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Packers Rookie WR Jeff Janis Impresses in Preseason Win Over Rams

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Packers Rookie WR Jeff Janis Impresses in Preseason Win Over Rams

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jeff Janis by Jasen Vinlove—USA Today Sports.

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jeff Janis by Jasen Vinlove—USA Today Sports.

Jeff Janis was downright giddy after scoring a touchdown in his professional game debut Saturday in the Green Bay Packers' 21-7 win at the St. Louis Rams.

"I don't really know what happened after that," said Janis. "I kind of blacked out. Yeah, it was pretty exciting, though."

It's been a long road for Janis, coming from Division II college football at Saginaw Valley State all the way to the ranks of the NFL.

After suffering from a rare case of Shingles for a 23-year old at the outset of training camp, Janis has been forced to wait his turn.

Missing the first week of practice and then the team's first preseason game at Tennessee, it wasn't until Saturday that the public at large could appreciate the ample talent stored inside the body of his 6-3, 219-pound frame.

Most impressive was Janis' speed, the way he took a third quarter pass from quarterback Matt Flynn on a drag route underneath the coverage of the defense for a 34-yard catch-and-run to paydirt. He turned the corner and out-sprinted those in pursuit.

As a rookie, as a seventh round draft choice, Janis thinks he's flying under the radar right now, his swift speed perhaps not getting the respect it deserves.

"I think probably right now they're not going to realize how fast I am, so I think that's going to work out in my my favor," said Janis. "So hopefully it takes them a little while to realize that."

The coaching staff did their best to bring Janis back down to Earth after that dash to the endzone, however.

"Even on my touchdown, the first thing Coach said was 'Ball security wasn't as good as it should be,'" said Janis. "That's something you got to just keep working on."

Even so, the talent wide receivers coach Edgar Bennett and head coach Mike McCarthy have on their hands is evident.

It might be up in the air whether the Packers carry five or six wide receivers on their regular season 53-man roser, but it no longer seems to be in question whether Janis will be among them.

If released, the Packers won't get another sniff at Janis. He'd be picked up by another team in an instant, intrigued by his height-weight-speed combination.

"It was great to get Jeff out there finally," said McCarthy. "It was a great experience for him. He continues to do something every day, and that's something you look for. I thought our big-play production as a football team was very high and obviously (Jeff) did an excellent job on the touchdown throw, him and Matt (Flynn) were definitely in synch there. So we like the timing of that. We're getting better, young players getting better."

Every day that passes it's looking as if the Packers have to somehow get Janis involved, get the ball in his hands, and it's going to be difficult with wide receivers like Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Jarrett Boykin and even second round draft chocie Davante Adams ahead of him on the depth chart.

One way to do so looks as if it might be on special teams, where Janis got an opportunity on Saturday to see if he can handle punt returns.

Janis dropped back three times to return punts against Rams. He wasn't put in a difficult position, having to catch the football on run or with a defender in his face. But he did look comfortable back there, and maybe that's more important than anything else.

On three punts, Janis returned one for nine yards, called for a fair catch and watched another sail out of bounds.

All in all, it could be considered a successful first outing for the rookie.

"I felt pretty good," said Janis.

He looked good too.

Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor at Cheesehead TV and its "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (21) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

DrealynWilliams's picture

Is that...a....young Jordy...?

Cheesestradamus's picture

Jeff Janis AKA "Jordy Lite"

Nick Perry's picture

I was just rewatching the Packers game and Janis's TD. He doesn't even look like he's running that fast but once he turned the corner he was gone. It will be interesting to see Janis progress during the season, Adams too. As the season progresses and guys like Janis, Adams, and Rodgers II some game time under belts, this team will be just that much stronger at the end of year. Should be fun!

The TKstinator's picture

He looked very un slow.

GatorJason's picture

Jeff Janis is more white chocolate on the Packer roster. He is slightly bigger and faster than Jordy and his crew-cut is slightly longer. Jeff is as good of a WR as Jordy was as a rookie but not seasoned/skilled enough to be in Jordy's class now. Janis deserves to be on the Packer roster not only because of his receiving potential, he can actually help Special Teams as a returner and on coverage. He should be the #5 WR with White or Dorsey making #6 IF they can show enough value on ST.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

"I'm to the point where I just want to see the ball caught cleanly."

I completely agree. Just get the ball and and give it to Rodgers and Lacy.

