Cory's Corner: Packers Pass Catchers Might Be Best In League

Who do you think led the Packers in targets last year?

If you said Christian Watson, guess again. If you said, Jayden Reed, you would be close, but alas, you’d be wrong. 

Romeo Doubs led the Packers in targets with 96 last year. The fourth round pick out of Nevada has impressed everyone and his ability to shed defenders with solid route running has been impressive. 

But Doubs is just a part of the answer. Reed led the Packers with 64 receptions and 793 yards. It wasn’t just wideouts however. Tucker Kraft had the best catch percentage by hauling in 77.5 with fellow tight end Luke Musgrave’s 73.9 not far behind. 

Jordan Love has to be smiling from ear to ear about now. Eleven Packers pass catchers had double digit receptions last year. That includes six wide receivers, three running backs and two tight ends.

The reason why this is comforting is because the Packers don’t have to rely on just one guy to move the chains or get in the end zone. There are so many guys on this team that can catch the ball. Of AJ Dillon’s 22 receptions, 10 went for first downs. That tells me that Love not only trusts everyone to make plays, but he knows that they can do it in big spots. 

Bo Melton only played in five games and he caught 16 passes. Many didn’t even know who the former seventh round pick was until he caught four passes at Carolina and started at Minnesota on New Year’s Eve the following week. 

That is catnip for pass catchers. If you get open, Love will find you. That’s it. Just do your job and he will do his. 

It blew me away when I heard some people say that the Packers should go after a wideout early in the 2023 NFL Draft. Green Bay might have the best collection of pass catchers in the league. Adding to that would’ve been unnecessary — especially for a team that went from 14th in offensive points in 2022 to 12th in 2023. 

More will be asked of Love this year, but without the added stress. It will be like wanting all the flavor of Coca-Cola but opting for Coke Zero. He can play as loose as he wants because he knows that just about anyone that he throws to is able and willing to do what’s asked. 

But looking at it from the other perspective, it’s also a great time to be a Packers pass catcher. They know that all they have to do is create space and Love will find them. That’s pretty empowering for young guys that are trying to create their own legacy. 

 

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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

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6 points
 

Comments (13)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Handsback's picture

May 25, 2024 at 07:02 am

This is a hand and glove relationship. The hand looks at who is open and the glove catches the ball. It seems simple, but it's not. Because too many QBs look for the routes to come open for the number 1 or 2 receiver. Then try to buy time to find who is open.
It's a mindset that Love seems to have embraced, if you get open I'll get you the ball. Will it change over time, probably...but for now it plays havoc on DCs to cover a lot of gloves to keep them from catching anything.

12 points
12
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Bitternotsour's picture

May 25, 2024 at 08:41 am

to be very fair, shit is happening really quickly in those sequences and the processing speed is crazy. maybe the difference we're seeing in Rodgers and Love is that Love has the younger, more plastic brain, and he's just processing much faster than Rodgers was able.

So too the new generation of gamers, brains are seemingly trained differently. When you're playing video games threats and decision making happen almost instantly, and if you make the wrong choice, you're dead.

Anyway, if you read Dusty's columns on the offense and play development it gives you a real appreciation of how fast the options and windows develop, and it's mind boggling that a guy can just stand in the pocket with three hundred pound assassins converging on them and pick out a person who has a 2' window of opportunity in a 10th of a second.

5 points
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LambeauPlain's picture

May 25, 2024 at 07:29 am

Are the Packers Receiving Corps the best in the NFL? Maybe not yet, but they deserve to be in the conversation.

They are the youngest receiving squad in the league and among the most athletic. Packers overall are the youngest and 7th most athletic as a team (7th best collective RAS).

I do know what will cement the ID as the "Best of the NFL" as receivers is having one of the best QB throwing to them. It is my not unrealistic hope, Jordan Love with soon be in the discussion as the "best QB in the NFL." He already is "one of the best" after his first season as a starter.

What will greatly aid all of the young Packer players is what Matt values and sees on and off the field:

"I have so much appreciation for Gutey and his staff for the type of people that they bring in the building.
You can never be around enough high-character people that love the game of football, that are willing to put in the work and are very coachable."

Character was a secret ingredient of Gute's mentors: Wolf and especially Ted.

3 points
4
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Guam's picture

May 25, 2024 at 07:40 am

"That tells me Love not only trusts everyone to make plays, but he knows they can do it in big spots."

This is certainly a refreshing change from the later years of Rodgers' tenure when rookies were not to be trusted and Adams and other vets were the heavily preferred targets. My memories of the early Rodgers' years were that he spread the ball around much more and was less rookie averse. I hope Love does not fall into the same development pattern as Rodgers.

