About Time: Janis gets chance to help Offense, Validates fans calling for him
From Brian E Murphy, Packers Insider senior editor
~Aaron doesn’t trust him.
He’s not on the same page as Aaron is.
He doesn’t run the routes right.
He’s too raw.
You’ve heard all the “excuses” by now as to why the speed-challenged Packers refused to throw Jordy Nelson-clone Jeff Janis out there on the field this season, in Nelson’s absence or otherwise.
I’ve been tired of those tag-lines for a long time. And I’m still tired of it. Anytime there’s been a pass to Janis that has gone incomplete, everyone assumes there was a mistake made and that it was Janis “running the wrong route”.
Number one, what people fail to realize is that even with the thousands of reps Rodgers has had with Nelson and Randall Cobb, they still have their fair share of “miscommunications“. We’ve seen it, and heard it. But for some reason, fans and Rodgers forget about those, yet if it happens with Janis, it’s all pinned on Janis.
Last year in the overtime NFC Championship game loss to Seattle, in which the Packers should have won by a lot, Rodgers threw two costly interceptions.
One was the deep pass to Davante Adams on Richard Sherman in which Rodgers thought he had a free play. And he should have had a free play as Michael Bennett was offsides. But Adams has never caught a bomb in the NFL, and why try it against the best deep CB-cover guy, Richard Sherman? I’m not sure why Adams is so overrated, depended on like he’s Julio Jones or Antonio Brown.
Secondly, it was this second interception that was inexcusable. It came after a nice 23-yard gain to Nelson that put the Packers in field goal range already, at the Seattle 33-yard line in a 16-0 game at the time midway through the second quarter. This game should have been a blowout as great as the Packers defense was for 55 minutes.
It was a simple, basic short pass to the left/middle of the field and the throw went right to Seattle DB Byron Maxwell for a gift interception and season-saving play for Seattle. Both Cobb and Nelson were on the left side, each wide open.
It wasn’t a great play or great read by Maxwell. It was a simple miscommunication between Rodgers and Randall Cobb. A simple pitch & catch that middle-schoolers could complete.
Where was the criticism at Cobb? Or at Rodgers? Nowhere, but there should have been. It was 100% unforced. It was a turnover. And it was on a first down, in field goal range.
Had it been Janis, there would have been. Why not Cobb, who had five seasons under his belt already and was a second round draft pick?
Because sometimes there are options within routes, and it’s up to the receiver and the quarterback to see it the same, be on the same page, and make the little adjustment to get to the open spot.
As I said earlier, Cobb and Nelson had thousands of reps already with Rodgers, including in games. If that happens with Cobb on such a simple play as this, and has it happened at times with Nelson, then why is everyone so hard on Janis.
In addition to that, Janis has been open deep, behind the coverage, at least a handful of times and Rodgers has mostly underthrown him, and last night overthrew him once out of the back of the end zone, and underthrew him another time in which a defensive pass interference could have been called.
I know there was a deep one midway through this year up the left sideline where it looked like Janis didn’t make a good effort or adjustment to go up and get the ball. But like I said, we’ve seen that from Cobb and Nelson, and of course Davante Adams has made dozens of big mistakes, from wrong routes to stopping routes to dropped passes.
Why wasn’t Janis getting the same opportunities? Draft status? Small school? Not buddies with Aaron?
He possesses the same speed and size, jumping ability as Nelson does. That cannot be ignored. And it wasn’t last night on the 4th down conversion and on the two touchdowns, including the game-tying (should have been game-winning) Hail Mary catch against All-Pro Patrick Peterson.
Next season, or actually this training camp, we should see Janis out there getting plenty of reps with Rodgers and the number one offense. Right?
Don’t bet on it.