Greg Jennings Opens Up: What Does It Mean For The Packers?

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Greg Jennings
What do Greg Jennings' recent comments mean for the Packers?

Jermichael Finley usually has the distinct honor of being the most vocal member of the Green Bay Packers whether it is in regular media interviews or his much scorned Twitter account.

As of late, however, someone is slowly sneaking up on Finley and trying to wrestle away his title.

That person, to the surprise of some, is none other than Pro Bowl WR Greg Jennings.   Jennings recently has made headlines for calling out a division rival as well as opening up about the Packers’ loss in last year’s playoffs to the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants.

In an interview with NFL Network, Jennings talked about perhaps the team that presents the biggest threat to the Packers’ throne atop the NFC North—the Detroit Lions.  Here is what Jennings had to say about Detroit:

“They’re a very talented team, but they have struggles on the field containing their composure, and definitely, the things we’ve heard of, them being in the media with off-the-field problems and off-the-field issues. Can they maintain their composure? Can they be a professional ball club for 16, 17, 18 solid weeks throughout the regular season?”

I’m not knocking Jennings for what he had to say here.  He’s absolutely right. The Lions are a team that is one of the most talented in the league, but as the Packers saw last Thanksgiving as well as this offseason with a fair amount of players being arrested, the apparent lack of maturity could keep the team from making it to the next level and competing for a Lombardi Trophy.

The question is how smart is it to call out a divisional rival that has an offense that can keep pace with the Packers and a defense that has one of the best defenders in the NFL in Ndamukong Suh?  Jennings wasn’t doing anything but stating the obvious and it’s something even the Lions themselves have come to realize.

However, Jennings’ comments did manage to draw the ire of one Lions player on Twitter.  Stephen Tulloch posted the following tweet in response to Jennings:

“Who is Greg Jennings to talk about the Lions? The guy should worry about his own team….”

Packers tight end Tom Crabtree had his teammate’s back when he retorted:

“Who are you to talk about Greg talking about you? (sic)” followed by “Who am I?”

Looks like we’re in for some fun during the two games the Packers and Lions meet.

Jennings also refused to blow off the Packers’ loss to the Giants as a fluke like many fans have.  Members of the team this offseason have said that they didn’t think Giants weren’t the better team and that the Packers didn’t play up to their standards and that’s why the Packers’ 2011 season came to a screeching halt.

Here’s what Jennings had to say on the matter:

“It hurts. It was a disappointing end to the season, but obviously, we lost to a better team at that point. We didn’t play up to our standard, but I can’t knock what the Giants did. They came in our house, beat us on our turf, got it done.”

In hindsight, it’s hard to argue with Jennings on that one.  The Packers and by extension their fans were so enthralled at the team’s magical season that they expected a cakewalk to another Super Bowl. As people like to say, that’s why they play the games.

The sting from the loss is going to take some time to wear off.  Can the Packers shake it off and make another run for the Lombardi Trophy? Most folks seem to think so.

Jennings in particular is looking to have a big 2012 as he is entering a contract year.  It’s hard to imagine a situation in which he leaves the Packers but with Jordy Nelson on the rise, Jennings is going to have all the motivation he needs to prove he is still the best receiver on a roster full of talented pass catchers.

Another question that needs to be asked is what to make of Jennings opening up like he recently has?  He’s been nothing but pure class on and off the field but to some he has a somewhat big mouth.  He doesn’t go off on profanity laced tirades nor does he ever ask for the damn ball, but there is something about Jennings personality that seems…well…Hollywood.

This is not to say he’s a diva or is becoming a Terrell Owens or Chad OchoJohnson.  Far from it.  Jennings learned under the guidance of Donald Driver so there is very little reason to doubt Jennings is motivated by some kind of selfish goal.

Jennings seems mature enough to handle the responsibility that comes with superstardom in the NFL.  However, as we have seen time and time again, not everyone is what they seem.  Anyone can experience a shocking downfall in a very short period of time.

If he can avoid that, then Jennings very well may have a Hollywood ending to his career.

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Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com.

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  • http://grizzlymitch@bresnan.net montanacheezhead

    Yes, he is a diva. How many guys are guest hosts on the NFL channel. He had to answer the questions that were asked of him. He answered them honestly and I don’t believe he bashed anybody.

