Oct 23, 2011; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings (85) looks to the video board during the game with the Minnesota Vikings at the Metrodome. The Packers win 33-27. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Today was not a good day for fans of the Green Bay Packers with the Steven Jackson news. If I ever knew what it was like to have been left at the altar, I guess that’s kinda how I was feeling earlier today.
Like everyone else, I got caught up in the free agency frenzy, the rumors, the fake tweets, the experts telling us that the Packers had the inside track in the Jackson derby. Maybe at one point they did. But after seeing what the Falcons gave the All-Pro running back, I can understand completely why Ted Thompson walked away from the table.
A 30-year-old running back who has had just short of 2,400 NFL carries? Is he worth $4 million per season for four years? Thompson says no and I have to agree with him.
There are those who will argue that the Packers have to do something about their anemic running game. I agree. How do the Packers do that? They address the needs at the line.
I don’t care if Jim Brown is in the Packers backfield – with the line they have in place, he would struggle to gain yardage. Improve the line and the backs the Packers have in-house will be effective. Thompson feels confident in his players and knows that with some depth and a starter or two on the line, this team can function well. They don’t need a big-name declining running back to do it. While addressing the line in the draft, I have a feeling that Thompson will find a running back through the draft who will add to the team’s attack.
Jim Brown could be in the Packers backfield and struggle with the earning yardage.
And what about Greg Jennings?Thompson feels confident in his players and knows that with some depth and a starter or two on the line, this team can function well. They don’t need a big-name declining running back to do it. While addressing the line in the draft, I have a feeling that Thompson will find a running back through the draft who will add to the team’s attack.
Yes, he’s having dinner in Minnesota and checking out their facilities at Winter Park. That’s fine. Is he looking for leverage? Maybe. Will he re-sign with the Packers because they have the best quarterback in the league? Possibly.
But what if he doesn’t? Is it time to run screaming into the night exclaiming that Ted Thompson must go?
We must understand that Jennings will make his decision based on his comfort level. If he’s liking what he sees in Minnesota, hey, more power to him. We can yell “traitor” all we want, but it won’t change his decision. It will be time to move on.
Yes, it would be great for Jennings to come back to the Packers, but we certainly can’t expect it. In fact, we should probably assume he’s gone, that he’s checked out and is ready for a change. It’s just too bad his decision will be to move on to the Vikings. We are sick of former Packers making their new home in Minnesota. But it is what it is.
It is not time to panic. It will be time to get to work. It will be time to start looking at 23-year-old rookies to develop.
Greg Jennings (85) celebrates a touchdown against the Denver Broncos at Lambeau Field. Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
It will be another time of transition, but every team experiences transitions. In fact, the teams that are most active in free agency are experiencing those growing pangs more so than those who head in to the spring OTAs with their team intact. We’ve seen it happen before – consider all of those Washington Redskins teams that spent big bucks to bring in big names and then fell flat on their face. Chemistry in a locker room doesn’t necessarily emanate from million dollar superstars. In my opinion, it comes from young players earning their way through hard work and determination.
Ted Thompson likes those types of players, too, and will continue to pursue them
In the meantime, we hope Mr. Jennings enjoyed his dinner and will have a productive day tomorrow. If he decides to move on, so will we.
It certainly won’t be time to panic.