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Jennings Has Good Reason To Be Frustrated

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Jennings Has Good Reason To Be Frustrated

Reports surfaced today that Greg Jennings had some kind of blow up on the Packers' sideline during the Redskins game this past Sunday.

I'm not surprised.

I know lots of fans and observers in general have wondered about Jennings' lack of production through five games so far this season. But it really isn't any great mystery. The defenses the Packers have faced have been playing a two deep shell almost exclusively, taking away a lot of the deeper routes that Jennings excels at. Even worse, the times Jennings has found room to operate, quarterback Aaron Rodgers has either just missed him completely in the progression or has been too preoccupied with the rush to see Jennings deep.

A perfect example of what I'm talking about occured in the second quarter of Sunday's game. Take a look at the play below:

(Feel free to mute the audio. I usually take it out.)

Now watch what Greg Jennings was doing on that play:

And judging from the gameday Tweets from various beat writers up in the press box, this kind of thing has been happening two or three times a game.

The biggest problem comes from the soft edge being set by the offensive tackles, whoever they may be. Clifton. Tauscher, Bulaga - it hasn't seemed to matter. The edge is just mush at the moment and Rodgers is almost anticipating the pocket collapsing and getting ready to run, rather than standing tall in the pocket, going through his progressions and making stick throws. (To be fair, in the clip above Colledge gets in on the act by being pushed into the backfield as well - but the fact remains Rodgers has plenty of time to make the read and the throw)

The only game we've seen Rodgers stand tall in the pocket for a full game is in Chicago. Every other game has been an adventure.

The deeper stuff that Jennings runs requires the quarterback to have the patience to let those routes develop. Right now, Rodgers just isn't doing that - not that its all his fault. It's hard to drop back and be confident in your protection when you are consistently having to take off because the pocket is collapsing around you. But that's your job as a quarterback. And as much as it pains me to say it - the video below is a perfect example of a quarterback standing confident in the pocket even though guys are pushing in around him. (And yes, I recognize this isn't nearly as bad as what Rodgers is facing in the play above - but just watch the difference in quarterback play)

No dancing.

No looking around.

No springing out of the pocket like a jack rabbit.

Take the snap. Make the read. Make the throw.

Now, Greg Jennings is by no means without fault for some of his lack of production. He's had a few glaring drops already this season, most notably a beautifully thrown deep ball from Rodgers in the Chicago game. But the fact remains that Jennings is by far the most gifted receiver on the roster and one of the best route runners in the NFL. The Packers paid him handsomely last summer in recognition of these talents and right now they are going to waste. The best thing that Mike McCarthy can do to get Jennings involved is to get his quarterback settled down, get his protections shored up and start mixing in some slant, smash and smoke routes designed to go to Jennings to get both he and Rodgers in a rhythm early.

Another obvious suggestion to free up Jennings deep would be for McCarthy to at least make a half-hearted effort with the ground game to force defensive coordinators to bring a safety down - but I prefer to navigate through reality and not sit around waiting for miracles. ;)

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (16) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Rich's picture

agree 100% i think they'll end up doing this Finley was on pace for 1000 receiving but with him gone someones got to free up and it will be jennings hopefully we can see more of what he did in the cardinals game. :] I just hope rodgers needs to settle down just a tad

Doug In Sandpoint's picture

I'm a little worried that this might be turning into a bit of a Payton Place with A Rodg voicing his concerns last week, your post about favoritisn toward Finley (and possible repercussions), and now the Jennings blow up. With the lack of discipline on the field at least it has appeared that the locker room has been uneventful. Can't help but think that this is not healthy for the team.

ron's picture

So basically Jennings is still pissed that Thompson traded Favre.

jeremy's picture

Yeh, because the 1-3 Favre didn't miss any passes on Monday. If you know it's complete nonsense, why do you say it anyway?

djbonney138's picture

I haven't been able to watch all the games. The 3 I have watched I have thought to myself 3-4 times a game that they are trying to force the huge play (+20 yards). I know that we have big play potential but it seems silly to constantly throw "hay makers" when we need to get a few good jabs in. Jennings being our deep threat would be better used if we can string together some small passes a few rushes then the power punch. I am rambling sorry...

packeraaron's picture

Its only rambling if you're not making sense and you, sir, are making sense...

NickGBP's picture

The problem is the game plan. If they had called a play like the one Favre ran that wouldve worked well against that defense and would;ve given Rodgers an easy check down like Favre had. The Favre play looks likes a Levels scheme which works well against zone defense and gives a QB options along different lengths of the field. In the Rodgers example everybody is on long developing routes which requires more time.

Im not sure why we have this issue every year. When our offense is struggling we should move down to these quicker routes to get the ball rolling. ESPECIALLY if you're not going to run the ball. Dont get it.

packeraaron's picture

Well, to be fair, it IS 3rd and 7 on the play with Rodgers. McCarthy calls a play he hopes at least will get a first down, if not a TD. But I hear what you're saying.

NickGBP's picture

Fair point. But we used to run slants every damn play regardless of down and distance lol. I think a slant in the second window would be more than enough for 7 yards.

zub_a_dub's picture

Jennings job just got even tougher with the loss of Finely.

With our run game suspect at best, losing Finely is like losing a complete phase of our offense.

davyjones's picture

"With our running game suspect at best"...I'm just not buying that that is a given. If it is indeed true, it is by choice, not necessarily because we can't.
Look at the average YPC--we are above average for the league. This "we have no running game" talk just has to get realistic. We don't have a lot of running yardage for one reason and one reason only--we don't have a lot of attempts. Seriously folks, look at the stats.

Ruppert's picture

Whether it's asking for a miracle or not, it remains a fact that we need to put more into the running game somehow.

It's one thing to ask a QB to stand tall when the pocket collapses every play. It's another when the pocket collapses every play with minimal rush because the safeties are back in coverage.

Ryeguy812's picture

The "problem" With Rodgers is one that I believe Aaron has mentioned before, he refuses to take what the defense gives him. He's always looking for that big play rather than taking the safer throw and living to play another down. Guys are running wide open underneath and Rodgers' eyes are downfield.
We've seen glimpses of what Rodgers is capable of if he takes whats given, eg his near flawless night in Chicago. Just wish that was more of the norm.

cole's picture

In defense of A-Rod was this after his bell was rung? We may never know but perhaps that's why he got paranoid about being hit. Maybe, he was already shaken up and didn't want to get pounded again.

Oppy's picture

here's a crazy idea that kills two birds with one stone-

get Jennings involved in the passing game while getting Aaron out of the pressure cooker while developing rhythm by maybe, I don't know, sending Jennings out on some routes that aren't 4 second routes. Maybe I'm just plum crazy. I've said this before here. McCarthy needs to stop being such a tough guy who wants to cram the ball downfield in 30 yard chunks every play and start calling some plays with quick routes (as well as running the ball).

I don't think there's anywhere in Jennings contract that says he can only take the deep route or a 5 yard hitch. Mix it up, McCarthy. What you've got going on now ain't really cutting it.

andy's picture

Wow great video I had no idea he was that open!

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