The front office can help Love avoid that same "growth" by insuring he has quality depth a WR, TE and RB so can he continue to throw to the open man regardless of seniority.

6 points
7
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stockholder's picture

May 25, 2024 at 11:02 am

Love has nothing to lose by throwing it around.
His chemistry isn't with anyone yet.
And if there was a chemistry with a guy.
It was Aaron Jones.( Who he said he'd miss.)
So debate, who is good, and who isn't.
Because all of these receivers have to
take that next step.
Progress is the battle Cry.
Who can and who won't.
And Love's accuracy will still be the issue.
You've already compared him to Rodgers.
Don't be surprised if he learned his bad habits.

-9 points
2
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LLCHESTY's picture

May 25, 2024 at 01:19 pm

Apparently Love said losing Jones was tough but it's a business and looks like he's over it.

https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/packers-jordan-love-explains-why-loss...

5 points
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ricky's picture

May 25, 2024 at 11:04 am

The idea of not having a #1 WR is being given a good test in GB. Instead of Jefferson, Adams, Lamb or Hill, the Packers have complementary pass catchers. As noted by Handsback and Guam, spreading the ball around makes it harder to concentrate on any single receiver. In the last part of the Rodgers Era, in crucial situations, just make sure you have Adams blanketed, and Rodgers either gets sacked or throws it away. What will be interesting to see is what happens as the rookie contracts start to lapse. Because the team will have to prioritize who to keep, and who to let walk in FA. But that is a couple of years away, and that will be dealt with at that time.

4 points
4
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Ya_tittle's picture

May 25, 2024 at 11:14 am

Yeah, the Niners in that playoff game double and triple covered Adams and ignored others. It worked. Rodgers in the end was just not the Rodgers of 2010. Far from it.

0 points
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Ya_tittle's picture

May 25, 2024 at 11:12 am

Thank you for this excellent factual analysis. I just think Wicks is gonna break out big time in 2024.

5 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

May 25, 2024 at 02:22 pm

I don't know if it will be this year or next year but if I had to pick who ends up the best of the bunch I'd go with Wicks. My only worry with him is I saw a clip of him working out with Reed in Florida and he looked jacked, so I hope he didn't get too big. He's listed at 206 but looked closer to 215 from what I saw.

Another year with Love could make a big difference with him too. You watch snaps of last year and there was so many snaps where he had great separation but Love was a bit slow getting him the ball. Love is going to see that and try and get the ball out of his breaks little quicker and it will give Wicks more chances to run after the catch. Being a WR is all about separation and Wicks is the best separator on the Packers.

2 points
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NickPerry's picture

May 25, 2024 at 08:59 pm

"Eleven Packers pass catchers had double digit receptions last year. That includes six wide receivers, three running backs and two tight ends.
The reason why this is comforting is because the Packers don’t have to rely on just one guy to move the chains or get in the end zone. There are so many guys on this team that can catch the ball."

I think we also HAVE to say it's ALSO comforting knowing we have a QB who will throw to any one of those 11 pass catchers at ANY time. I really enjoyed watching Love throw to the OPEN man instead of the ONE man like a few years ago. Don't get me wrong, 12 and 17 were GREAT. But I think this is going to be SO much better.

1 points
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cheezyone's picture

May 26, 2024 at 07:43 am

I agree Nick. So many people say the Packers need to have a #1 receiver, but when you have several really good receivers, and the QB is throwing to the open man, opposing defenses will have a hard time covering everyone.

1 points
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golfpacker1's picture

May 27, 2024 at 10:30 am

Yeah Cheezy, the need for a #1 WR is really not important and actually beneficial for GB as they can exploit whatever the defense try's to take away. It also means GB won't have to pay anyone WR1 type of money, which allows cap dollars to go elsewhere to get upgrade or resign players.

During draft season every other article suggested GB draft players at positions that were already very strong, thus passing on fixing the actual problem areas that we had. I was thrilled when the first 4 picks filled actual holes and upgraded the OL, LB, S, and RB groups. With this draft we turned almost every group into a bonifide strength and brought us that much closer to being a complete team.

One of the articles recommended spending a 1st or 2nd round pick on WR so we could watch that player fight to even get on the field. Edge and DT also were suggested to waste one of our top 5 picks on, again drafting players who would not see many snaps. Those 3 position groups will be priority needs in the 2025 draft especially depending on how Christian Watsons season and hamstring goes. Also DT if Clark is not resigned and Edge when Smith is traded.

2 points
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