Final Grades: Wide Receivers

Discussion in 'Green Bay Packer Football' started by Mark Eckel, Jan 10, 2018.

  1. Mark Eckel

    Mark Eckel Guest

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    By BOB McGINN

    This is the first of a nine-part position-by-position series in which the 67 players on the Green Bay Packers’ 53-man roster and injured-reserve lists at the end of the season are graded. Playing-time percentages are from offense and defense only.

    WIDE RECEIVERS (7)

    DAVANTE ADAMS (74.1%): Day-in, day-out he was the team’s best player in training camp, and his striking development carried over into what became his finest season. Almost impossible to reroute in the bump zone because of his extremely quick feet and much improved release. Worked inside and outside equally well. Capable of beating elite cornerbacks on the full route tree. Competitive at the ball, makes acrobatic catches and isn’t a bad blocker. Wasn’t great after the catch (4.24-yard average, down from 4.81 last year) and had a team-high eight drops in a team-high 112 targeted throws. Has suffered three concussions in the last 1 ½ seasons, including two this season on illegal hits by linebackers Danny Trevathan of Chicago and Thomas Davis of Carolina. One day before the finale he signed a four-year, $58 million extension to become the fourth highest-paid WR in the league. Grade: B-plus.

    GERONIMO ALLISON (32.8%): Suspended for the opener (substance abuse), Allison came back to hold the No. 4 berth all season. In effect, he just treaded water in his second season. Played just two seasons of Division I football (Illinois) and his game still needs tightening. His late fumble in Carolina won’t soon be forgotten. Can make breath-taking catches and has some pizzazz after the catch. Needs work on the little things. Towering possession receiver should benefit from the teaching of a veteran receivers coach like Jim Hostler. Grade: D-plus.

    MICHAEL CLARK (7.2%): Project well worth another long look. Former Division I basketball player spent just two seasons on the football team at Marshall, redshirting one. Came on late in training camp and flourished on the practice squad before playing 75 snaps in the last two games. Perhaps was anointed too soon. Dropped two of 14 targets and really wasn’t ready. Has good if not outstanding potential. At this point he’s a screen-slant-takeoff-red zone receiver. Leggy at 6-5 ½, but has 4.53 speed. Grade: D.

    RANDALL COBB (70.9%): Made it through an injury-free August and missed just one game (chest) due to injury. Not as dynamic in his seventh season as he once was. Certified tough guy has absorbed heavy punishment over the years. No longer lightning-quick off the line, doesn’t separate as well at the break point and seldom runs away from tacklers in the open field. Still, he didn’t drop a pass until Game 14. Since dropping a record 14 in 2015 he has just six drops in 195 targets the past two years. He led the team in average gain after the catch at 5.5, his best since 2014 and indicative of a player with some juice remaining in his legs. Lined up 39 times in the backfield, including four from “wildcat” formation. He’s worthy of playing time in 2018 but at less than 50% of the $8.6 million base salary in the final year of his contract. Grade: C-plus.

    TREVOR DAVIS (9.8%): Added needed weight and strength between years one and two and blossomed into one of the NFL’s leading return specialists. His 12.0-yard average on punts ranked third in the league, the Packers’ best finish since Desmond Howard ran wild to be No. 1 in 1996. Assumed the kickoff job after 5 ½ games and tied for seventh at 22.8. Generally made sound decisions. Handled the ball on 77 returns without a fumble. As the only legitimate burner (4.41) on a slow-as-molasses corps of WRs he should have played much more than 103 snaps from scrimmage. The coaches failed Davis by not getting him on the field for Jordy Nelson. Grade: B-minus.

    JEFF JANIS (4.8%): Encountered double-team blocking almost every week as opposing special-teams coaches refused to let Janis beat them. His tackle total of six was a far cry from the 15 he amassed in 2015. Played merely eight snaps from scrimmage in the first 14 games, and almost all of those came on the kneel-down team. Logged 42 in Games 15-16, making one nice reception and dropping a bang-bang post in Detroit that probably was a touchdown. It’s obvious that Mike McCarthy has no use for Janis as a wide receiver. Still, he should be able to carve out a nice niche for himself here or elsewhere because wide receivers with his speed-toughness-tackling ability often last a long time. Grade: C-minus.

    JORDY NELSON (77%): Didn’t do anything in training camp, exhibition games or in 806 snaps. The only judgment, at 32 and in his 10th season, is that Nelson has hit the proverbial wall. Lived on his six TD passes from Aaron Rodgers in the first five games to elude scrutiny over his ongoing collapse. Other than a 32-yard “free” play against the unsuspecting Seahawks, his TD passes measured 1, 3, 4, 8 and 10 yards. Never caught another in what was by far his poorest season. Rodgers’ injury was just a convenient excuse. He couldn’t beat press coverage or separate downfield. He also developed a disturbing habit of falling down for little or no reason when the ball arrived. His average gain after the catch of 2.30 was the lowest of his career; on 67.9% of his 53 catches he gained two or fewer yards post-catch. Of all WRs with 25 or more receptions, Nelson ranked third worst in yards per catch at 9.1. Late in the season his hands and blocking deserted him, too. His long catch from Game 6 on was 17 yards. After averaging 20.7 receptions for 20 or more yards in his last three full seasons Nelson had four in 2017. There’s no reason to bring Nelson back for the final year of his contract at $9.25 million base salary. If the Packers think his legs are gone, release him. Grade: D-minus.

