Packers: Jeff Janis is Earning the Trust of Aaron Rodgers

If there is one thing the Green Bay Packers lacked when it came to Jeff Janis last season, it was trust, at least at wide receiver. But trust, especially that of Aaron Rodgers, is something Janis is working hard to earn during OTAs.

Janis was a raw prospect coming out of college and for some reason, it look him a long time to earn the faith of Mike McCarthy on the offensive side of the ball.

Of course, Janis earned his place on special teams right away and now, he might be one of the top young kick cover guys in the NFL. That’s why his job going into training camp and the 2016 season is secure.

Yet, Janis wants to be more than a kicking-game stud, he wants to make an impact playing receiver and the best way to do that is simply by earning the trust of Aaron Rodgers.

“I think the biggest thing with Aaron is he wants us to be mentally on the same page,” Janis said recently to ESPN during OTAs. “He knows physical mistakes are going to happen, like dropped balls and things like that, but mental errors are unacceptable to him. So I think that’s where I’m really trying to take a step.”

Here’s a highlight reel of Janis from last season:

Every Packers fan remembers the way Janis played in the playoffs against Arizona, catching seven passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns, including two Hail-Mary passes on the final drive. But during the regular season, he caught just two passes for 79 yards, which shows why this offseason is so critical for his future.

Many players take their biggest leap in their third season and if Janis can take that leap this season, he can go a long way towards solidifying himself long-term in Green Bay. So while some may see OTAs as an afterthought, for Janis, it’s an opportunity to improve and it’s one he’s taking advantage of according to McCarthy.

“He’s done a lot of good things going up the field, catching the ball better, obviously being in sync with Aaron has been a big help,” McCarthy told ESPN. “He had one out cut today that the timing of it was good, we completed it, but he can get better there fundamentally. I think Jeff’s really improving, and he’s gotten a lot of quality reps with Aaron.”

The development of young talent is often the key to winning championships and if Janis can take the next step in 2016, it could do a lot for the Green Bay offense and the team’s hopes of making a deep playoff run next January.

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4 Comments
Robster

I’m all for Janis and the other young receivers getting in sync with the QB, but there’s an element of hypocrisy here regarding the coach and the QB. Last year Aaron called preseason games “meaningless,” and now this month he skips out on the 3-day mini-camp, even though it was a no-pads event. I could not find another NFL team that gave their starting QB this time off. In fact, Russell Wilson, Luck, Brady, Carson Palmer, etc. were all praising the value of their mini-camps. Rodgers should have been there even if the coach insists on pampering him. We lost ground on our competitors, but at least Janis and Hundley seemed to be very much in sync. The QB who credits offseason and preseason as preparing him to succeed Favre seems to have forgotten the importance of quality practices.

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Anonymous

The idea of giving the vets time off was to allow the younger guys to get reps and take charge. Brett Hundley got valuable time to mature and grow and if Rodgers was there he would have just been another backup. The packers rely more on their younger core than any team that I know so this time for them to progress will go a lot further than you might think. What happens if Rodgers is out for a game or two. Last year the idea was to go full steam and not wait for the rookies and younger guys to catch up mentally, that backfired after the hot start they had because they started to have to rely on those younger guys after the first half of the season and they weren’t ready. Your only as strong as your weakest link and they spent this mini camp improving the backend of the roster.

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shavager

I think Robster’s got a legitimate point about Rodgers. Rodgers seems to read too many press clippings about how great he is. He failed to step up and use Jeff Janis in offense more last season even as WE ALL could see the Pack starting WR’s couldn’t get any separation. Absence of Jordy Nelson and his speed was evident in coverage against Pack’s offense–Janis is the fastest WR, even using him as a decoy would’ve been better than 3 and out as many times as Rodgers offense did. When the Pack was desperate for WR help in playoffs vs. Cardinals, it was Janis and Jared Abbrederis who looked like starting veterans instead of the actual starters…

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Mike

Yes, it appeared as if they had something against the kid. Or there was a personality clash with Rodgers, or TT or MM played Adams (hurt BTW) who proceeded to drop balls and continue to get zero separation. This is all speculation of course, however, I could not believe the stubbornness of the Packers staff to continue in the direction that they were going up and into the beginning of the Arizona game. Very poor decisions IMHO. Even a silly armchair GM like myself could see the talent this guy has . . . Why didn’t they see it?

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