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Players on Rodgers' Radar

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Players on Rodgers' Radar

If there’s one thing that’s pretty well-known in Green Bay, it’s that it’s important to gain the trust of the team’s star quarterback quickly. Those that do see the ball a lot more and typically serve a bigger role on offense. QB1’s opinion means a lot when it comes to the players on the team, and now that we’ve gotten past organized team activities and mandatory minicamp, I thought I’d look at some of the players that have been impressing Aaron Rodgers so far.

Who else could top the list but the team’s veteran wide receiver, Davante Adams? In 2018, even with an injured Rodgers, Adams put up a career-best 1,386 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns. He was targeted 169 times with 111 receptions.

When Rodgers was asked about the 169 targets, his response was “I’d like to throw to Davante more.”

Adams isn’t surprising people anymore. His talent is on full display as he’s continuously in the top-five wide receivers debate. Even still, as Rodgers puts it, he’s always open. Against double teams, press coverage, whatever it may be, Adams has a knack for putting himself in a position to make plays. In a new, innovative offense, the Rodgers to Adams connection seems as strong as ever.

Another, newer addition receiving some high praise from Rodgers is Billy Turner. When Rodgers was first made available to the media during OTAs, he heaped praise on his new lineman.

“The guy I have to say I’m really excited about is Bill at right guard,” Rodgers said at his locker in mid-May. “Just his presence in the huddle. He’s a big dude. He’s a no-nonsense guy but he’s also got a really dry sense of humor. He’s been a great addition to that group.

He continued, “As a quarterback, the protection is so important, as I look across the line, I feel great about that first five.”

Sticking with the offense, perhaps with a player on the roster bubble (but not if Aaron Rodgers has anything to say about it), Jake Kumerow has been catching Rodgers’ attention in practice.

Kumerow had an impressive 2018 preseason before getting hurt and landing on injured reserve. When he was able to come back late in the season, the connection he had already with Rodgers was noticeable, especially against the New York Jets during Week 16 when he had three receptions for 68 yards (with a long of 49 yards) and one touchdown.

That relationship continues to develop in 2019 as Rodgers and Kumerow have connected on a number of touchdowns during practice. When describing Kumerow at his locker, Rodgers brought up trust again and that being on the same page is so important.

“He is an extremely intelligent guy who is in the right place at the right time,” said Rodgers. “He makes contested catches, he makes the plays that are there, and he does the little things. I’m always applauding in an overt way to let the other guys know - this is how you practice.”

Rodgers went on to call himself a “big fan” of Kumerow, highlighting his work ethic and his reliability. While the trio of second-year receivers have had their share of flashes, Kumerow is someone who continuously finds himself in Rodgers’ good graces.

As Zachary Jacobson wrote about earlier in the week, the entire tight end group has also impressed Rodgers, with rookie Jace Sternberger’s mental prowess helping him stand out. The key for Rodgers is when rookies avoid making the same mistake twice. In Sternberger’s case so far, he’s done just that.

“The tight end position, much like the offensive line position, when you put the pads on, things change. So I’ll be looking forward to seeing how he adjusts when we get the pads on in training camp,” said Rodgers about Sternberger.

While this has all been said prior to putting the pads on during training camp, Rodgers is not one to talk simply for the sake of talking. If he’s impressed by someone, he’ll share that opinion.

Now it’s up to the players on his radar to keep themselves in his sightlines, and for those that aren’t getting as much attention to figure out what they can be doing differently to make a more positive impression.

 

Maggie Loney is a writer for Cheesehead TV and a podcaster for the Pack-A-Day Podcast. Find her on Twitter at @MaggieLawler.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (26) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Nononsense's picture

You forgot MVS, our next 1000 yrd WR. In the new offense hes gonna be a beast alongside Adam's. With these guys outside, the middle of the field will be open for business.

Nick Perry's picture

Out of the players on Rodgers "Radar" my hope for a monster season from one those players is Billy Turner. No way do I want a repeat of last season from the RG position.

BUT it's not just that when talking about Turner. He brings a ton of versatility to the O-Line and with Jenkins and Madison coming back I think this is one of the deeper groups the Packers have had in a long time. Hopefully the starting 5 are there from week one through week 19 but if that's not the case I have some HOPE this year the Packers could plug those holes without missing a beat.

Off Topic... If Spriggs is EVER going to have a chance to make his mark it should be this year. MLF scheme calls for a more athletic O-Lineman which like it or not Spriggs is... At least his combine numbers screamed he was. BUT if he doesn't impress and do it quickly, this could and should be Spriggs final TC in GB.

mnklitzke's picture

As a converted TE he should have looked good doing lineman drills in shorts. Dude doesn't have it to play in this league.

Coldworld's picture

I assume you mean Spriggs? I guess we will find out shortly.

sonomaca's picture

Cut Spriggs and watch how quickly he’s signed and for how much. He’s much better most backup tackles.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I think it is hard to tell much about offensive linemen in OTAs and minicamp.

Coldworld's picture

We are a team with the potential to be very much improved. How much and how quickly remains to be seen, but i definitely feel we have a strategy for success from the F.O.

