Cory’s Corner: Aaron Rodgers equals a capable Jarrett Boykin

ALLGBP.com All Green Bay Packers All the Time

The equation was proven when Greg Jennings left for Minnesota. And it’s going to be proven again when James Jones suits up for Oakland for the first time.

Jarrett Boykin will be slotted into the coveted No. 3 wide receiver next season. He's ready because of one person.
Jarrett Boykin will be slotted into the coveted No. 3 wide receiver next season. He’s ready because of one person.

I’ve heard many say that Jarrett Boykin is a question mark and cannot be counted on to truly be a No. 3 wideout in the NFL. Those are true and warranted sentiments.

However, don’t be like Jennings and Jones and forget about the most important part of the equation: Aaron Rodgers. Jones is a capable receiver but he has a tendency to grow alligator arms and forgets what route to run.

But this isn’t about Jones. It’s about how Rodgers made Jones and basically got him a three-year deal in 2011. It’s also about how Rodgers found Jones for 14 touchdowns in 2012.

Boykin has only played two seasons and only started in eight games. When the Packers open next September he could very well get the deer in the headlights and look completely confused.

However, the odds of that happening are quite slim. Why? Well, Scott Tolzien made Brandon Bostick look superhuman last year for a possession. I think it isn’t out of Rodgers’ realm to make Boykin look pretty good.

But in Boykin’s defense, he’s not that bad. He runs routes hard and has shown a willingness to learn. He will have to continue that inquisitiveness by peppering Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb — arguably the best wide receiving tandem in the game.

Wide receivers are even more critical now that NFL offenses resemble a seven-on-seven passing drill.

Yet, it all comes back to the quarterback. A subpar quarterback will make even Pro Bowl receivers look average as opposed to a preeminent quarterback that makes average pass-catchers good.

Boykin will be fine, but when you boil it down it doesn’t really matter. There are plenty of warm bodies with pass-catching experience that could be slotted into the Packers’ No. 3 job and succeed. It’s pretty hard to fail when the ball is placed on a platter and is in a tight spiral nearly every time.

This is the year that Boykin must learn and make strides. He must process plenty of information during training camp so that he can be called upon if Nelson or Cobb go down with injury.

The one thing that the Packers are going to miss from Jones is his separation. He was a big target that could make himself available quickly. In press coverage, Boykin may be exposed but if you’re consistently pressing a No. 3 receiver, that’s a pretty nice compliment.

But like I said before, any deficiencies from any one of the Packers pass catchers can and will be glossed over by the best quarterback in the game.

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Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn

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  • Savage57

    There’s no doubt that AR makes his receivers look better.

    But how great would it be for GB to find another receiver that makes AR look better? Is it Cobb or Boykin’s emergence, or is he deep on the depth chart/PS, or somewhere in the draft pool?

    In those terms, Jordy is the only guy that AR has that fits that bill.

    • I believe Rodgers is the best QB on the planet but in fairness to Cobb, he’s more than there in making Rodgers look better. Cobb was on his way to having another great season before Elam’s shot to his leg.

      • Savage57

        I hope that you’re right with Cobb, because Ted’s probably going to throw a lot of money at him.

        He needs a bigger body of work. He had a good rookie season and a truncated second one. If this is the season he stays healthy and plays an entire season to the full potential he’s shown in flashes, then he will have emerged as a WR that makes AR look better.

  • Scheny Schen

    Corey,
    James Jones didn’t forget who got him there. Jones was a professional through and through. He was not bitter or acrimonious about his split from GB. He hasn’t bad-mouthed anyone or trashed the Packers. We didn’t offer him a contract and he took a job from someone who did. To lump jones and Jennings into the same category is terribly misleading as well as inaccurate. Not sure what games you’ve been watching but I don’t recall a “tendency” of wrong-route running by jones. — I applaud you for taking the time to write on this website, but more fact-finding may be in order. Don’t fall into the writers trap of “not letting the facts get in the way of a good story.” GoPack!

    • Cory Jennerjohn

      Why didn’t the Packers offer him a contract? Ted Thompson wouldn’t have had a problem with a three-year deal. It actually reminds me a lot of the Scott Wells saga when he left for St. Louis.

      But Thompson was more willing to take a risk on an unproven commodity in Jarrett Boykin rather than lock up an aging wideout that has had problems hanging on to the ball.

      Was Jones a good receiver? Yes. Could he have been a better Packers receiver in my opinion? Yes.

      • bozz

        “Ted Thompson wouldn’t have had a problem with a three-year deal.”
        that’s just too much of a leap.

