1) Introduction: Packers safety M.D. Jennings entered 2012 trying to crack the roster at safety after playing primarily on special teams in his rookie season of 2011. With Charles Woodson moving from cornerback to safety and with the team having drafted rookie Jerron McMillian in April’s draft, Jennings faced some stiff competition for reps at safety. Because of the team’s many sub packages on defense, Jennings did get on the field as early as week one. When Woodson went down midway through the season, Jennings started several games and gained valuable reps at safety.
Melvin Delanie “M.D.” Jennings
- Age: 24
- Born: 7/25/1988 in Grenada, MS
- Height: 6’0″
- Weight: 195
- College: Arkansas State
- Rookie Year: 2011
- NFL Experience: 2 years
3) Expectations coming into the season: Jennings was expected to develop and see some reps in the team’s nickel package as well as back up Burnett and Woodson. The team’s hope was that Jennings could push to eventually become a regular on the team’s defense when Woodson eventually departs. He was also there to compete with rookie McMillian. Jennings continued to be an important part of the team’s special teams coverage units.
4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Jennings best game in terms of his grading came against the Houston Texans. He graded positively in each area. Jennings did score the Packers’ first intercpetion return for a touchdown in week 11 win against the Detroit Lions. His low lights include the most controversial moment of the NFL’s 2012 season. It was Jennings who had “simultaneous” possession of the ball at the end of the Monday Night game in Seattle that was eventually ruled a touchdown catch. Replay clearly showed that Jennings had secure and sole possession of the ball. The play should have been ruled a game-ending interception and a Packers victory. In reality, Jennings got his true low light of the sesaon out of the way in week one. Jennings badly blew his coverage assignment on San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Randy Moss, who snuck behind Jennings and nabbed a touchdown pass on the play. The Packers eventually lost that game.
5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Jennings posted one score on defense and should have scored another game-saving interception. His overall score, according to Pro Football Focus, for the season was -1.2. While this doesn’t seem to bode well for Jennings, he rarely allowed a big play and filled in aptly when Woodson went down. He wasn’t flashy, but has shown a hard-working mentality and did improve as the season went on.
6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: Jennings was on field for less than one-third of the team’s defensive snaps during the playoffs. He wasn’t great and wasn’t awful. M.D. actually graded out positively in the divisional game against the 49ers, although his snaps were limited.
Season Report Card:
(C+) Level of expectations met during the season
(C+) Contributions to team’s overall success.
(C-) Contributions to team during the playoffs
Overall Grade: C