James Jones, Respect and the Packers Plethora of Receivers

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James Jones is looking for more respect.

They say you can never have enough talent. When you’ve acquired all that talent, the question becomes how do you get the most productivity and value out of said talent.

The Green Bay Packers have no shortage of talent on the offensive side of the ball, especially when it comes to pass catchers. The record-breaking group is back intact after the team re-signed Jermichael Finley and restructured Donald Driver’s contract.

While the talent is unquestionable, there are only so many balls to go around during the course of each game, even in the Packers’ high octane offense. This can lead to frustration which appears to be the case for James Jones.

“I still don’t get no respect around here, though,” Jones said. “That’s why, in all my interviews, I’m just going to start saying ‘Respect.’ Get me some shirts made.”

Part of the lack of respect may have been brought on by Jones himself as he spent most of 2010 dealing with drops. Many fans have had a hard time forgiving Jones, despite his drops having been overcome by the team and his turning the corner in 2011.

Playing with the likes of Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Jermichael Finley, Donald Driver, Randall Cobb and more, Jones doesn’t have the opportunity to separate himself like he would elsewhere. Jones had a quiet, but very good statistical season last year. His catches in 2011 were down to 38 from the 50 he caught in 2010, but his yard per reception was all the way up to 16.7 yards in 2011, an increase of 3.1 yards from his 13.6 yards per reception in 2010. He also scored  more touchdowns in 2011 (seven) than he did in 2010 (five).

While Jones put together a very solid season, he hasn’t gotten the attention he might elsewhere for similar numbers.

This isn’t to say Jones is unhappy being in Green Bay. It comes with the territory.

“When you’ve got a lot of weapons, you need an unselfish group,” Jones said. “I think we’ve done that and been unselfish because we all know the ultimate goal is to win a Super Bowl. At the end of the day, we win a Super Bowl, everybody will be happy. That’s what we’re here for.”

Keeping this mindset is incredibly important for the Packers’ receivers as the season progresses and certain players see stretches without being targeted. A collective mindset needs to remain the goal during the season and a potential Super Bowl run.

While it’s important the Packers’ deal with the issue of respecting and keeping the ultimate goal as the primary focus, the plethora of receiving talent does raise some questions when thinking about the roster.

Jones, Cobb, Finley and Nelson are all locked up for the next few years, but Jennings becomes a free agent following the season. Driver is likely out the door in the next year or two due to retirement. The Packers also have talent in returning practice squad players in Tori Gurley and Diondre Borel in addition to other camp bodies at the position.

With a bunch of talent at the position, it could turn out to be Jennings who is the odd man out. He will likely demand the most expensive contract and with a ton of value below him on the depth chart, it might be smarter to spend that money elsewhere.

Jones is another candidate for ending up in another city sooner rather than later. The Packers may try again to trade Jones after failing to get decent offers for the wide receiver after the 2010 season.

Whatever the case may be, the guys who remain in green and gold must realize respect will come as a team, rather than as an individual.

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Michael is a sports writer currently attending Seattle University. You can follow Michael on Twitter .

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  • zac5

    Nice article Michael. This receiver group is full of talent with none of them being diva’s. Jennings is the only one currently at elite status. I don’t see him going as he loves the Pack and I see him signing a contract extention early in the season, which will both reward him for his service and be affordable. If Gurley and Borel both show promise during camp expect TT to try to trade one of them before final cuts if he doesn’t trade Jones beforehand.

    • zac5

      I should add I like James but has little upside. He is good insurance incase of injury but he himself is expendable to this team, especially if one of the young guns fire up in camp.

  • http://None Bearmeat

    I don’t see why Jones couldn’t be traded for a bubble player at another position from a team that needs WR help. He’s perfectly capable of being a great #2 somewhere.

    Teams don’t give up 1-3 rd draft picks much, but I could see Jones for a backup safety or cb would be nice.

    • ThomasMagnumPI

      Does GB have the roster space to keep said DB on the final 53?

      I just don’t see a trade happening, but I would like to see GB get creative to keep both Borel and Gurley around. Pretty tough to do though, unless both of those guys can contribute on STs.

      • Ed Schoenfeld

        Gurley could definitely be an ST contributor with his talent for blocking kicks, Borel could be a gunner or hands guy. So ST is not the issue.

        There are two issues:

        First, do you have Jennings on the team in 2013. IMO Jennings is enough of a talent that you try to lock him up for the second half of his career. But until they actually get the contract signed, Jones is necessary veteran depth.

        Second is which other positions they go light on to keep 6 or 7 receivers instead of 5. They kind of had one swing spot if they keep only 4 TEs, but after that they need to reduce depth on the O-line or at LB or DB. Someone (sorry I forgot who) did a nice write up of the options on this site a couple of weeks ago. But while all of those ‘minimum numbers’ re nice in theory, Murphy’s law says that’s exactly where the injuries will hit during the season (check out the O-line last season.)

        • ThomasMagnumPI

          Murphy’s law and injuries–you know that the O-Line is going to get bitten by the injury bug if GB doesn’t keep enough depth there.

