1) Introduction: Green Bay Packers safety M.D. Jennings entered the 2013 season primed to compete with Jerron McMillian for the starting safety spot opposite Morgan Burnett. In fact, the Packers largely brought Jennings back to push McMillian, who they had really hoped would win the job. After splitting reps nearly evenly in 2012, Jennings won the starting role. That McMillian was released in early December for his poor play and attitude says something about the quality of that competition to begin with. Many expected Packers general manager Ted Thompson to address the safety position in last year’s draft, which had quite a few high-value options to choose from. That wasn’t the case and the Packers banked on either Jennings or McMillian taking a step forward. That also wasn’t the case. While Jennings was durable and started every game, he was rarely a factor and if brought back in 2014, it would be solely for competition or special teams purposes.
Melvin Delanie “M.D.” Jennings
- Age: 25
- Born: 7/25/1988 in Grenada, MS
- Height: 6’0″
- Weight: 195
- College: Arkansas State
- Rookie Year: 2011
- NFL Experience: 3 years
3) Expectations coming into the season: Jennings was given the opportunity to win a starting spot but was largely expected to merely be depth at the safety position in 2013. After Packers general manager Ted Thompson chose not to address the safety position in the draft or in free agency, the door was open for Jennings to take a step forward and secure his role on the team. After making a few big plays in 2012, the hope was that Jennings would make a jump from year two to year three and become a diamond in the rough to add to Thompson’s list. The Packers needed that complimentary player next to Burnett who could cover and flash their ball skills.
4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Jennings best game came in week three against the Cincinnati Bengals. Jennings had a sack in that game and graded out positively in run support, according to Pro Football Focus. That’s where the positives ended with Jennings and if not for that one play, Jennings would get an F across the board from me. He did nothing the rest of this season, barely grading out positively on a few occasions. One of the knocks on Jennings coming into this season was his constantly being out of position and getting beat deep. That trend unfortunately continued in 2013. Jennings had no interceptions and never really sniffed a ball all season long, which isn’t surprising considering PFF’s overall grade of -5.2 for Jennings on the year. He was a perpetual lawn ornament and on the field mostly because the Packers had to field 11 guys. This all sounds harsh but the reality is on the tape. Jennings gave up a passer rating of 148.8 this season where a perfect rating is 158.3. That constitutes failure, to me.
5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Jennings’ one quarterback sack was his lone contribution to the Packers this season. As a safety in a pass-heavy NFL and who started all but one game, that is a putrid output. As Packers followers, we have become spoiled with some great safety play over the years. This wasn’t one of them and Jennings was as ordinary as they come. He showed no play-making ability and did nothing to elevate the secondary or defense. He was a non-contributor.
6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: Jennings graded out positively in run support during the wild card game against the San Francisco 49ers but did nothing in pass coverage.
Season Report Card:
(D-) Level of expectations met during the season
(F) Contributions to team’s overall success.
(D-) Contributions to team during the playoffs
Overall Grade: D-——————
Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on AllGreenBayPackers.comFollow Jason Perone: