Players I Think Will Emerge for the Packers in 2019

Today, I reveal my list of Packers I expect to emerge in 2019.

With OTA's underway and mandatory minicamp on the horizon, many are wondering who will emerge as breakout players for the Packers in 2019.  Many have highlighted Geronimo Allison, Darnell Savage Jr, Aaron Jones, and MVS on a shortlist of Packers to emerge in 2019.   

Is 2019 the year that Allison finally breaks out?  Will another player emerge from the Packers wide receiving core?  Will Jaire Alexander become the best player on the Packers defense?  Will Kenny Clark or Aaron Jones emerge to an all-pro level? Will Aaron Rodgers return to elite form?  I will touch on these questions and more when I give you my list of Packers I expect to emerge in 2019.

1. Equanimeous St. Brown: Why do I think St. Brown is the young wide receiver who makes the year 2 jump? I'll tell you why, St. Brown possesses a versatility to move both inside and outside, he possesses sure hands, and he possesses a smooth and precise ability to run his routes.  I see St. Brown being used both in the slot as well as the outside positions, and I like him to develop a connection with Aaron Rodgers on the sidelines.  I believe St. Brown is a candidate to catch 65-75 balls with 7-8 touchdowns.  

2. Za'Darius Smith: You're probably wondering why I believe a high priced free agent acquisition like Za'Darius Smith will emerge for the Packers in 2019.  After all, he should impact the pass rush with all of the money the Packers paid him right? Of course, he should.  

Although I think Za'Darius will be a difference maker on the defensive side of the ball, I have a feeling his positive impact on the Packers locker room is what is going to make him stand out in 2019.  Right from the start, Za'Darius Smith assimilated himself and his family into Packer culture and I believe he will continue to do that as the season moves forward.  I ultimately see him becoming the pulse of the defense with both his play as well as his leadership.

3. The Play of the Safety Position Going from a Weakness to a Strength:  Early reports about Darnell Savage Jr have all been good as he has impressed veterans like Tramon Williams with his football IQ and willingness to learn and assume more responsibility.  This is a breath of fresh air for the safety position as we have all been sold a false bill of goods most recently with the likes of Kentrell Brice and Josh Jones.  

After the failures of the secondary over the last several years, Brian Gutekunst upgraded the safety position by signing Adrian Amos and trading up to draft Darnell Savage and all early signs are trending upward that the Packers safeties will finally make a positive impact for the defense in 2019.

4. Aaron Jones and Kenny Clark Emerging as All-Pro Type Players at their Respective Positions: Both Clark and Jones have gone largely under the radar despite having very productive seasons early in their careers; however, 2019 will be the year they both emerge on the national stage.  Kenny Clark is already a top 5 player at his position but I see him having an all-pro type season this year with all of the additions the Packers made to their defense.

With a new coach and a new offensive philosophy, I see Aaron Jones consistently getting 25-30 touches a game and being able to maintain his grasp as one of the leaders in yards per carry.  With 25-30 touches per game, I see Aaron Jones averaging 120-150 all-purpose yards per game, elevating his play to an all-pro level.

5. Aaron Rodgers Returns to Form: With a new look offensive line equipped with more talent and depth, all signs point to Aaron Rodgers being able to return to his all-pro ways.  Aaron seems to be pleased with the added depth at the offensive line and early returns indicate that he is a fan of the newly acquired Billy Turner.  Rodgers also seems to be buying into Matt LaFleur's offense and believes he can mold the offense to fit his strengths as well as LaFleur's philosophy.  

With an improved offensive line,  a properly utilized running game, and a healthy body with less wear and tear, Aaron Rodgers accuracy can return and the Packers offense can be less predictable, more diverse, and more dynamic.   

Sound Off:

Let me know which Packers you think will emerge in 2019?      

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David Michalski is a staff writer for Cheesehead TV. He can be found on Twitter @kilbas27dave 

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Comments (52)

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Coldworld's picture

May 25, 2019 at 11:43 am

I’m hopeful that all of the above players will grow this season given decent health.

To make a real difference though, we need a few darker horses to stand out and make an impact. That would include players like Burks, Moore, Jackson, Adams and at least one of the candidates among the hybrid safety group. It’s those type of steps up that really give a team that extra push.