          I think the only real option is to keep only 3 TEs on the active roster; Finley, Williams and Taylor/Crabtree (Quarless to IR), and substitute TE depth with WR depth. Blocking TEs seem to be fairly readily available on the street if the blocking TE gets injured mid-season, and the move TEs can be replaced with Driver/Cobb/Borel/Gurley (with Gurley providing the big body).

  • Wagszilla

    No James Jones, no Super Bowl in 2010.

    The guy is great and I was a big advocate of his resigning last year.

    Really want to see what Gurley can do though. Just carry one less TE and put Gurley on the 53.

  • Big T

    RESPECT, give me a break…. this showboat has butter fingers. Catch the damn ball then we will give you respect you jackwagon. TT has tried to trade him already and no one, I repeat no one showed any interest in old butter fingers. Therefore we are stuck with fumble fingers. Can you say Waterboy??

    • Ed Schoenfeld

      Every receiver has the dropsies from time to time. Jones did fine last year.

      Anyway, how do we know no one showed interest in a trade? Nobody here knows what was offered — the most you can really say is that no one was willing to pay the price TT wanted. That’s a lot different than no interest at all.

    • Tarynfor12

      I can’t help but feel that you are condensing Jones and Finley in this rant.LOL

    • CSS

      Bit T – You’ve been Donald Driver’s biggest supporter elsewhere, which is great. But you do realize Driver had a drop rate that was greater than James Jones last year, right?

      Are you changing your stance on Driver and now relegating him to Waterboy?

      • Big T

        Driver will catch it everytime in big situations, like playoffs for instance, now James on the other hand usually soils himself instead of catching the ball…

  • http://grizzlymitch@bresnan.net montanacheezhead

    Not signing Jennings? Get real. Jennings and Rogers will be around in the same fashion Manning had Harrison. These two will be signed long term.

    • BubbaOne

      Jennings will be asking for approx. 4 yrs/$50M w/ $25-30M guaranteed as he turns 30 to start the 2013 season. TT has signings of CM3, Raji, Lang, Finley and potentially AR needing to happen.

      TT will get real when he asks himself…
      So do I sign GJ or is the money better spent elsewhere?
      Do I tag him for 2013?…and again for 2014?
      Do I tag and trade him?
      What comp would I need to be offered to make a trade?
      What do I have to see from the WR corp esp Gurley, Borel, Smithson et al to feel comfortable trading GJ?

      That’s more real than I want to get.

      • FourEyesBrewing

        Can’t tag a player two years in a row.

      • Mojo

        Just to expand on Bubba’s comment. I believe, even with the additional TV revenue expected to come in the near future, the Packers will have to make another Sophie’s Choice type decision, similar to what they did with Scott Wells this year. And based on the relative strength of the receiving corp and what he might demand, it could very well be GJ reluctantly allowed to pursue a better offer elsewhere. Unless the market views him like I believe they view James Jones, and that is more a product of the system. I hope the Pack can keep their core guys, but I am somewhat curious what value the rest of the league would place on GJ.

      • steve cheez

        Man, it really sucks having all these good players!

  • Ron LC

    I see a very competitive pre-season at the WR position. What ever happens, GB will have a solid receiver corps. There is no way the Packers come out with anything but a win here.

  • I bleed green more

    I know I am going to catch flack here but I think Jones is a fabulous receiver. Who of the receivers have not dropped passes, anyone out there knows they all did. Jones might not be as flashy but he can catch balls the others do not. The problem is TT and this team has to much talent.

    • Oppy

      As they say, that’s a great problem to have.

  • FourEyesBrewing

    I just don’t like how he says it’s important that the WRs aren’t selfish, then goes and talks about how he doesn’t get the respect he deserves. He’s the only WR that has voiced discontent. If he’s not happy, then maybe he would like to be traded, because I don’t see the attitude or mantra of the WRs changing anytime soon. I also just don’t think he offers anything unique to the WR corp. I would be in support of trading him for a draft pick or cutting him either this offseason or next, depending on if Gurley or Borel are okay sticking on the PS one more year. I hope next year will be Jennings, Nelson, Cobb, Gurley, and Borel.

    • Oppy

      Foureyesbrewing,

      I think you might be missing the point- Jones WANTS to stay in GB. His discontent, and his feelings of lack of respect, stem from:

      1) the fact he wasn’t offered a contract extension before hitting free agency, and if not for the pleas of Aaron Rodgers, the Packers probably would not have resigned him

      2) the fact the Packers have (allegedly) shopped him around the league looking to trade him two seasons in a row.

      This isn’t a case of a WR saying, “give me more money” or “I need to get the ball more”, or “Why does Jordy get more touches than me”, this is a guy who does all the right things, doesn’t cause problems, and he’s basically being told by the team “We really don’t want you.”

      Can you appreciate the difference in this?

  • Tarynfor12

    Perhaps Jones feels he can’t win the popularity contest with Driver and isn’t being taken for the ‘more’ he can do than Driver as shown by stats for the stat fans.
    IMO,Jones play and Drivers decline will change that sooner than later.
    Unless Driver pisses all over the LB coverage early and often…the bench isn’t far.
    Hang tough JJ,many wanted Jordy gone also.