Packers Dealing With Attrition At Receiver

The Green Bay Packers and the wide receiver position have been a hot topic for years running.  Stretching as far back as the mid-1990's the Packers have had one or two really good pass-catching options on their roster, save for maybe a season or two.  The question is, where will 2016 fall on that spectrum as far as the receiver group is concerned?

Jordy Nelson and Ty Montgomery are still recovering from injuries suffered last year.  Both were expected to be big contributors last season and Nelson has been quarterback Aaron Rodgers' favorite target for years.  Nelson appears to be on track to start testing his surgically repaired knee and see what he can offer the team this season.  Montgomery recently detailed how bad his ankle injury was and the details weren't pretty.  His ankle, for all intents and purposes, "exploded".  That's far from a medical term, but the surgery to correct the injury involved a rebuilding of ligaments and that is never a small procedure.  Montgomery doesn't appear to be as close to getting back on the field as Nelson does, although the second-year receiver has said he's pining to return to the field.  Many questions still remain about what the Packers will get from Nelson and Montgomery in 2016.

Those expecting Nelson to step on the field and duplicate his 2014 output are likely headed for disappointment.  While Nelson is reportedly ahead of schedule in his recovery and despite the medical advances, ACL tears are still major and there lies uncertainty in what the player will be upon his return.  Nelson also had hip surgery last offseason and he has crossed over into the "above 30" age bracket.  Not a death sentence by any means, but a factor that, based on the averages, works against a player.  I have been saying for a while now that Montgomery is looking like a candidate to start the regular season on the physically unable to perform list, which would sideline him at least six weeks.  That he suffered the ankle injury nearly mid-way through the 2015 season doesn't bode as well for his return as an effective receiver right away in 2016.

With two of the top receivers out, the others on the depth chart have seen an increase in reps and time spent with the first and second teams.  We know that Randall Cobb and Davante Adams are getting their share of snaps but I'm talking about Jared Abbrederis, Jeff Janis, Trevor Davis and the undrafted receivers.  Through the coverage of the first few weeks of training camp, we have heard about all of Adams' catches. . .and drops.  Abbrederis is "tearing it up" against the first team defense and Janis is still running into the stands instead of cutting in on a square.  Media is fun, isn't it?  While it's fun to continue the narratives from the past about how much Rodgers likes Abbrederis and loathes Janis, we'll really start to see what is really going on with some preseason game action coming.

Regardless of how good or bad it really is, those guys just mentioned are naturally going to hog the headlines because they're on the field.  To say that Abbrederis is getting a lot of snaps with the starters isn't surprising when two of those guys who would normally be out there, can't be.  The Packers like to run a lot of three and four wide sets so that would lend itself to the fact that he and someone like Janis, who also has a few years with the team, are next up.  If the worst case scenario becomes a reality with either Nelson or Montgomery and one or both are still out to start the season, the Packers are going to be seeing a lot more of Abbrederis, Janis, Davis and possibly others.

Undrafted rookie Geronimo Allison is also making some noise during his time on the field.  He's at least catching what comes his way and his measurables aren't too shabby: 6'3" and 205 pounds.  Let's not forget that he's undrafted for a reason.  However, where at first it seemed that any receiver not already on the roster appeared to be nothing but camp fodder, we could see a receiver possibly becoming one of what seems to be an annual occurrence of an underdog making the team.

The next month will be telling in terms of what the Packers will have at receiver in 2016.  With so many question marks lingering, it's best to exercise caution and patience as the depth chart forms and hope that every guy, from one through six or seven, is as prepared as they can be when the games start to count.

 

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Jason is a freelance writer on staff since 2012 and also co-hosts Cheesehead TV Live, Pulse of the Pack and Pack A Day podcasts.  You can follow him on Twitter here

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Comments (36)

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Nick Perry's picture

August 05, 2016 at 07:01 am

Two Seasons ago the Jags signed a kid named Allen Hurns as an UDFA. Heading into his 3rd year the Jags just signed him to a contract worth $40 Million because he's caught 115 balls in 2 seasons. Wasn't overly fast 4.55 40 at the combine or strong, 14 reps on the bench. He wasn't drafted for a reason either so maybe Allison sticks and is the next Allen Hurns of the NFL. Granted it's not likely, but I'm sure they said that about Hurns too.