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CheesyTex's picture

May 25, 2019 at 11:49 am

Nice article.

I think: ESB on offense, Josh Jackson on defense.

I hope: Robert Tonyan on offense, Kevin King on defense, and Darrius Shepherd on special teams.

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CheesyTex's picture

May 25, 2019 at 12:09 pm

And, I hope the Strength and Conditioning staff emerges as best in the NFL (or even if player injuries can be below the league average for a change).

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Nick Perry's picture

May 25, 2019 at 08:18 pm

WOW!!! What a great comment...10 Thumbs Up for that one!!!

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TheVOR's picture

May 26, 2019 at 07:59 am

I can't believe how many people keep banging the drum foe St. Brown, and probably Moore-so for Moore.

You know the guy who's going to make a Huge jump? So far he's almost a direct Parallel to DeVante Adams minus the nearly 10% drop rate in his rookie season? EVS! Thats the guy who's going to make the jump St. Brown really didn't show me "IT" like EVS, he was simply a Utility guy.

Furthermore, I can't believe how the franchise and media is silent about Kumerow? Now thats the guy we need to make the jump, because if he does, Rodgers is going to have a flipping field day, Rodgers already has the connection there! Take away the stupid flip and shoulder injury from preseason, he might have been the real story last season? When he finally made it back and was starting late in the year? We were same the same things we saw in preseason. Watch Kumerow, if he shows up in preseason again? He's going to be a monster in this offense.

Moore? Pa-lease!!! That dude better be balls out with ZERO drops or I'm already done with that! What a monster disappointment he was! Thats a guy who has to do nearly NOTHING to make a jump? He was a NOTHING last year. Balls out in Pre-season, because if he "Drops A Couple Moore" (my nickname for him), GB needs to move on, it's a 4th round pick for Josh sakes (oh man I'm on fire), cut bait and run little Bob, run as fast you can' far far away from that. Dropped balls lose games..

I liked Josh Jackson last year, and I think we'll continue to Love that player. Love Tonyan, but I'm thinking the Packers maybe don't.

And then there is "Kevin, the GLASS KING" if that dude misses another significant portion of year on IR? OMG.. And he will, his other shoulder is his next problem. It's not talent, I love Kings game. He simply doesn't have an NFL body that can stay available, it is what it is. Love the player, but if he ends out on IR again? wow....

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jannes bjornson's picture

May 26, 2019 at 09:05 am

MVS....I'll still go with E Quan to make the jump and Shepherd to bring home the returner job.

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Since'61's picture

May 25, 2019 at 11:54 am

Players who emerge are usually the ones that we least expect to emerge. I’m going to hope for Kevin King to remain healthy and emerge as a solid # 2 CB for the Packers.

Aaron Jones May emerge but I don’t see him getting 25-30 touches per game. That would effectively triple his workload from last season. At 25 touches per game that would mean 400 touches over a 16 game season and I don’t see him holding up for a full season under that work load. That would expose him to 600-800 hits not counting pass blocking contact over the course of the season.

At this point I would be happy if our entire RB corps gets 25-30 touches per game among the 3-4 RBs.

I would also like to see one or more of our TEs emerge as well. That would have a big impact for our offense. Thanks, Since ‘61

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sonomaca's picture

May 25, 2019 at 12:22 pm

He’s not sturdy enough for more than 12-15 touches. That’s why they have 3 backs now.

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ricky's picture

May 25, 2019 at 01:16 pm

This is the big "knock" on Jones. He just isn't sturdy enough to take the pounding that RB's get on a regular basis. But to limit him to 12-15 touches seems very conservative. If he can catch a pass and get run out of bounds by a DB, that causes a lot less impact than getting gang tackled by two or three players. So, 12-15 runs and five or six passes per game (averaging out to 20 touches per game) should be acceptable.

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ricky's picture

May 25, 2019 at 01:16 pm

This is the big "knock" on Jones. He just isn't sturdy enough to take the pounding that RB's get on a regular basis. But to limit him to 12-15 touches seems very conservative. If he can catch a pass and get run out of bounds by a DB, that causes a lot less impact than getting gang tackled by two or three players. So, 12-15 runs and five or six passes per game (averaging out to 20 touches per game) should be acceptable.