We also have a new offensive coaching staff and a system apparently designed to let players use their strengths. We now have a Defensive roster that seems tailored to allow Pettine to do what he wants as well as some new coaching blood with a touch of fire in their veins. As you note, we also have much improved O line depth.

I am sure there will be growing pains, but it certainly feels good to look at the potential on the roster, the depth of at least raw physical talent and the presence of some fresh ideas. We are on the up.

Bearmeat's picture

Agreed. However, I do also think there is a (relatively small) chance that it all implodes if things don't start well. Mainly that would come down to Rodgers becoming disenfranchised with the young coaching staff and roster, and pulling a BLF 05, 08 style...

Assuming that doesn't happen (and I don't think it will), and assuming that MLF ends up showing that he knows his stuff, this is a 10-6 team or better. And I'm REALLY excited about 2020, as the young uns grow up.

Coldworld's picture

There is always a risk that Rogers butts heads with LaFleur, just as Favre was being too clever by half in the season before MM arrived. I think, however, that Rodgers on field relationship with Adams and Graham will help keep him connected. There may be more to Graham’s value than pure football.

Bearmeat's picture

Good point.

sonomaca's picture

Nothing wrong with a little head-butting.

stockholder's picture

Got to be Jones. I see more passes going to the RB this year.

Coldworld's picture

It would be hard to have less. I think Williams will benefit from that too. He seems to have the better hands.

4thand1's picture

When AR talks trust, he is going to have to buy into the new system and trust it. Everyone wants the running game to take off and check downs to the backs. Take what the defense gives you. I can still see AR looking at the sidelines saying, stupid play call, we can't have that happen anymore.

Since '61's picture

“Work ethic” and “being in the right place at the right time.” Those are two key factors for Aaron Rodgers.

Rodgers is a perfectionist and if a receiver is in the right place at the right time they are going to get the ball because that’s what Rodgers does. He delivers the ball on time and on target.

Rodgers understands that fractions of seconds and fractions of inches matter at the professional level.
While I believe that Rodgers trust comments are overblown and often taken out of context he does expect his receivers to run their routes and to be ready to receive the ball.

He can throw into tight windows but only if he knows that his receivers will fight for the contested ball. I don’t think that Rodgers has any higher expectations for his receivers than he does for himself.
Thanks, Since ‘61

Coldworld's picture

True. I think the new scheme will help. Was it MVS who said something like that it was previously like trying to learn 12 years of tribal knowledge to be fully up to speed with what went on on the field, in addition to the playbook?

jannes bjornson's picture

Thanks, 61. That's it in a nutshell.

Rossonero's picture

Good article. Rodgers was giving unsolicited praise to Davante Adams years ago, well before he was breaking out as a star. Many remember Adams' struggles in 2015....some on here wrote him off as a bust. But we need to pay attention to when Rodgers' gives praise like this. He did this recently with MVS and to me that means he's the front runner for that No. 3 WR spot.

sonomaca's picture

What about EQ? No praise from #12?

IceBowl's picture

sonomaca '

I bet there is 90 times more dialogue behind the scenes than is provided to the public.

Hence, we might have 10% of the workings of the team.

And that would be m preference.

wildbill's picture

One thing I am really looking forward to is a lot less passes thrown away. Trust and being in the right place is very important, then add in schemes that get people open with a solid check down option and I see Rodger’s frustration level being a lot lower this year. With that being said I can’t wait to see our offensive line and defensive front seven upgrades pay big dividends as it all starts by winning at the line of scrimmage.

EddieLeeIvory's picture

What is Kumerow missing that will keep him from becoming a stud?

He has speed.
Has great hands.
Has good size.
Has smarts.

Pro day: 6'5"
4.52 forty-yard
SS 4.26
3-cone 6.90

Good genes being related to the Bosa's & Jake's dad was a former NFL 1st rd pick.

Great hair too.

JohnnyLogan's picture

Any chance Kumerow doesn't make the team? They've really been talking up Trevor Davis and it would be a mistake I think to keep him over Kume.

Adorabelle's picture

In a full season Aaron Rodgers will have around 600 pass attempts. So where are those targets going? Davante Adams is probably going to get somewhere around 170 or so to get 115 catches but that still leaves 430 to other receivers. And where the rest of those go is by no means set at all.

At this point we don't even really know how much the new offense is going to feature tight ends or backs catching the ball. There are certainly enough balls out there to give a tight end 80 targets in this offense. And is there going to be a solid number 2 receiver that gets 80 or more targets or are they going to be all split up to numerous guys? How many catches is Jones set for out of the backfield? A lot more questions than answers at this point. It will be fun to watch.

IceBowl's picture

Adorabelle,

Your fantasy possibilities are promising.

Layman me, I don't know how many passes will come out of the new Pack O.

I hope for 35 pts. a game, and no interceptions or fumbles. Being that is unrealistic, a +15 turnover ratio is what i hope for.

Adorabelle's picture

Mr. Rodgers had 597 passes in 2018 and 610 in 2016 so I just picked 600 as a number. But true, if they run better or are ahead a lot, that number could go down to the 550 range or less. But just trying to say that after Adams gets 170 targets which seems pretty safe who else all the rest go to is an open book we don't know yet.

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