Donald Driver: Driver should start again and produce at a high level. There is just something about him that has made him alarmingly reliable. He’s not a big guy and he plays so fearlessly that it sometimes doesn’t add up that he can produce so much sine injury (I threw “sine” in there so that you’d all say, wow, Andy knows Latin and must be so smart that he assumes the rest of us know other languages – a pet peeve of mine re academic types). Anyway, Driver is a stud and I expect a 60-70 reception season from him.
Greg Jennings: Jennings is also a stud. I have to admit, brother Steve called this and has been a big fan of his since Day 1. One thing Jennings has going against him this year, however, is that he’s not a secret anymore. Teams know now that if they don’t pay enough attention to him, he will not only make the catch, but very possibly take it to the house. Jennings took almost 1 in every 4.5 passes to the end zone…very impressive. For defenses, it will be a bit difficult to determine who to give more double-team help against, Driver or Jennings. Nice problem to have. I expect Jennings to maybe have more receptions this year (60-70) but fewer TDs.
James Jones: Jones is very good (shy of stud level for now) and something tells me he hasn’t really even given us a glimpse of his true talent yet. I think the pre-season play last week with the helmet is more typical of the kind of Sterling Sharpe-dragging-CBs-down-the-field type play we’ll see from Jones. Also, Jones is clearly going to be Rodgers favorite target this year and his number will show that. Interestingly, last year Jones only had 6 fewer receptions than Jennings (though 300 fewer yards and 10 fewer TDs). I expect Jones to have quite a few more receptions this year (70 or so) and to be a disruptive force in 3 receiver sets as it will become very difficult to defenses to know who to key on.
Ruvell Martin: I put Martin here in the #4 spot because he deserves it. Assuming his recovers OK from his concussion the other night, this guy need to be on the field. It’s hard to believe I’m writing that about a guy I considered mostly a scrub a couple years ago. But he just plain does something productive, whether it’s making difficult catches (though he dropped a critical one in the playoffs last year) or blocking better than any WR out there today. He’s got a great attitude and he helps this team. Martin, could surpass the 25 reception mark if he gets in enough.
Jordy Nelson: So far, Jordy has been OK. I heard someone raving about how smooth he was in the Cincy game the other night…didn’t see that necessarily. I can see his potential though in watching him play. I didn’t realize either that he was a 1st team All-American last year, no small honor. I know he had one decent return and I realize he’d be somewhat tough to bring down for opposing special teamers, but I still prefer Blackmon returning punts and kicks. Jordy might be at his best in a 4 receiver set where he gets a back-up/back-up CB on him. He also may be good on some jump ball kinds of throws or catching the ball in traffic. I did see a bit more juke in him on one play than I was expecting. Still, the jury on Jordy is still out until I see something more from him. I can see Jordy ending up with 15-20 receptions this year.
The rest: Johnny Quinn seems like the kind of tough I’ll-do-anything-you-ask guy who can really help out a team. But I don’t think he’s a keeper. Brett Swain looks like Brett Favre trying to catch passes. Not seeing the quickness or the apparent quality route-running. I had irrational dreams of him being the next Wes Welker. Chris Francies has to keep sticking around the team for a reason. It seems the team is reluctant to let him go. He had a bad game Monday night, but reports around indicate he’s had a decent camp so far. Taj Smith doesn’t seem to be that good, but may be able to be developed (practice squad type). Jake Allen – know very little re this guy???
By the way, anyone know what happened to Carlyle Holiday? I thought that guy was starting to look really good before his injury last year. I’m surprised he wasn’t at least invited to camp. Ok, I just read that he was released by the team 2/29/08. Too bad – I also liked having an emergency QB floating around just in case.