Bure9620's picture

Thats Hilarious

Spock's picture

Zach, 3rd paragraph: "...Rodgers hasn't worked with such an experienced group of receivers" should read (in)experienced. :) Sorry, to bring up another minor mistake, it's the "editor" in me, lol. I enjoyed the article.

The TKstinator's picture

Also occasionally guilty myself.

Bure9620's picture

Why do I get the feeling Jake Kumerow is Janis part 2? Though I am insanely jelous of Kumerow's hair, I seem to be squarely in the Jake Kumerow Minority. But if the man is here to stay, It is only fitting he has an incredible nickname. I motion a vote for an offical CHTV Jake Kumerow nickname.

The choices are:

1) Kumerflow
2) Dirty Locks
3) The people's champion reloaded
4) White Lightning part II
5) THE Warhawk
6) The Whitewater Renegade
7 The Whitewater scandal

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

I still like "Kumero Uno."

Bure9620's picture

Very Strong

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Kumerow Uno.

Other than the hype, few receivers are as dissimilar as Janis and Kumerow other than both having good size. Kumerow runs excellent routes, is able to track the ball over his shoulder, has great hands, and high points the ball. Janis couldn't run a route, couldn't track the ball over his shoulder, had mediocre to poor hands, and for all his athletic ability, didn't highpoint the ball, and he seemed awkward if he had to adjust to a pass. Can't remember any contested passes either.

Bure9620's picture

Janis ran a strong Go and Vertical route..................

Bure9620's picture

Paul Noonan "The Great Whitewater Hope"

EdsLaces's picture

" No contested passes " ummm....I remember one vs AZ that was pretty soild.

dobber's picture

I also seem to remember him beating a DB, running down a deep ball and having it clang off his facemask.

fastmoving's picture

Janis did not get a lot of balls throwing his way, but he made a lot out of them. I can remember pretty good that at least 25 percent of his catches were contested, but I have to admit it was a smal sample size. But thats not Janis fault....just did not get on the same page with AR.

I would guess he has a more than solid season this year. Wish him only the best. just doesnt work out here

4thand10's picture

Kumero uno.... I like that. Good name for an underdog and potential fan favorite. During the pre season..... “ Kumero uno to the 30, 20, 10 Touchdown”

Qoojo's picture

I wouldn't say this was frustration by Rodgers. If you lead people, sometimes you have to provide direct negative feedback to people that are not performing at the required level or expectation.

This is Rodgers leading the offense. The only reason I can see for going public with it, is if he has mentioned it in private already, and this is another way to put more pressure on the rookies. Otherwise, spouting off to reporters like this is a bit childish.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

Kumerow has already made the team. The only question now is whether he'll start opposite Adams. I believe he should.

The 3 rookies should all make the team, contributing in different ways. But they're dropping too many balls and losing too much focus (not surprising...they're rookies, for Pete's sake).

Rodgers did them a favor. This is their first NFL camp, they're mentally drained, and they needed someone to re-ignite their pilot lights.

Bure9620's picture

ALP, carry 7 WRs?? Or Drop Allison?

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

If it were up to me? Both.

A Pickled Packer's picture

Glad it's not up to you. I have a feeling Allison is going to show all his detractors up and have one heck of a year. That no look throw he hauled in from Rodgers was karma. The force is with them.

dobber's picture

"Kumerow has already made the team"

You might be right, but game snaps might still have a lot to say about that.

Bert's picture

Let's see how it all plays out but AR has typically not had much use for rookie WRs. I know Dez isn't very popular with Packer fans but I think he could have provided at least a one year stop gap until AR and the young WRs built some chemistry.

cheesehead1's picture

No Dez.

4thand10's picture Packers signed another LB for camp.

Log in to comment, upload your game day photos and more!

Not a member yet? Join free.

If you have already commented on Cheesehead TV in the past, we've created an account for you. Just verify your email, set a password and you're golden.

Or log in with Facebook

Packers Tickets, Ticket King


"I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious."
"The Bears still suck!"
"A school without football is in danger of deteriorating into a medieval study hall. "