      • SchenySchen

        Cory,
        you’re missing the point. You are calling into question James Jone’s character by stating he “forgot who got him there”….. that is inaccurate. Thompson’s M.O. has been to let older veterans walk in free-agency, its certainly not because he thought Jones had “alligator arms”. Boykin is playing on a very low-cost contract. TT knows Jones would cost substantially more. It is a financial decision, not a disgruntled player/skill set decision as you have written in your article. Making a judgement of Jones character, by lumping him with Jennings, is not something that should be done as lightly as I feel you have. GoPack!

        • Ed Schoenfeld

          What Scheny said, and more. Thompson lets older players go because they will **eventually** decline and the Packers have younger players on tap to replace them. That’s not Boykin — Boykin replaced Driver. It’s also not Myles White — White is on schedule to take over Jennings slot. Jones’ replacement will be one of Harper, Dorsey, or a kid they draft this year.

          That progression is inevitable when you apply a ‘Draft and develop’ philosophy.

          There was nothing wrong with Jones from the Packers point of view except age.

          • Dobber

            What’s the old saying: better to let a player go a year too early than a year too late?

      • Mojo

        I don’t get why the Jones “dropping the ball” thing is still an issue. He made some of the most spectacular grabs in traffic the last few years. Sure he should have made a few plays in the most recent playoff game, but I think his arms were frozen. Else, he’s been one of the more reliable pass catchers in GB, and the league the last few years. https://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2014/03/24/sig-stats-drop-rate-wrs/

        • Wendall

          His arms were frozen from several broken ribs. If you have never experienced this, you can not reach out very far with your arms or you get a stabbing feeling and can’t breath.

        • jOE

          I always thought Jones had below average hands but some of those catches in 2012-2013 were amazing!! They were a highlight reel in themselves. Jones was and is a pro and acted accordingly, a little sad to see him go but I think Boykin will be just fine as a replacement.

      • Nopainnogain

        They didn’t offer him because he’s six years older than Boykin and because Boykin comes at a cheaper price. It’s nothing to do with route-running or drops. Each of the last 2 seasons, he’s been in the top-10 for best (lowest) drop rates amongst receivers. In fact, Nelson and Cobb have each had over twice as many drops.

        and I don’t know what people you’ve been listening to, but Boykin is not unproven. Look at just about any stat or grade and you’ll see he is at least amongst the top 25-30% of #3 WR’s last year. And that was with Flynn and Tolzien at QB.

    • yes I agree jones didn’t receive a contract from packers because of boykins emergence jones professionalism will be mist

    • yes I agree jones didn’t receive a contract from packers because of boykins emergence jones professionalism will be mist

    • yes I agree jones didn’t receive a contract from packers because of boykins emergence jones professionalism will be mist

      • Steve Cheez

        keep trying, you’ll get the spelling right eventually

    • Jeff

      I think Jones will be missed. He had some quality years after he solved his drop problems. He was especially good at making tough catches in tight coverage. More than once he snared what looked like a possible pick or incomplete pass into 6 points. Boykin looks to have some upside to him, but they need a good 4th guy to complete their offense

    • Jeff

      I think Jones will be missed. He had some quality years after he solved his drop problems. He was especially good at making tough catches in tight coverage. More than once he snared what looked like a possible pick or incomplete pass into 6 points. Boykin looks to have some upside to him, but they need a good 4th guy to complete their offense

    • Jeff

      I think Jones will be missed. He had some quality years after he solved his drop problems. He was especially good at making tough catches in tight coverage. More than once he snared what looked like a possible pick or incomplete pass into 6 points. Boykin looks to have some upside to him, but they need a good 4th guy to complete their offense

  • Hank Scorpio

    “Yet, it all comes back to the quarterback. A subpar quarterback will make even Pro Bowl receivers look average as opposed to a preeminent quarterback that makes average pass-catchers good.”

    ===============================

    This is 100% true. Look back at some of the Packer WRs that have put up great numbers catching passes from Favre and/or Rodgers and what they did elsewhere. Jennings is a great example but I can’t think of a better one than Bill Schroeder.

    NE has had a revolving door of players catching passes from Brady. The catchers come and go, yet Brady remains the same.

    Friendly advice for fantasy football players…pay no attention to Erik Decker’s production in Denver now that he has moved to the Jets.

  • JH9

    TT knew long before any of us that this draft was deep at the WR position. I expect he’ll draft one with either his second pick in the 3rd round or his fourth round pick. It was time to let JJ go.