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ricky's picture

May 25, 2019 at 01:16 pm

This is the big "knock" on Jones. He just isn't sturdy enough to take the pounding that RB's get on a regular basis. But to limit him to 12-15 touches seems very conservative. If he can catch a pass and get run out of bounds by a DB, that causes a lot less impact than getting gang tackled by two or three players. So, 12-15 runs and five or six passes per game (averaging out to 20 touches per game) should be acceptable.

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Slim11's picture

May 25, 2019 at 06:14 pm

I'll be happy if his touches double this season. He was sorely under-utilized last season with several games in the 12-15 touches range and some in the single digits. I do believe his touches can be increased without turning him into an every-down RB.

Williams as a short-yardage RB and Williams on 3rd down/passing situations makes sense. I'm not a fan of RBC but this season may be the season the Packers have the proper mix to make it work.

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sonomaca's picture

May 26, 2019 at 09:21 am

If you give Jones too much work, he will be injured. He will not be available at playoff time. A big reason the Rams didn’t win the SB (and really didn’t win the NFC Championship game) was because Todd Gurley was hurt.

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

May 25, 2019 at 08:48 pm

I agree. I don't see Aaron Jones getting 25-30 touches. That's crazy talk.

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sonomaca's picture

May 26, 2019 at 09:24 am

He’ll be done after 6 weeks at that pace. I’ve watched him closely. He runs HARD. He may be injured no matter how few touches you give him, but he will be injured at 25 per game.

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Christian Roussel's picture

May 25, 2019 at 01:16 pm

Good point. Just yesterday i was thinking about the young cornerbacks. If King stays healthy and Jackson makes a big year 2 jump (better footwork, less grabbing) are we absolutely sure King is higher on the depth chart ? what do you think?

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Coldworld's picture

May 25, 2019 at 01:34 pm

I see King as a more obvious fit for the perimeter. In old terms that would make him higher. Today we rarely play less than three CBs so I don’t think it really matters whether a player plays middle or perimeter positions. It’s performance that elevates.

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Slim11's picture

May 25, 2019 at 06:13 pm

(comment moved)

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Nick Perry's picture

May 25, 2019 at 08:29 pm

Nice post Since '61... I've been thinking about other RB who are close to the size of Aaron Jones who get several touches (say 20) a game. Alvin Kamara is 5'10" 215 LBS.... Jones is 5'9" 209 LBS. Now Rodgers was saying Jones is even BIGGER this year. IF the Packers use Jones in a similar way as the Saints use Kamara hopefully he holds up this year.

Last year he said he did several offseason exercises to strengthen the knees. Hopefully another offseason of the same get's him over the hump.

I'm also a bit pumped about the rookie they took in the 6th, Dexter Williams. They look like they have a nice little rotation and blend. I also believe we add a veteran at some point this summer.

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Since'61's picture

May 25, 2019 at 09:59 pm

Thanks Nick - I’m also looking forward to seeing Dexter Williams play and hopefully get a decent share of the snaps. Williams looks like the type of back who can give out some punishment rather than just taking hits. Thanks, Since ‘61

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sonomaca's picture

May 26, 2019 at 09:29 am

Hopefully this work helps Jones. Also, he needs to get out of bounds instead of trying to get another yard or two, especially once he’s passed the stick.

I think more outside zone running will help him. That provides him the opportunity to decide where to go.

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Lare's picture

May 25, 2019 at 11:59 am

Besides all those already mentioned, I would like to see JK Scott & Mason Crosby step it up this year. They both struggled last year which contributed to the losing record and the Packers can't afford to have such special teams lapses this season.

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blondy45's picture

May 25, 2019 at 06:13 pm

I still believe Sam Ficken will replace Crosby this year. Remember Matt Bahr, another Penn State kicker. Ficken can be a long mainstay for the Pack too, if they give him a legit shot for the placekicker duty. He has a much stronger leg than Crosby. Ficken is my breakout player BIG TIME this year.

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Daren726's picture

May 26, 2019 at 07:35 am

Crosby stays. He’s still got it. Kickers can go on for years if they work on themselves and their game like Crosby does. Not this year. I’d give him another two or three.

