Green Bay Packers receiver Greg Jennings is playing some outstanding football of late.
In the last five games, Jennings has 32 receptions for 520 yards and six touchdowns. Those are pretty nice numbers, especially when compared to his first five games — 14 receptions for 183 yards and three touchdowns.
Additionally, Jennings’ targets have increased from 31 to 45, when comparing the same set of games.
This is all great and Jennings is rightfully being lauded for his increased production, but it’s pretty clear it’s a product of tight end Jermichael Finley’s season-ending injury.
Finley went down early in the Packers’ week five loss to Washington. In the first four games of the season, Finley recorded 21 receptions for 301 yards and a touchdown.
He was also clearly quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ favorite target.
Jennings, in other words, was the forgotten man.
Coach Mike McCarthy confirmed as much earlier this week, saying the coaching staff hasn’t done anything out of the norm to get Jennings involved.
“We are not designing new plays for Greg or anything like that,” McCarthy said.
This isn’t to suggest Jennings isn’t a good player. It’s more to demonstrate how important Finley has become to the offense, how he dominates the ball and how that affects other players.
As you may recall, as Finley’s production increased over the second half of last season, Donald Driver’s decreased.
When he’s on the field, Finley is clearly the Packers’ No. 1 receiver, which is a role Jennings used to have and has assumed again with Finley out.
It’s not a bad problem to have if you’re the Packers, but it will interesting to see how Jennings reacts when he’s back to playing second fiddle again, next season.