I read the piece on Monty on ESPN too. He's been cleared to run and is even running some routes. He said "I pretty much do everything everyone else does except practice". If he's not on the field by the week before the 3rd preseason game practicing, I think he starts on the PUP List designated to return.

Everybody who was shoving Abby out the door will be surprised, he just might be the Packers #3 WR, certainly #4 simply because he catches the ball and knows the route tree and reads. Without Montgomery and depending on Nelson to be 2014's version is a dangerous game, but it's the hand the Packers have dealt themselves. In 2011 the Packers had "Depth" at WR, but everyone of those receivers could be a #1 or #2 on most teams, Quality Depth was what they had. In 2016 they have depth, is it quality depth is the question.

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RCPackerFan's picture

August 05, 2016 at 07:44 am

The thing I really don't get and am bothered with Montgomery is how did they miss diagnose his injury that badly?

He is the one player that I'm most concerned with in missing the beginning of the season. Although I would much rather see him miss the beginning of the season vs the end.

The Packers have really good depth at WR right now. Probably the best its been since 2011. The biggest difference between 2011 and 2016 is the experience. 2011 had 4 WRs with a lot of experience. 2016 might be as talented, just not as experienced.

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Bearmeat's picture

August 05, 2016 at 08:39 am

Yeah, that is weird isn't it? I mean, Doc McKenzie is famously cautious. Why the "Rest it a couple weeks and try to get back out there" again and again?

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RCPackerFan's picture

August 05, 2016 at 10:38 am

I really don't get it at all.

One question that I have on it too, Was it that bad right away or did it get worse after he tried playing on it?

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Nick Perry's picture

August 05, 2016 at 09:04 am

But how good is the depth is the question. I'm normally optimistic and I have a good "Feeling" about the talent on this team. BUT, beyond Cobb and Nelson the Packers don't have any established depth. They could be good but could is the operative word. Monty and Nelson still not practicing is freaking me out. Cook not practicing is freaking me out. Janis still not getting it is freaking me out.

Last thing, I was listening to Jason Wilde yesterday or the day before and he spoke about getting a feeling that MM and AR both had a sense of urgency to win NOW. Asked the same question TT said "We try to win every year, this years no different".
This is where I have a huge problem with Thompson and I believe why the riff between TT and MM, no matter how big or small has surfaced this past off season. Thompson should begin to have some sense of urgency and McCarthy is growing tired of Thompson's thrifty ways, and also so have many of the fans here who would never have said a word about TT before.

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RCPackerFan's picture

August 05, 2016 at 11:11 am

I don't think Its really about how good or talented the depth is, its more about how inexperienced it is. I think they are very talented, just inexperienced.

Honestly, right now I'm not concerned about those guys practicing. Cook more then Nelson just cuz he hasn't been with Rodgers much.

I get that they are feeling a sense of urgency. But to be honest, I think it should be more on McCarthy then Rodgers, IMO. McCarthy I think needs to do a better job of molding the offense to the players he has. They have a lot of young guys, so maybe simplify things to allow the young players to use their talents. And find ways to use their talents. Janis, Davis are speed guys. Find ways to use it.

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croatpackfan's picture

August 05, 2016 at 03:12 pm

As understand the problem with young receivers, it is not just simplification. You can make plays to be very simple, but if player will not show where he needs to be, it will be incompletion or interception. And that is what you can see very often with Jeff Janis. To make it simple, WR needs to memorize and correctly execute his routes running to be able to catch the ball thrown to him. Waiting anybody to be open is no good. Because that is time consuming, and QB does not have that time. Second, even if WR finally open himself, how long he will stay open?
Packers need good to excellent route runners (like Jordy, Ty, Randall, Abby), not just fast guys, or large guys or whatever. If that is so simple, lets go and hire 5 fastest guys on Olympic games in Brasil. And we have problem solved....

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RCPackerFan's picture

August 05, 2016 at 07:26 am

Even with Nelson and Montgomery currently not practicing, I really like our WR position. I will really like it when they come back healthy.

The player who really seems to have stepped up the most has been Abbrederis. He seems like he will be a big part of the offense regardless of where Nelson and Montgomery fit in.