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croatpackfan's picture

May 25, 2019 at 12:15 pm

1. MVS
2. Preston Smith
3. King, Alexander & Josh Jackson
4. Davante & OL
5. AR is not bored any more

That is my comment on your claims

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sonomaca's picture

May 25, 2019 at 12:23 pm

Like #5. If Rodgers is still the smartest guy in the building, that’s going to be trouble.

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nostradanus's picture

May 25, 2019 at 12:30 pm

One thing I will say about Gutekunst, when he sees a major weakness he identifies it and attacks it IE: Safety Offensive Line Pass Rush. That is why I still have high hopes for Inside Linebacker and ORIN BURKS and the Wide Receiver group MVS EQ and J’MON I believe if he thought it was a problem he would have addressed it, I am also holding out hope that JOSH JONES can still be a force at the hybrid cover linebacker spot if he can get his childish attitude right.
That is all..

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Daren726's picture

May 26, 2019 at 07:39 am

You really only need one or two good inside linebackers in this defense. The secondary handles most of those duties now. I think we’ll be good with Orin and Blake.

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LambeauPlain's picture

May 25, 2019 at 12:37 pm

Thumbs up DM on the article and especially regarding ESB. He really came on in the last 4-5 games and he is fast, big, and smooth, smooth, smooth in his routes.

Also would add he is a very good downfield blocker. Look at AJs best runs last year when ESB was on the field and there he is springing the RB for additional yards with his blocks.

On Josh Jones...I wonder if Pettine should call him and tell him to come to GB, add 15 lbs and play ILB for him full time? 6' 2" and 240 lbs with his speed? I think he could become consistent part of the rotation with Martinez and Burks.

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Swisch's picture

May 25, 2019 at 01:56 pm

Enjoyed the article and comments.
Two guys I'll pick for significant roles are Oren Burks and Robert Tonyan.
In any case, it's fun to have so many guys with so much potential to make a major leap this season.

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hobowilly's picture

May 25, 2019 at 03:07 pm

"And, I hope the Strength and Conditioning staff emerges as best in the NFL" from Cheesy: i second this thought as for some years now GB continues to have more than its share of hamstring/similar strains of injuries that affect the season. Other than that, it seems the article and fans' sentiments point to GB having quite a few good players that could become performers that would land the TEAM back strong into the playoffs. Hats off to Gutey (again) for endlessly working to improve depth and performance--having said that, due to his propensity to strive for a players "wiring", it seems J. Jones may be gone.

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Lare's picture

May 25, 2019 at 05:13 pm

After retaining the entire Strength & Conditioning staff intact from the last five years I don't hold out much hope that we'll see any noticeable change in injuries from the previous years.

That said, I hope they have a little luck in the injury department and don't experience the same hamstring/muscle strains and games lost on IR as they have in previous years.

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4thand1's picture

May 26, 2019 at 08:35 am

I've always wondered what effect playing on grass has on injuries. They play 8 games on grass and play a lot a games on turf on the road. They also practice on grass and turf. Does this constant change how the body reacts, especially on joints and muscles?

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PeteK's picture

May 25, 2019 at 05:31 pm

The offense should get more chances because of the improvement on D and with Turner solidifying the O line. MVS/Allison will each finish with 65/800/6 and Dexter Williams will chip in with an even 500 rushing. A possible area of breakout could be a returner. However, it is a big question mark. So I'm gambling on Davis beating out Moore and having a solid season as our punt/kick returner.

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fthisJack's picture

May 26, 2019 at 07:59 am

i think you touch on something most people are overlooking. the ST have been so poor the last 7 years that they really couldn't get much worse. if the new coach can get the ST playing at even an average level, this will help the O with better starting field position and the D by avoiding those long returns that hurt the Packers so much in the past. ST is such an overlooked phase of the game and if the Packers take a big leap there, it will make the job of the O and D so much easier.

as far a s Crosby is concerned, his FG % may have been down but if you take away that Detroit game, he is still a very good kicker and i expect him back. i also look for a more consistent punting from Scott and much better coverage on kicks and punts.

i'm not a fan of Davis. if he adds something to the WR group i could see keeping him....otherwise no. a one trick pony is a waste of a roster spot.

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EddieLeeIvory's picture

May 25, 2019 at 03:59 pm

we need to know who Oren Burks & Kevin King are by November.

