Grateful Lance Kendricks Relishing the Chance to Play in Green Bay

For Lance Kendricks, playing on the same field in the same offense engineered by Aaron Rodgers may seem like a once-in-a-lifetime dream achieved.

As a Wisconsin native, the Packers' tight end never seemed to truly consider the possibility of venturing to America's Dairyland to unite with a generationally talented quarterback in Rodgers. Once he finally got the opportunity back in March when the Packers signed him to a two-year, $4 million dollar contract, Rodgers was a huge reason why. 

"For me, coming here, it's more of a graduate level as opposed to—I don't want to say elementary—but an undergrad level," Bennett said after Friday's practice. "It's better as far as being able to be on the same page and thinking."

Being on the same page and thinking is a foreign concept for Kendricks, who had to deal with the Rams' carousel of quarterbacks for the entirety of his six-year career in St. Louis before moving to Los Angeles with the team in 2016. He's yet to even sniff the playoffs. They haven't finished at or above .500 since 2006.

Coming home to Wisconsin to play in Green Bay, that may very well change, and he's going to do his part in a loaded offense to make sure it does.

"It's awesome having a guy like [Rodgers], he sees what you see and vice versa," Kendricks said. "I think it's great being able to have someone like that, especially being a vet. He kind of knows what to expect from you and you know what to expect from him. You kind of know when the ball is coming."

A big part of integration in the Packers' offense this season is Rodgers and his two newest tight end acquisitions in Martellus Bennett and Kendricks forming a sense of cohesion and trust with them both. Rodgers' best single passing season came in 2011 when he had Jermichael Finley at his disposal, who put together his best season of his career.

Rodgers has never had a duo the likes of Bennett and Kendricks, although an argument can be made for Donald Lee and Finley during the early years of Rodgers' starting career.

"I think he tries to slowly incorporate his way of the game with signals and certain little habits he has," Kendricks continued. "Things you kind of don't get from every quarterback in the league and I'm slowly picking up on that. He might throw a signal at me—and I might not know what it means—I'll ask him and he'll say, 'Alright, this is what that means,' so going forward I'll know."

Kendricks has never had the luxury of true, stellar consistency at the quarterback position. His best single season so far was in 2012 with Sam Bradford, catching 65.6 percent of his targets for four touchdowns and 519 yards. That was the last time Kendricks had a quarterback start all 16 games of a season for the rest of his tenure with the Rams. 

His second-best season came just last year when he was catching passes from Case Keenum and rookie Jared Goff. Needless to say, Kendricks could've used a fresh start.

"It's a good opportunity to go out there and win some games and possibly go to the playoffs and further," Kendricks said. "For me, I haven't been further than the regular season so I'm looking forward to extending the regular season."

Head coach Mike McCarthy didn't beat around the bush when asked about Kendricks Saturday morning before practice, either.

"Boy, he's all business," McCarthy said. "He's a real pro, he's got an excellent work ethic. Anytime you have a player coming from another program, you're always interested. Not only in the player-coach relationship, but in the player-to-player relationship... It's a learning process and it's really about what they add to the locker room. At the end of the day, it's all about the locker room and he brings a pro's pro approach to it."

Kendricks has started 79 of 93 games during his career, and only two of which have been at Lambeau Field. Now, he'll be suiting up to play there eight times this season and potentially more given the Packers' playoff seeding scenarios.

Any opportunity in the NFL is one that is meant to be relished, but for a lifelong Packers fan now getting to play for the team he grew up admiring, this is a dream come true.

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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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Comments (5)

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Handsback's picture

July 29, 2017 at 12:51 pm

As a fan, I'm grateful for him being with the Packers. He will add an even greater degree of complexity to that position being able to line up as a H-Back. I really think that if the Packers start strong and are firing on all cylinders it will take about 6-8 weeks for the rest of the league to figure out a way to slow them down. Essentially we could be looking at that 2011 year from an offensive output capability.

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dobber's picture

July 30, 2017 at 01:44 pm

When he was coming out at UW, many scouts said he was ONLY an H-back at the next level. He's turned out to be better than that...

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Packmaniac's picture

July 29, 2017 at 01:04 pm

I have a good feeling about Lance, on and off the field. In my view, the long shadow of the amusingly offbeat and talented Marty Bennett has made Kendricks seem to some like more of a second fiddle talent than he actually is. Kendricks has game.

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Mr J's picture

July 30, 2017 at 06:55 pm

Long time reader, first time poster. I was at the Saturday practice and Kendricks caught a couple slants over the middle . Man did he look quick

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Savage57's picture

July 31, 2017 at 08:14 am

Decision tree:

Jared Goff or Aaron Rodgers?

Jared Goff or Aaron Rodgers?

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