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Has the Battle Cry Sounded?

Previously, I did a piece on the daring move that Green Bay Packers GM Brian Gutekunst made in releasing beloved Packers icon Jordy Nelson on March 13. I ran through all the options I could think of for the Packers finding an adequate replacement for the upcoming season.

As Sherlock Holmes wisely said: when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. Okay, I’ve done that, and I think the improbable truth is that we’re going to see Geronimo Allison be a starting receiver in September.

Geronimo! The word comes from an Apache Chief who ravaged what is now Arizona in the mid-1800s. During World War II, U.S. paratroopers took to yelling his name as a battle cry when they jumped out of the plane. Maybe Geronimo! will become an exhilarating war cry for Packers fans this year.

What else are we to think when Jordy Nelson is released and the Packers have not added a single new wide receiver to the roster. Sure, they are going to pick a receiver or two in next week’s draft, though most think that won’t happen until the second round. Given the weak college class of receivers this year, it’s doubtful that any draftee will get a large share of Aaron Rodgers’ attention and favor as a rookie.

With Jeff Janis also gone, Geronimo is right there on depth charts as the starter whenever the Packers use a set of three receivers. It’s a reasonable deduction that GM Gutekunst and coach Mike McCarthy think very highly of Allison as he enters his third year of professional ball.

Allison’s Brief Pro Career

Scouting reports of the receiver out of the University of Illinois listed Allison as 6’3” and 196 pounds. The Packers now list him at 202 pounds. I’ll be surprised if he isn’t at 205 or more when he shows up at training camp. By the way, the moniker of his college, the “Fighting Illini,” is based on an Indian Chief, and the college’s logo, still in use despite the politically correct gang, is that of fierce-looking Chief Illiniwek in full headdress.

While Geronimo is overly thin, he’s used that to his advantage, as he’s made several difficult catches by contorting his limber frame in order to come down with off-target throws. His other fine trait is that he has soft and secure hands. He’s had only one or two dropped balls in two years.

Geronimo has been used sparingly in his time with the team. In 2016, he caught 12 of 22 passes, for 202 yards. Last year, he caught 23 or 39 passes thrown his way, for 253 yards. As a rookie, Allison had excellent yards per catch ratios of almost 17 yards. He also played an important role in the postseason defeat of the Cowboys (fittingly), where he had three catches for 46 yards. He’s yet to score an NFL touchdown, however.

Though we have little to go on, his contributions have come in spurts. In the third game of 2017, he caught six of eight Aaron Rodgers’ throws for 122 yards. The game included a 72-yard pass when the Bengals went offside, tempting Rodgers to go long to an open Allison, who changed direction three times after the catch to almost reach the end zone. The play led to a short field goal which sealed the overtime win for the Packers.

When Rodgers returned from injury in week 15 against the Panthers, he again threw eight times to Allison, though they only netted five catches and 33 yards. The Packers trailed by a touchdown with under two minutes to go, but had just recovered an onside kick. Allison caught a short slant and was inside the Panthers’ 30-yard line when defensive back James Bradberry reached around from behind and punched the ball loose. There went the Packers’ playoff hopes and it also signaled the end of Rodgers’ season after his one-game comeback.

In Brett Hundley’s games, Allison produced fewer than 100 yards.

Both in 2016 and 2017, Allison showed a knack for finding open spaces well downfield on broken plays. He’s also shown a talent for sideline catches, and he uses his height well in catching contested balls. Otherwise though, his athleticism is well below average and in particular his 4.67 dash speed. When such scores are this poor, it suggests that Allison might have already reached his low ceiling of potential.

Nor does Allison have a great deal in the way of college achievements. He was at Illinois for only two years, accumulating 1,480 yards and eight touchdowns. Though he was invited to the NFL combine, he went undrafted.

Maybe little of the above matters, however, because Aaron Rodgers seems eager to look to Allison on the field.

Will Geronimo line up as a starting receiver when the Packers begin their 100th season against the Bears? If so, it’s putting a large burden on the 24-year-old who has seldom been in such a spotlight or on so large a stage.

I guess paratroopers yell “Geronimo!” because they know they are taking a substantial risk when they leap out of a plane. If Geronimo is Gutekunst’s battle cry as the Jordy-less Packers take the field in September, I’d say it’s a risky move indeed by the GM. I hope the exhilaration isn’t short-lived.

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Rob Born

Smart drafters don’t select the best available players, they fill a team’s positions of greatest need.

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8 Comments

  1. Skinny April 21, 2018

    Unless Dez told GB he doesn’t want to play here theres no excuse for him not being on this roster. I cant wait until Davante goes down with his yearly concussion and Packer fans are bitching about Davis and Allison being out there tripping over themselves on routes.

    1. Cheese April 21, 2018

      Oh Staahhp. Davante had two concussions in one year because of blatant headhunting. It isn’t some annual occurrence. Plus you’re going to wish ill will on Packer players because they won’t sign the headcase Dez Bryant? The reason Dallas let him go is because he was picking fights with the rest of the locker room. Sounds like a great addition to any team!

  2. Dennis Dervetski April 21, 2018

    Allison may help. Made some nice catches. Weary about speed? We do need a burner, and it is not Davis!

  3. Ferris April 21, 2018

    In Hot Shots part Deux they yelled Geronimo both ways.
    Meeeee!

  4. Pandabucks April 21, 2018

    I like Michael Clark. He was completely raw, and played like it. But his talent far exceeds Allison’s.

  5. Hinder April 22, 2018

    I was hoping to see all of Uncle Ted’s UDFA projects hit the road this season, not start.

  6. Larry April 22, 2018

    Totally disagree with the statement about a weak WR college draft. There are some damn good ones in there, just gotta know the college game and who shined week in week out. There will be some value picks in the middle rds. The ONLY thing Teddy was usually good at was WR scouting.

  7. Phillthy April 23, 2018

    I got faith in this kid. His size and hands are perfect for Rodgers and his knack to throw hard and in specific spots. Hope he gets the chance, anyone Rodgers throws to becomes instantly better.