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cheesehead1's picture

May 25, 2019 at 05:35 pm

Kevin King and Burks need big steps forward. Big year for both, especially the oft injured King....Off topic re: Josh Jones, I’d let him sit as long as he wants. He’s under contract, so honor it. These players are so fortunate to play in the NFL as well as players in NBA, NHL, MLB, etc. Prove yourself J. Jones and be a team player.

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PeteK's picture

May 25, 2019 at 05:32 pm

and Aaron Jones

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Archie's picture

May 25, 2019 at 05:29 pm

Biggest Q is whether AR has lost any strength or accuracy from his two broken collarbones. If 12 returns to his old form, Packer fans will have a lot to cheer about in 2019. If not, GBP are super-screwed.

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CoachJV's picture

May 25, 2019 at 05:49 pm

I agree with everyone mentioned in the article... but I think we need to throw MVS in there. I think he's going to be our deep threat of the future. He runs good routes and has good hands. And he can get separation right from the jump.

As far as dark horses go... I have a feeling Graham is going to have the last season of his career. I think LaF will utilize him effectively in the red zone and he will have his last hurrah (just please don't make him block)

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Handsback's picture

May 25, 2019 at 11:36 pm

MVS verses ESB...I would pick ESB because the way he moves. More glide and burst verses MVS who's very fast but looks out of control.
Zman, for the same reason. Saw the Ravens three times toward end of the season and if you told me he was 235 pounds....I would believe it. He has power when he crosses that line of scrimmage and never stops chasing after the ball. Didn't think he would be a FA that would hit the market.
Last guy is Josh Jones. He has something to.prove and after his temper tantrum of not getting playing time he'll be ready to play.
That's my three.

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Bromberg's picture

May 26, 2019 at 12:01 am

Great article. A note to add. I believe converting Josh Jones back to RB would give some added depth. He can play both ways, with his size and speed, he could still be a monster in the NFL. He may not be the best safety, he has so much talent.

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Demon's picture

May 26, 2019 at 08:12 am

What talent? You must be josh jones's mother

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Tom Legener's picture

May 26, 2019 at 12:46 am

Sternberger. Jace Sternberger. Watching his tape has me convinced that he can make an immediate impact.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

May 26, 2019 at 01:57 am

Tony Brown.

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fthisJack's picture

May 26, 2019 at 08:05 am

i think i like the depth that Gute is building on this team. if injuries happen, and they will, there are guys that can step up and not be a liability like we saw the last 3 years.

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4thand1's picture

May 26, 2019 at 08:40 am

I would like to see the o-line stay healthy and dominate the whole year. A in tact line that plays together is worth its weight in gold.

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ReaganRulz's picture

May 26, 2019 at 08:43 am

It will be exciting to see how all of the pieces come together this year. Lots of new and familiar faces that will need to learn a new coach’s way of doing business. Being mentally strong and not getting injured will be strong factors to our success this year.

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IceBowl's picture

May 26, 2019 at 11:27 am

I will say again, the biggest step forward should be ST.

ST will never be the same after the creativity seen last year for 1st downs and points.

The Pack must adapt the same (or more creative) options moving forward.

And the D will be more ready to defend such "options" practicing against that creativity daily.

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PatrickGB's picture

May 26, 2019 at 03:01 pm

IceBowl. I like your take. We need STs to jump a few notches up the rating charts. We have been on the bottom for far too long. So I would like to see the backups who play special teams improve. Guys like Lancaster, Burks, Davis and others need to help make special teams special again.

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Holecrap's picture

May 27, 2019 at 10:00 am

My biggest concern, do we have receivers who can get separatuon.? Rogers frustration and his throwing balls away is due to the guys we had being covered.
No Nelson speed on the outside to save the day for Rodgers . Other than Adams who they double at times, I didn't see speed or quickness. IMO that's the ball game. Rodgers has no weapons

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Spock's picture

May 29, 2019 at 08:34 am

"No Nelson speed on the outside to save the day...". D Ernie are you serious? Nelson was NEVER fast, just a great route runner with extraordinary body control at catching the ball. St. Brown and MVS have speed to burn (pun intended). Kumerow has average speed but good quickness. I couldn't disagree more with your comment!

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