It would be nice if the Packers could use Amari Rodgers as a consistent wide receiving option.
The question is, what is a realistic expectation for the wideout entering his second NFL season?
“Like I said, we have a standard in our room of like what we’re looking for on routes, of just knowing those details inside and out,” said Packers wide receivers/passing game coordinator Jason Vrable. “He’s just got to play faster and he’s got to play with more confidence.”
Rodgers was drafted in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft to fill a void in the slot position but a role never really materialized. He only caught four passes for 45 yards and was targeted just eight times. And he only had a catch percentage of 50 percent by playing just 10 percent of the offensive snaps.
With Davante Adams off to the Las Vegas Raiders, Rodgers finds himself in an interesting position. There are so many snaps up for grabs for wideouts this year. Rodgers knows that he has to produce in order for the offense to keep up its solid play.
But don’t just pigeon-hole him as a slot receiver. The 5-foot-9, 212-pound receiver has spent a lot of time getting better this past offseason and if he’s going to make a jump; the time is now.
“His mindset is, ‘I’m going to be the No. 1 guy at all three positions.’” said Vrable. “He has that going for him. His route-running is already cleaner and crisper. He’s trained an entire offseason.”
Coming into a situation with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback makes it infinitely tougher for receivers. The amount that is expected is a lot. Aaron Rodgers expects his wideouts to be at a certain spot at a certain time, because that’s where he’s throwing it. He throws it to a spot as opposed to throwing it to a player, which is what most quarterbacks do.
It just needs to be more instinctual with Rodgers. Entering his second year, he needs to be able to read and react where and how the defense is playing him and then run his route off of that or improvise to an open crease in a soft zone.
The reason that many were skeptical about adding Randall Cobb was because there was a good chance that Cobb would squelch the development of Rodgers. Well, Cobb stole his reps in practice and then stole them in games. Which is surprising, because Cobb only had two games with 50 or more receiving yards. Rodgers couldn’t leapfrog a 31-year-old that had enough trouble getting open and getting down the field.
That has to change this year. Vrable and the Packers need to see some splash plays from Rodgers, just to prove that he can be a dynamic force in this league.
If he doesn’t produce again, Rodgers will be fighting for a job in 2023.
Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on “Clubhouse Live” and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn