Editor’s note: This is, as the name suggests, a basketball blog. But as a sports fan, and more particularly as a Green Bay Packers’ fan and shareholder, I feel obligated to blog somewhere with appreciation for some of the likely outgoing Packers. The first victim: Greg Jennings.
It’s no secret that Greg Jennings has played his last game in green and gold. The Packers, who’ve enjoyed the luxury of excess cap space for years now, are finally headed toward a more precarious financial position, with BJ Raji, Clay Matthews and Aaron Rodgers all due to make some serious coin within the next year. Jennings’ production has fizzled the last two years, mostly due to injuries, and if there’s any position Green Bay can afford to part ways with talent, it’s at wide receiver.
From 2008-10, there were few receivers, if any, better than Jennings. Once Rodgers took the helm, Jennings quickly emerged as the No. 1, assuming the mantle from Donald Driver, recording seasons of 1,292 yards and 9 touchdowns, 1,113 yards and 4 TDs, and 1,265 yards and 12 TDs. That last year, 2010, Jennings was money in the Super Bowl run, as well, notching two TD catches and a key third-down grab in the fourth quarter of a 31-25 win over Pittsburgh. In other words, no Greg Jennings, no Super Bowl.
But Jennings’ production has waned in the past two years. He battled groin and abdomen injuries throughout the year, missing 8 games. But when he returned, we saw glimpses of the talent he still possesses; he did drop 8 catches, 120 yards and two touchdowns on the Vikings’ D in Week 17.
There’s just no room for Jennings on this roster. Randall Cobb emerged as Aaron Rodgers’ top target through most of this season, while James Jones, who just catches touchdowns, and Jordy Nelson continue to develop as Pro Bowl-type talents. And then, assuming he returns next season, there’s Jermichael Finley. So with those four guys, why drop $10 million a year, or whatever the market will command, for Jennings?
This post, though, is dedicated to commemorating Jennings’ time in Green Bay, where he was an A-list talent for seven years. Aside from the third-down grab in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLV, I’ll always remember Jennings’ 57-yard game-winner (also Favre’s record-tying No. 420) in the final minutes of a shocking Week 3 upset of the San Diego Chargers at Lambeau Field in 2007. That moment told me two things: for one, the ’07 Packers, then 2-0, were for real (and they’d end up hosting the NFC Championship Game); secondly, Jennings had arrived.
Greg was just a rock in Green Bay, always showing up in the big moments. In Aaron Rodgers’ first career playoff start in 2010, Jennings caught 8 balls for 130 yards and a TD. Then, in the 2011 playoff run, which ended, of course, with a Super Bowl victory, Jennings’ numbers, excluding an early fumble in Atlanta, were unreal: 21 catches for 303 yards and 2 TDs. But as with his regular season numbers, the postseason production has dropped the last two years.
Greg Jennings will be missed, but there should be no hard feelings. The Packers are moving on, as they should, and Greg’s obviously in the right to go to whatever team either pays him the most coin or he feels most comfortable with, whether it’s Miami, Minnesota (please not there, Greg!) or somewhere else. But, Packers fans, let’s take a moment to reflect on all the joy Jennings brought us over the past 7 years. His time here, at least in my eyes, will never be forgotten.
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