    The post Final Grades: Wide Receivers appeared first on Bob McGinn Football.

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  2. TW

    TW Moderator

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    Sorry! I think this is pure rubbish. Not worth comment.
     
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  3. Mark87

    Mark87 Carpe Diem Admin

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    Not sure I can agree with you. First I'm a firm believer that grading an employee should be on the conservative end of the spectrum. They can't improve and get better if you don't point out and show what's wrong.

    Second the drops and mental mistakes ( not just the WR) just can't seem to go away. Now to McGinns credit he addresses that a couple of these guys could turn it around with better coaching.

    I suppose people could get pissy about the Jordy grade but he's a 32 yr old WR with mileage and a rebuilt knee. I am living proof that it's hard to overcome injury and father time. It's not an unreasonable review to wonder if he hit the wall.

    Frankly the reason I trade up for a WR in my first mock draft is this group underperformed and has grown long on the tooth. As your new GM stated TW we have to have competition at every position each week so we can keep players hungry. Yes it's rather harsh but they earned this yr.sb(tc(
     
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  4. HeartyHops

    HeartyHops Lifetime Member

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    I think some of the grades are a bit harsh, yes, but some are certainly well deserved.

    The only reason I might give some a bit of a pass is, well, Hundley. It must be difficult to go from Rodgers to that.
     
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  5. TW

    TW Moderator

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    I gathered this was supposed to be a rating system for WRs, and he went off on tangents related to special teams, etc. That's not rating them as receivers, it's rating them based on other contributions. It's like saying Rodgers stunk as a QB because he had less running yardage than Hundley, therefore is a better QB. Give him a B+, and Rodgers gets a C-.

    I don't care what he rated any of these guys at to be honest. We did not have a QB who could throw the ball, and quite honestly, that made all the difference this year. As far as Nelson, I'm not on, nor off, his bandwagon. I figure that this year was a write off for nearly all of them. Adams? He was Hundley's favorite, and next year, with Rodgers back, he may be his favorite, but my guess is he's going to end up #2 or #3 on his choice list, because Rodgers will throw to the guys he trusts most, the most often.

    Let's look at a few stats. Nelson, 1 drop, Cobb, 2 drops, Adams, 5 drops. Heard people say Nelson couldn't hold onto ball? Bull!

    Nelson is 32, not dead. I've seen a lot of guys with less talent than him play over age 35. He'll prove everyone wrong next year, when he's once again the #1 target for Rodgers. You don't just throw him out because you had a crappy QB who couldn't throw to him.

    Anyhow, I hope the Packers have more sense than the people who want to throw Nelson and a few others under the bus. This team was so poorly coached that it's amazing they didn't revolt before the season ended.
     
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  6. Cheesedog

    Cheesedog Moderator

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    I think he did a good job with tbose ratings.. it was a bad mix of old and pure rawness. Our WR were awful overall. And while Hundley made his share of mistakes the WRs did not help him any....
     
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  7. 57packer

    57packer 2017 Draft Guru

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    I think McGinn's a bit harsh but that seems his pattern lately, about the whole team. It's like they have ticked him off for years now and the MJS wouldn't let him go off on them, so now that he's on his own, he's become "Cranky Uncle Bob" and says whatever he damn well pleases.

    That said, I don't think his evaluations are completely off base. Cobb and Nelson are both showing their age. Cobb made a few more plays than Nelson this year but he's not nearly as explosive or elusive as he used to be (he was never all that fast). I agree with Bob that Nelson had an off year, but the D- seemed a little unwarranted. Personally, I bring both of them back and see what's up in training camp. If one of them wants to restructure, that'd be fine, but since the team isn't in CAP hell you might as well let this thing play out and see what you've got come summer. Cut or trade one during Camp if it's obvious they aren't worthy of a roster spot.

    It's probably just time to cut bait with Janis. I think he can be better with another team. He just doesn't seem to fit what MM wants so why keep him around. I draft a WR pretty high this year and ease him in because I am not planning on having either Cobb or Nelson come 2019. Then try to find a dependable #3 from among Davis, Allison and Clark, so you know if you need to draft another one high in 2019.
     
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  8. TW

    TW Moderator

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    Exactly my point. McGinn has overstated most of his evaluations. He figures a guy goes from one of the best in the league to a total zero in the course of a few weeks? I don't buy that. I think he's overreacting, and it's because of what happened in his access to the Packers, and their locker room.

    The truth will be shown when they hit the field to start 2018. Those who have it should do well, those that don't? Let them go, in my opinion. But, before you do that, make sure you have someone who can bring at least as much talent to the field as the guy you cut. It doesn't make sense to take a step back just because of the birth date on the guy's drivers license.
     
  9. eyecatcher

    eyecatcher Member

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    I liked the assessment at first but I can't argue with what you just said since I've felt every piece of writing McGinn has done in the last couple years has been a biting, negative attack on the Packers. I'd be a hypocrite to change that opinion for this article.
     
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  10. Mark87

    Mark87 Carpe Diem Admin

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    To be blunt I think it's you who are overreacting in this case. Take the ggg( off and understand that the whole group underperformed. GB didn't can a bunch of coaches and make changes in the organization based on success they did so because everyone underperformed last season.

    Those of you who keep whining about McGinn... just don't click on the story. Simple as that.
     
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