Watching Greg Jennings catch that crucial pass in traffic, across the middle in last year’s Super Bowl – the third down reception that solidified the Packers win – only strengthened what I already knew: That he is among the elite receivers in the National Football League.
So, needless to say, I was shocked a few weeks ago when it was announced that he was ranked number 74 in the NFL.com’s top 100 players of this past season.
As one of the most consistent receivers in the league since he joined the Green Bay Packers in 2006, this low ranking is indicative of the seeming lack of respect number 85 receives.
Is he not just as solid a football player as the likes of Miles Austin? Brandon Marshall, Brandon Lloyd, Marques Colston, Dwayne Bowe, Devin Hester, Reggie Wayne, DeSean Jackson, Calvin Johnson, and Roddy White?
Those are the receivers, in that order, who were judged better than Jennings this past year.
With the exception of the possibility of Wayne (experience and long-term success in the league) and Johnson (because of sheer physical skills), there is no way that anyone in their right mind would separate these others so significantly from Jennings.
Let’s look at Austin: having come into the league the same year as Jennings (2006), it wasn’t until 2009 that Austin broke into the starting lineup.
His career stats pale compared to Jennings. He’s got 168 catches for 2,715 total yards. Jennings has 322 catches for 5,222 yards.
Austin had just over 1,000 yards last season – Jennings had 1,265.
I can’t believe Austin was rated ahead of Jennings.
Not only that, how many Super Bowls has Austin has won?
But even more disturbing is the difference in rating between Jennings and Roddy White.
Jennings was listed more than 50 paces behind White in the poll. Are they that different on the field?
White has one more year of experience in the league, having come in as a rookie in 2005.
The two receivers’ stats have been comparable … With White coming across as more of a possession-type receiver and Jennings the more explosive.
White outdistanced Jennings in total yards by about 120 last season, but Jennings had the better average per catch, 16.6 yards to White’s 12.1.
Jennings also had 12 touchdowns to White’s 10. Jennings, as the deep threat, also had a touchdown of 86 yards as his longest, White’s was 46 yards.
White did best Jennings in receptions per game (7.2) – 4.8 for Jennings. White also had a better per game average of 86.8 yards, compared to Jennings’ 79.1.
On paper these two receivers match up well.
But on the popular poll that has been formulated by the NFL they aren’t even close.
Something’s wrong with that picture.
It’s a good thing that Jennings is a modest man. No doubt, he wouldn’t make too much of an issue of it.
Someone has to stand up for him. It might as well be me.
If there’s a silver lining, it has to be that the pressure to perform this coming winter won’t be as great.
Just play, Greg, and let your performance speak for itself.
The Roddy Whites of the work will slowly fade away.
Oh, and by the way, how many Super Bowl wins does White have?