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

Stroh, I agree with MM statement about getting away from being cautious. I'm not sure throwing Cobb in the mix is the right thing, whether he is the best we have or not, especially after being hurt most of last year. I don't want to look for trouble on GB, & I certainly don't think I know more than MM, but I don't want to use Cobb to return anything. He's just to valuable as a receiver. Not sure if returning punts or kickoffs is in his comfort zone. I know we used Robert Brooks & Antonio Freeman as return men, & they did well, but each of those guy's wasn't coming back from a broken leg. I think we best find another return guy, at least for this year. I'd call Desmond Howard up, before I'd use Cobb, LVT

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

Stroh, The point I was trying to make about Cobb is, He has what it takes to be a Great Returner. (Reckless Abandon). That's what gets you hurt. Do you think it's worth Risking him for another season? How do you know they didn't miss a beat? I want to get to the end of the season with all of our Best Players. Can't remember their names, but we had 2 good returners after DH. They can find a Return Guy, if they want to. Cobb is not the guy to occupy that spot, not this year. At least, I'd like to see him get some games under his belt 1st.

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

Stroh, I'm not going to argue with you. You can think what you want, but you are wrong on this one. If Cobb is the only guy we got that can catch & run back a punt, we're in trouble. You're welcome to your opinion. I disagree, because of the broken leg issue. That's my opinion. LVT

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

Stroh, Offense or Defense, doesn't have anything to do with my logic. My logic has to do with a Great Player who is coming back from a Broken Leg. There are different moves involved in Pass Receiving, & Punt Returning. When you take someone out of his Element, you are looking for trouble. If it weren't for the Broken Leg, & what Cobb means to the offense, I would agree with you, he should be the guy returning punts. Don't make a Stupid Statement like my logic says he shouldn't be playing offense either. This year Cobb because of the player he is, & because he's coming off of a Broken Leg, should not be taken out of his element, ( What he does best!!), Pass Receiving. If you can't see that, you know a lot less than what you want fans to believe. I agree, PR is a lot less dangerous than KR's. I don't want to risk a player of his caliber. I'll be surprised if MM uses him for PR's. If he does, we have a much better receiving core, than anyone knows.

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

Stroh, I personally think it's too big a risk to use Cobb on any returns, but you & MM know more than I do. LVT

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Agreed. And if the kick-off return unit can't refrain from committing penalties, we might be better off taking a knee every time, too. I know it is early, but come on, Slocum, clean this stuff up.

The TKstinator's picture

I don't like the idea of any front line player (starter) serving as punt or kick returner.

Clay Zombo's picture

Jordy is White Chocolate. Janis is White Lightning.

RCPackerFan's picture

I do find it funny how a lot of members in the media tend to compare players to other players of the same race. I remember a few years ago a lot of guys were comparing Jordy to Wes Welker. Really good comparison considering Jordy is what about 6" taller.

I will say that I do feel like Nelson doesn't get the recognition he deserves a bit and I do think some of it has to do with him being white.

All this being said though, Janis does remind me of Nelson. Similar size and build.

Guisado's picture

White chocolate? Jordy's white bread. Like Woody Guthrie and Tim Allen. And that's fine. Love the guy. But he ain't no white chocolate. Let's not get crazy.

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

Stroh, No one is being Racist here. GJ's once said on the news, " Jordy can't run that fast, he's a White guy" It was said in the locker room with Jordy & others right there laughing. Things are said by both Blacks & Whites in Jest, or for fun. If it doesn't hurt anyone, it's not Racist. And don't call me Racist, I am still JJ's Biggest Fan. Actually, I am a Racist, I just don't have any particular color in mind. LVT

ben's picture


But I'm asking for just a mere 20% of sales for the combo nickname of "Farm & Fleet", not "farm and feet", but "Farm & Fleet."

at just 20%

Mojo's picture

Farm and Fleet. Excellent.

I like Janis too, but let's not anoint him the next Jerry Rice just yet. He made one fairly simple catch. When he makes a number of big difficult plays under pressure, then we know we have something. Until then he's just an appealing prospect.

White92's picture

I was worried about receiver depth going into this season.

My fears have been calmed for now.

Let's see how they (Adams, Janis) perform when it counts.

The TKstinator's picture

And, don't forget, it's not like these guys are being counted on to be major contributors. GB has Jordy, Randall, and Jarrett in front of them. A good situation for a young guy to learn, grow, and contribute what he can.

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