  • Razer

    I agree with Cory on JJ. I liked Jones but he had these lapses in play that made you wonder. The smart thing is to invest in younger (cheaper) rather than older. Beside that, Boykin is ready. He made some tough and clutch catches. He will do everything that Jones did, maybe even better, Aaron Rodgers will do the rest.

    I like that the Packers are creating this multi-head offensive monster. The addition of a run game is huge in this picture. If our TEs step-up, we will be a hard team to defense. In that picture, why would you need to worry whether you resigned Jones or plugged in another young talent. Keep the WR development pool well stocked and we won’t skip a beat.

  • Ed Schoenfeld

    This article could have been better if it compared Boykin’s production catching passes from Rodgers with his production from Wallace/Tolzien/Flynn.

    Just a thought.

    • Dobber

      Boykin was virtually invisible (didn’t catch a pass in the first 5 games) until both Jones and Cobb got hurt. I don’t think we’d be speaking on him with such confidence if he hadn’t benefitted from that circumstance.

      Still, he had to produce once thrust into the role. He was remarkably consistent catching passes from Tolzein, Flynn, or Rodgers, which is what puts me at ease. He was also benefitting from Nelson drawing additional attention from opposing secondaries. Remember that Boykin will be stepping in as the #3 receiver, not the #1 or #2. Maybe he has the makings of a #2.

      In this case, though, how much did you want to pay Jones to be your #3 WR? Not only that, if you’re paying Jones, you’re invariably impacting what Nelson and Cobb would be asking for in their extensions which need to be done tout de suite.

  • Big T

    Jones was a very likeable guy and a decent reciever, however, when you have passes bouncing off of your helmet and shoulder pads (in the playoffs) its time to say bye bye…

  • Tarynfor12

    Every WR has and will again run the wrong route..it’s called confusion and it happens to even the best.

    James Jones had his confusions but mostly his issue was separation which he often made up for with making an incredible catch and clutch more than some would acknowledge.

    Putting him in the same pile as Jennings says Jones has already publicly made issue with Rodgers and this is where credibility diminishes at least for this article.

    Jones had goals of being a #1 WR and like many others needed to make a self assessment and adjust which he has done by the play he gave us the next 3 years.

    Boykin is young and hungry but don’t erase the possible thinking that he himself will also have such lofty goals and attempt to benefit/achieve elsewhere from what Rodgers adds to that confidence in his self and goals.

    Would he be criticized and dumped on the pile also though never whispering a word of despise for either his former QB or team as like Jones here?

    Thompsons Draft and Develop and his UDFA knack make it hard to retain veteran players because of play level in the now and the ceiling the youth have exhibited.Don’t read or place more into it than the facts.

  • Cory Jennerjohn

    I never said James Jones left whining and complaining like Greg Jennings.

    But if James Jones understood how much quarterbacks meant to him and his position, why would he then sign with an average team that has had seven different quarterbacks lead the Raiders in passing yards for a season since 2005?

    It’s all about wide receivers understanding their place. Nothing more, nothing less.

    • Stroh

      Jones didn’t have much choice about where he signed. He didn’t have other options since GB, rightfully, didn’t offer him a contract.

      His other point… ” I applaud you for taking the time to write on this website, but more fact-finding may be in order.” Also has a lot of merit.

      You seem to let what you think get in the way of facts. You need to be less biased and more in tune with an unbiased and fact based article. More research all the way around.

      • Stroh

        Scheny’s other point that is…

    • marpag

      Geez, this isn’t hard. If GB offered Jones a contract, just share the evidence of it. If you have no evidence of a contract offer, then you don’t have a valid point anymore, either.

      But let’s say Thompson DID offer him a contract, and furthermore, let’s say that it was for EVEN MORE than what the Raiders offered. And let’s suppose that Jones says, “You know what? I want to go back to my home area and be near my family, and I want to play damn hard and do whatever I can do to make the Raiders a better team.”

      Oh, but wait! Cory Jennerjohn feels that Jones isn’t “understanding his place.” Jones “doesn’t understand how much quaterbacks mean to him and his position.”

      Why shouldn’t Jones just fly you the bird on his way out of town? If he wants to play for the Raiders, how does that put your undies in a bundle? Where is it written that Jones is somehow required to play with the best QB in the league?

  • Archie

    I’m a big James Jones fan but I have no problem with letting him go. Why? Boykin is a better value and it is time to find an even better WR in the draft. Boykin may turn out to be better than Jones and he is certainly cheaper at this point in their respective careers. And he’s younger. We have 3 very good WRs but we still need one fantastic WR. We need somebody who is a constant threat to blow the top off the defense. I hope there is one in R2 this year that TT can’t resist.

