Greg Jennings has spent the entire offseason talking smack about the Packers. Tomorrow he finally gets to put his money where his mouth is when the Packers play in Minnesota. It should be an interesting game to say the least. I don’t really want to talk to much about Jennings big mouth and even bigger ego, though it does seem to me that his constant talking about the Packers and Rodgers has more to do with the fact that he made a mistake in turning down the Packers offer which was bigger than what he got than anything else. What I really would rather talk about is how Jennings has been doing ON the field.
Jennings was brought in to be a star receiver in Minnesota, something the Vikings have been without ever since they let Randy Moss leave. Until he joined the Vikings, Jennings has always been a stand up guy as well, so honestly I feel like it wasn’t a bad pickup for the Vikings. It is clear that they needed someone to take pressure off Peterson, and though their QB has been suspect, the hope was that he would help improve the play of whomever was throwing the ball. From Jennings side, I’m sure he felt slighted that the Packers didn’t offer him as much money as he was wanting, though it turned out to be more than the market would bear for him anyway. It seems as though the NFL has decided that outside of a few guys, paying for a top tier Wide Receiver, is not going to drastically change a team and thus we didn’t see any of the receivers get the money that one might expect. So Jennings settled for the best deal he could get which turned out to be with the Vikings. That he could play the Packers was likely a bonus. 1
So let’s see how Jennings has done up until this point. These stats are according to NFL.com:
Week 1 – 3 Receptions, 33 yards, 0 TDs
Week 2 – 5 Receptions, 84 yards, 0 TDs
Week 3 – 3 Receptions, 43 yards, 0 TDs
Week 4 – 3 Receptions, 92 yards, 2 TDs
Week 6 – 6 Receptions, 64 yards, 0 TDs
Week 7 – 4 Receptions, 41 yards, 0 TDs
Total – 24 Receptions, 327 yards, 2 TDs.
This by and large is not what we would expect from a top tier receiver, especially one with no competition at all. Week 4, was a particularly good week, they were playing the puttering Steelers who haven’t been able to stop anyone, but it was the one week so far this year where I feel that he earned his money. Now granted, the QB situation is terrible, but that’s what he signed up for, he doesn’t get that as an excuse. To put it into comparison with other receivers on the same team with the same QB issues.
Jerome Simpson – 26 Receptions, 404 yards, 0 TDs
Greg Jennings – 24 Receptions, 327 yards, 2 TDs
Kyle Rudolph – 24 Receptions, 227 yards, 2 TDs
So Greg Jennings is #2 on the depth chart and just barely ahead of Rudolph, whom I would guess doesn’t make anywhere near $9 million a year. The other concern that one might have is that Adrian Peterson is on the team and they likely give him more attempts than is usual for an NFL team. This is a valid concern.
While Peterson is certainly going to get 1,000 yards rushing this season barring major injury, he is not having the year he was last season. So far, he has racked up 511 yards on 115 attempts with a respectable 4.4 yards per carry. However, this is less than 20 attempts per game, in fact the last two games combined have only given 23 attempts total for 90 total yards. And he has only had 2 100-yard rushing games, so he has certainly not been the focus of the offense either.2
So let’s look at where his stats would compare if he were still on the Packers….
Jordy Nelson – 32 Receptions, 526 yards, 5 TDs
Randall Cobb – 29 Receptions, 378 yards, 2 TDs
Jermichael Finley – 25 Receptions, 300 yards, 3 TDs
Greg Jennings – 24 Receptions, 327 yards, 2 TDs
James Jones – 20 Receptions, 349 yards, 2 TDs
Jarrett Boykin – 9 Receptions, 146 yards, 1 TD
Now, both teams have played 6 games so no bye is going to mess with the numbers. I’d also make the argument that so far the Packers have had the tougher schedule. The above is also ranked based on number of receptions, I do believe that given the numbers, Jones has been a better receiver than Jennings. He has less receptions than Jennings but more yards and the same number of touchdowns. Another thing to note is the only two players on this list to actually play the same number of games as Jennings is Nelson & Finley. Cobb & Jones didn’t play last week, and Boykin really has only a game and a half under his belt. In that game and a half, I feel that Boykin has done half the numbers that Jennings did in 6 games. So in a few weeks I do believe Boykin is going to pass up Jennings as well.
Comparing the running games… The Packers have had 3 different full time Rushers at various points of the season as both Lacy and Starks have had injury concerns throughout the year. Because of this I decided to total up the top 3 players in the Packers. I would add in a second Rusher for the Vikings, but the truth is that no Running Back outside of Peterson has had more than 2 attempts, so I didn’t find the need to add that in…
Packers. 136 attempts, 646 yards, 4.75 ypa, 4 TDs.
Vikings. 115 attempts, 511 yards, 4.4 ypa, 5 TDs.
A little surprised by that, there goes the concept that the Packers are a worse Rushing team than the Vikings. Honestly, I feel that if Lacy hadn’t gotten that concussion, he would have more yards than Peterson all by himself at this point. As it stands, he has about 350 yards which isn’t too shabby.
So… Greg Jennings… 5 years, $45 million dollars. I guess it’s a win-win wasn’t it? You got your numbers, we got rid of some salary cap space and didn’t miss you even as the receiving corp fell apart. Turns out it was easy enough to replace you with a 3rd year receiver who was once cut by the Jacksonville Jaguars… but don’t worry you are on a team that doesn’t think they can beat anyone. That’s a better attitude right?
- From the Packers side… We know they offered Jennings more money in the season last year, I have a feeling that once free agency started, they lowered their offer and I have a feeling it is because of this that Jennings really feels hurt by the business that happened. ↩
- There doesn’t seem to be a focus of the offense to be honest. ↩