Read here from jsonline’s Tom Silverstein and Greg Bedard about Justin Beaver getting a tryout from the Packers this weekend. No free agent contract, just a tryout. Smart TT, very smart. I have written previously about my concern for the trend in the NFL of having shifty, juke-type runners as kick/punt returners because maybe after being successful for part of a season, they all seem to get tentative or afraid and then suck. Hester being the exception. (There was also the Mike Sherman trend of using fat, incredibly slow guys to return kicks but needless to say that didn’t catch on because it was a ridiculous idea).
I think Justin Beaver should be the Packers return guy and here’s why. Justin Beaver ran a 4.45 40, so he’s fast. He does have some juke in him, but he’s also a solid guy. While only 5’7″, Beaver is still 191 pounds, so he’s no Philip Epps and can probably take a hit or two. But most importantly, he has a bit of crazy in him. He’s at least would be crazy enough to catch a punt running full speed hoping to break one. And, throw in there that he wants more than anything to play in the NFL – he’s more likely than some guy who is already safely on the roster to take chances and be aggressive. Desmond Howard was like this too in his first few years as a return man, until he became good. Then he got tentative and sucked. For someone who knows he’s such a long-shot, I can’t see Beaver ever getting tentative.
Now, I am assuming they will think to try him as a return guy but maybe they are looking at him just as a RB. We’ll see, but good luck Justin – he’d certainly be a popular Packer in Wisconsin.