    DEFENSE – That’s where our personnel problems lie. Two softies at S, two softies at ILB and a softie at NT (Raji). Raji will be surrounded by two two unproven DEs this year when Peppers is in the elephant. And we still have a major Q at OLB, opposite CMIII. By my count, that’s 8 potential holes that need filling. A couple may be ably filled by guys on the roster already but most will not be. We need more defensive playmakers. For this reason, trading down in R1 and picking up an extra pick or two could be the winning strategy. We need to add at least one playmaker to each defensive unit. Ane even if we succeed in that, we may need to do the same thing in 2015. This defense is devoid of talent and playmakers.

    OFFENSE: I expect a WR, TE, OL and QB from this draft, but not in the top 2 rounds with the possible exception of WR. Good year to find a QB. A R2 would excite the hell out of me, especially given TT’s penchant for hitting on R2 picks in general and WRs in particular. Add to that the great depth in this draft class at WR. You must give AROD weapons to succeed. We need to be 4 deep in quality WR at the very least. If we lose Jordy or Cobb to injury, we must be able to field a 3rd guy who is dangerous.

  • Archie

    correction []…..

    Good year to find a QB. A R2 [WR] would excite the hell out of me,

  • Calabasa

    “It’s all about wide receivers understanding their place. Nothing more, nothing less.”

    It’s all about $$$, you mean. C.R.E.A.M.

  • Jay

    A guy who would normally be round two could fall to round three in this draft. I would love to trade back in the first with a team like the 49ers and grab their 1st and 3rd. The 2nd round looks to be the honey hole and history shows TT does very well in the 2nd round

  • Oppy

    Anyone watch Jarret Boykin play football over the last two seasons?

    The kid has play maker talent. I could care less who is throwing him the ball.. Just look at what he can do once he’s got it in his hands.

    Consistency is the only thing I expect could be an issue for Boykin as a #3 WR in the NFL, but frankly, it just feels like he’s ready to make a huge step in 2014.

  • I fully expect Boykins to be a legitimate #3 WR. I expect him to be as good and maybe better than James Jones. I wish Jones all the best. It is true that Rodgers will make Boykins look better, but he looked pretty good with Tolzien and Flynn.

    I am somewhat surprised by the support for drafting a QB. I am not against it, necessarily, if there is someone TT and MM like. If GB signs Flynn, I am comfortable with Tolzien and Flynn as back ups for the next couple of years.

  • Lou

    Lets get real, had the Packers made any offer to Jones the Journal’s Bob McGinn would have reported it (he revealed the Rajii offer and the player & agent never contested it). Jones and the team got equal value for his 7 seasons, he was solid on and off the field and based on his age and Boykin’s emergence Ted make the “business deal” not to offer him a contract. He was a big target with surprising seperation speed at times and despite a few concentration issues that led to drops he was a natural pass catcher (did not body catch). The business part of the transaction is clear, I believe if Driver had not won DWS he would have not received an offer for his last season, that was out of the norm for Ted. Boykin has a chance to be an “Aquan Boldin” type threat, the kid has beat the odds time and time again, don’t bet against him.

  • BoykinHeCatch

    Boykin is a top of the line #3 WR. I loved watching him make plays from his freshman to senior year at Virginia Tech (where he left as the career leader in receiving). Despite not being the biggest or fastest guy out there, there is no doubt about Boykin’s playmaking ability. He is a perfect fit for the Pack’s third WR.

    • Oppy

      What jumps out at me when I watch Boykin isn’t the catches- it is his agility and shake with the ball in his hands. He was awfully close to breaking out on a number of his catches. I suspect he could be a RAC monster- great moves, he creates yardage.

      For the record, the ‘thumbs up’ is for the absolutely great screen name/handle you’ve got.

  • Jones deserved to “cash” on his past success as an aging receiver, play 3 more years at a good price & retire. GB has a potential replacement or can draft one. I’m not so sure we shouldn’t go “all in” on offense as long as AR is healthy & we now have a running game. We can outscore most teams, but I doubt we’ll ever become a defensive powerhouse overnight, we just need too many holes filled. The Nat football league is geared to scoring by their rules, there’s a lot more interference called than holding. I’d go for broke this year on offense, get a top wideout then a tight end. If we just keep drafting defensive players that don’t workout, we have plenty of them on the rooster. Maybe we should teach them to play & in the meantime just out score the other guy. remember, Team with the MOST points wins!!