Janis is still learning how to play with Rodgers. He may never be the next Nelson, but hopefully they will find ways to use him creatively on offense.

Davis is an intriguing player. As a rookie he has a lot to learn, but he has speed that the offense has lacked.

Allison is an intriguing player. He just seems to make plays and catches everything this way. Even though he went undrafted, he was a highly regarded UDFA. He is a player that will be fun to watch during the preseason.

I'm looking forward to seeing what the WR's do during the preseason. The one bonus this year is they have 5 games to stand out.

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lucky953's picture

August 08, 2016 at 08:33 am

Lets face it. Janis lacks the athletic ability to find the ball in the air and adjust his body to make a catch while running full speed with a CB on his tail. He's the WR equivalent of Jarrett Bush.

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Since'61's picture

August 05, 2016 at 08:35 am

I was not aware that Monty's injury was as serious as Jason has described it. Now that I know the situation I am wondering why the Packers did not IR Montgomery almost immediately last season. If he had the surgery immediately after the injury he would be 2 months closer to recovery, assuming that he can recover and get back on the field. It's apparent that he was not going to get back on the field last season. Did the Packers not know the seriousness of his injury at the time? If not why? In any case all we can do now is dream about what this offense would be like with a healthy Jonathan Franklin and a healthy Ty Montgomery. Thanks, Since '61

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staffordsneckfat's picture

August 05, 2016 at 08:45 am

Regarding the delay of the surgery I absolutely agree. Media (Rob Demovsky, former GBPG idiot) has been pushing the narrative of how the misinformed fanbase hears sprained ankle but only the people in the building understood the severity. It would seem like if the organization was so clear on the matter they would not have delayed the operation for 3 months. Anyways, microfracture surgery is never good.

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stockholder's picture

August 05, 2016 at 07:57 am

Nelson and montgomery may never fully recover. (????) I have no faith in Drop- Adams. Everyone's saying Janis is Stupid. Abbey is to slow and is a waste of time. (The next Boykin). Cobb is the only steady WR that we have, and he'll be double teamed. So that leaves Davis and Allison. ( Just pure Hype) Not one of TTs 2014 draft picks are considered a threat. The WR position is the biggest problematic position as I see it. Mediocre depth, seems like a big waste of money, and time. Who is going to catch the ball and be clutch? Hopefully Cook gets on the field and Quick. A-Rod may be in for another frustrating year.

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

August 05, 2016 at 08:20 am

Cow, I didn't know you owned stock.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

August 05, 2016 at 05:49 pm

It doesn't say Packers Stock.

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stockholder's picture

August 05, 2016 at 08:59 pm

The content shows no one player is a good investment. Everyone has their favorite, but no reserve player is a threat, or clear #3. I do own Packers stock, and I do have a vegas bet on the packers to win the super-bowl. Love the pictures of the players riding the kids bikes. At least they know how to CATCH a ride.

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BELIEVER's picture

August 05, 2016 at 10:38 am

This is the weakest set of WR in years, if everything works out the Pack will be fine. That's a big if. I'm not buying into the hype. Abbey is a player you can not count on, injury waiting to happen. Keep him and he gets hurt or let him go and wonder what if. When James Jones is the best we had last year tells me a lot. What has changed. Expecting a 30+ to come back from an ACL, good luck. Been a true Packer fan forever, just saying people.

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staffordsneckfat's picture

August 05, 2016 at 08:36 am

I am afraid Abbrederis is too small to stay on the field playing the style he does. He sacrifices his body trying to catch everything coming his direction which is admirable but I am not sure how long he can sustain the 'Don Beebe' level punishment that comes as a result.

Hopefully Jordy can return with enough speed and burst to demand respect down the field, this will open up some space for Cobb to operate. Perhaps this new fifth rounder might add an extra downfield element, who knows.

We just cant afford to waste another year of 12's prime the same way Mike Sherman wasted Brett's.

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croatpackfan's picture

August 05, 2016 at 03:28 pm

Abby is larger than Randall...

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DrealynWilliams's picture

August 05, 2016 at 06:12 pm

And Davis...

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Nick Perry's picture

August 06, 2016 at 05:05 am

And Wes Welker

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Duke Divine's picture

August 05, 2016 at 09:57 am

I'm really impressed at the comment section this offseason. Keep it up folks! Packer fans are the best!

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fastmoving's picture

August 05, 2016 at 02:07 pm

i dont get the janis stuff. whenever get a chance, at every position, he did a lot of good things. on top of that he had outstanding pre season games in his first and second year. he is not perfect, like we all know, but he is way better than most guys give him credit for.
i like abby too, but he had a lot of bad luck in his first two years.
not sure about monty, he flashed, but was basically a stronger build cobb. davis looked good to my, but like we all know, its pretty early. jordy will need a little bit moore time and wil get any younger as well. Dont wanna talk about adams, but in my mind janis is one of the best guys out of that group with a high ceiling. sure he has his shortcomings like all his fellow wideouts.....

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BELIEVER's picture

August 05, 2016 at 02:19 pm

Janis was the best wide out the Packers had in the playoffs last year. Nobody could cover him. I wanted to know then and still want to know why he didn't play all year. Just throw him the dam ball. You know the gun slinger would have.

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dobber's picture

August 05, 2016 at 02:28 pm

"Janis was the best wide out the Packers had in the playoffs last year."

Based on what was left at that point, it's not saying an awful lot...

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olwig420's picture

August 05, 2016 at 03:21 pm

I don't get what you saw in Janis during the play off game?? take away the last drive where Arizona was playing the old McCarthy Prevent Nothing Defense, he only had 5 catches for 44 yards. Not bad but not special.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

August 05, 2016 at 06:17 pm

Quick question, did you consider the 2 (or 3) bad passes that SHOULD have been TDs before submitting your post @olwig? Janis burnt his defender twice that game.

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olwig420's picture

August 07, 2016 at 08:56 pm

How can you say for sure that he was even running the correct rout when that happened??

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fastmoving's picture

August 05, 2016 at 02:49 pm

the wr group was pretty medicore the whole year.....
no separation, no speed, lot of drops. making next to nothing out of the opportunities. YAC...??
no idea how he can do worse.....

janis is the fastest guy
janis is the biggest guy
janis get separation
janis get production when his name is called
the light seem never to bright

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croatpackfan's picture

August 05, 2016 at 03:40 pm

And he is almost always at the wrong place... It is nice when you are looking just what happened when Jeff catch the ball. How many balls was metioned to be thrown to him, but he was not there where he had to be, and because of that the ball was thrown away or to another player on improvisation. And that sometimes succeed, sometimes not. And fans blames QB or that another player, while the real guilty one was Jeff. And that is what coaches see and knows...

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fastmoving's picture

August 06, 2016 at 03:55 am

if you look at the couple of snaps he got he made more out of it as any other player. he made a difference with every position he played (gunner, receiver, returner) and wasnt moore at the wrong place than cobb or monty. no idea where that myth cames from? he is a football player and some are to blind to see................

but im sure the qb had something to do with it.

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olwig420's picture

August 05, 2016 at 03:42 pm

Janis is the dumbest guy
Janis runs the worst routs
Janis can't hold onto the ball
Janis can't get on the same page with 12

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PETER MAIZ's picture

August 05, 2016 at 04:10 pm

He may be able to run a few "routes" but he's having trouble with routes. No nastiness intended.

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fastmoving's picture

August 06, 2016 at 08:57 am

that kind of comment is a pretty good example. and the opposite of the reality. like i said......some people never played football.

janis had one of the best wonderlic scores of all wr, if not the best
janis routs are bad sometimes, but there is no drop of compared to the rest of the group
janis does some bodycatching, but got decent hands
janis cant get on the same page with 12, so does rodgers

but

janis is fast
janis comes down with the football a lot of times
janis finds a way in his limited snaps and is alway good for a big play
janis beat one of the best corners in prime time, no one else seems able to do that

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croatpackfan's picture

August 05, 2016 at 03:40 pm

Sorry, wrong

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PETER MAIZ's picture

August 05, 2016 at 04:15 pm

If Jordy can't get back to form and Mongomery is a "No Show", then you're down to weak talent and experience. The Pack will want to keep Geronimo on the PS. He seems to know what a catch is. It's too bad Janis hasn't gotten it when the necessary routes are required.

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Bear's picture

August 07, 2016 at 10:18 am

Hope Rogers gets back to Form! He missed many open targets last year, It wasn't just our receivers.....

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