  • Packers Fan in Atlanta

    I really hate that this story has been blown up so much. Guy was on NFL Network responding to a question in which he was asked what questions does each team in the division have. He gave a reasonable answer with for every team including the Packers and the only aspect of this that is being talked about is the Lions portion because Stephen Tulloch and keep his own mouth shut, especially since his own coach couldn’t mind his own business, making snide remarks about the Packers’ off day that yielded no Packer responses.

  • Big T

    pretty sad and slow newsday when this story makes headlines, give me a break, Jennings answered a question honestly, so lets bash him and make something out of nothing. There are plenty of jackwagons out there that say dumbazz crap everyday, please go after them and leave one of the only classy organizations left alone. THank you

  • FireMMNow

    i love crabtree’s tweet. that is good stuff. we will see if he is on the team to back up his smack though.

    just about every article fails to point out that he was asked a very specific question. yeah he could have given a weak answer, but it was honest and what every fan of the NFL thinks. if this is still bulletin board material in september for the lions then they really do have issues.

  • marpag

    What does Jennings “opening up” mean for the Packers?

    It means nothing.

    • Ed

      I’ll disagree a little. I think these comments mean several things. First, they mean Jennings is not accepting that the Giants playoff game was some kind of one time thing — he is challenging his teammates to play better and be more consistent.

      The Lion’s comment is a similar warning shot. It means that the Packers are aware of the Lions sometimes undisciplined play and are watching for it. If the Lions put this on their bulletin board, what will they do? They already put out max effort against the Pack; if Jennings calling them out inspires the Lions to play with more discipline and not stomp on people, so much the better.

      Last, Jennings’ comments mean he is stepping up to the role of being a vocal leader. He is auditioning for the Donald Driver job within the receiving corps. Whether Driver leaves this year or next year he will be gone soon, and the Packers will need to replace that veteran who can say things the rest of the team listens to. Jennings has been more of a leader by example so far, but if he wants the long term contract renewal one of the things he wants to show the Packers he can do is be a vocal leader in a measured and respectful way. I think he did that.

      • ScottS

        I don’t think he’s auditioning for a leadership role. He leads by example. I think he’s auditioning for a commentator or spokesperson role for when he retires from football. He’s showing he’s intelligent, articulate, and that he speaks the truth. And that he can do it with class.

      • Sven

        I agree that Jennings Called out the Lions for lacking composer. What are they going to do? Get all rev’d up and go out the and play mistake free football for 60 minutes without breaking the rules or having a personal foul. Sounds good to me.

        But if the lions come out and continue to show that they lack maturity, it does not hurt the packers, unless of course they start injuring people.

        NFL players cant say or do anything any more with out someone trying to find something wrong with it. Makes me happy that the world isnt watching me so close.

    • Brad

      It means Rodgers is gonna throw him the ball.

  • bisonhead33

    I can’t agree more with most of the comments made here. Jennings was answering a question with honesty and insight. He even made the comment that he didn’t want to give anybody “bulletin board material.” The guy has class and integrity.

  • Ron LC

    To paraphrase a saying that drives me crazy, “The Lions are what they are.” They can’t deny the fact that they lack, not only, team disipline, but personal disipline. As long as Shvartzie (a little Mel Brooks here) is in charge that is not likely to change.

    The playoff game? MM needs to better prepare his team for the opponent. Newhouse failed miserably against St. Jean and was not adequately supported by the offensive game plan. The D was opportunistic, but continued to fail miserably on 3rd down defense. Capers, are listening?

    Adjustments to a few glaring weaknesses from 2011 and the season will end just fine.

    Go Pack!

  • Oppy

    Jennings did what you are supposed to do, even if you don’t necessarily believe it- say the better team won. It’s considered low class and sour grapes to do anything else.

    He knows, and stated as much, that the Packers didn’t play nearly to their ability. No one can talk about the Philbin situation, but clearly, the Packers as an entire organization did not cope well with that adversity.

    As far as bulletin board material, I think it is blown out of proportion with rare exception… Show me a team that plays harder or more focused because a rival made a disparaging comment, and I’ll show you a team that lacks focused players and good coaching.