Patrick Daugherty

Football Daily Dose

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Jettison Jennings?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Three games, three different injuries.

As brought to light by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s legendary Bob McGinn, that’s how things have played out for Greg Jennings of late.

First, there was the MCL sprain he suffered in Green Bay’s Week 14 win over the Raiders last season. That knocked Jennings out until the Packers’ Divisional Round loss to the Giants, where he departed with a fourth-quarter rib injury.

Fast forward to the 2012 season, and Jennings couldn’t survive Green Bay’s Week 1 loss to the 49ers without pulling his groin. Although he’s supposedly “50-50” to play, Jennings’ latest ailment will likely hold him out of tonight’s tilt with the Bears.

It’s a troubling trend that grows even more troubling when you consider it’s really been four games, four injuries for Jennings. He suffered a concussion in the Packers’ ”Family Night Scrimmage” to kick off camp.

That’s a heck of a lot of injuries in one nine-month span for a soon-to-be 29-year-old receiver who hadn’t missed a game since 2007 until last season.

So is it a fluke? Bad luck meets the trials of aging? The beginning of the end?

There’s no real way to know, but there is one thing to know: it might not matter with regards to Jennings’ role in the Packers offense.

There’s already mounting evidence Jennings has been surpassed by Jordy Nelson as the Packers’ No. 1 receiver, and the team is clearly infatuated with second-year pro Randall Cobb.

(For more on Cobb, check out this article from McGinn’s colleague Tyler Dunne.)   

Throw in the fact that James Jones is one of the top reserve wideouts in the NFL, and...might the Pack not even mind if Jennings can’t suit up?

It seems to be a question on McGinn’s mind, who believes the Packers would be “wise” to shop Jennings ahead of October’s trade deadline. Granted, McGinn’s view is based on Jennings’ impending free agency, but if one of the voices of the Packers thinks they should shop Jennings, you can bet it’s at least crossed GM Ted Thompson’s mind.

As it is, it’s doubtful Jennings will be sent packing. It’s equally doubtful fantasy owners will have any better idea of Jennings’ true role in the Packers’ well-oiled machine after tonight’s game.

That means there’s major uncertainty surrounding a player who was the eighth receiver off the board by ADP this summer. So should you strike it rich by buying low, or get out while the gettin’ is still good?

If Jennings is healthy, he’ll play and produce. There’s really no doubt about that. If you wait too long to decide what to do, however, there’s no guarantee it won’t be five games, five injuries.

Running Back Roulette

Another Wednesday, another day of limited practices, surprise absences and warm reassurances.

We’ll start with Jonathan Stewart, who is “optimistic” he’ll play against the Saints after getting in a full practice Wednesday afternoon. Whereas Stewart is optimistic, the Panthers might be desperate after DeAngelo Williams “gained” -1 yards on six carries in Stewart’s absence Sunday. If Stewart gets in two more full practices the next two days, there’s no reason to believe he won’t be active for Week 2.

Jonathan Dwyer

How did Dwyer celebrate being Rotoworld’s eighth most searched player and coach Mike Tomlin’s Tuesday admission that he’s earned an “increased opportunity”? By sitting out practice with a previously undisclosed foot injury.    

Nothing is known about Dwyer’s status beyond the fact that he didn’t suit up, but it we’re making assumptions, it’s probably safe to assume Tomlin wouldn’t have talked Dwyer up on Tuesday if he thought he wasn’t going to play on Sunday.

Of course, that assumes Dwyer’s injury didn’t come on the practice field Wednesday. Based on what we know, however, there’s no reason to panic, and plenty of reason to believe one of this week’s top waiver wire warriors will claim what’s his against the Jets: an increased opportunity.

Adrian Peterson and Trent Richardson

Both players were full-go on Wednesday, and each appears poised to have the reins loosened further in Week 2. For Peterson, that could mean as many as 20 carries. For Richardson, that could mean another 19-carry afternoon, but hopefully more than 39 yards this time.

Peterson is locked and loaded as an RB2 who could easily produce like an RB1. Richardson’s workload will scream RB2, but his production will likely say RB3/flex as he continues to get back into football shape and up to NFL speed following his second knee scope of 2012.  
Other Running Back Notes: Ryan Mathews (clavicle) has yet to be cleared for contact, and didn’t even participate in individual drills Wednesday. He won’t be returning in Week 2. … Arian Foster left practice early with an “illness.” No, it’s not because his vegan diet has weakened his immune system. A bug is making its way through the Texans’ locker room. Foster will be fine for Sunday. … Fred Jackson (knee) believes he’ll “without a doubt” be back in four weeks. C.J. Spiller could have a lot to say about that.

Quarterback Notes: Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt claimed there’s still a chance John Skelton (ankle) could start against the Patriots. Reality has yet to back-up his assertion. … Jake Locker (shoulder) did “everything he wanted” in Titans practice, and expects to start against the Chargers barring a “huge setback.”

Receiver Notes: Calvin Johnson sat out with a foot injury, but “seems to be fine.” His status isn’t a concern for Sunday Night Football. … Hakeem Nicks (foot) missed Giants practice, but will return on Thursday. It’s clear Nicks will be playing through pain this season. It’s less clear how that might affect him. … Pierre Garcon (foot) didn’t practice, but is optimistic he’ll play against the Rams. Fantasy owners’ optimism should be tempered by the fact that coach Mike Shanahan has remained so coy on his No. 1 receiver’s status. … Jeremy Maclin (hip) was held out of Eagles practice. It could be hard to get a true read on his status before Friday. … Steve Smith was limited with a knee issue, but will “without a doubt” play against the Saints. … Austin Collie is expected to be “full go” for Sunday after fully participating in Wednesday’s practice.      

Chris Johnson’s four yards rushing Sunday were: Tied for 93rd in the league. … Two other players with four yards rushing were Ben Roethlisberger and La'Rod Stephens-Howling. … 18 quarterbacks rushed for more yards than Chris Johnson, including backups Tyrod Taylor and Colin Kaepernick. One tight end, Aaron Hernandez, had a better day out of the backfield than Johnson.

Brandon Weeden’s 5.1 QB rating Sunday was: 10 times worse than Michael Vick’s, who threw four picks for the team Weeden was playing. … 7.2 points worse than Robert Griffin III’s yards per attempt. … 6.5 points less than Shane Battier averaged in the NBA Finals. … On the bright side, Weeden did rush for 21 more yards than Chris Johnson.

Patrick Daugherty is a football and baseball writer for He can be found on Twitter .
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