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Packers Grossly Overestimated Geronimo Allison’s Skills

Free agent Geronimo Allison has agreed to terms with the Detroit Lions. Not surprisingly, the deal is for the veteran’s minimum of $910,000, and he’ll get a $137,500 signing bonus, which gets him to just over $1 million.

For all of Allison’s four years in Green Bay I’ve been as charitable as I know how to be about the Packers’ attraction to this undrafted, non-athletic splinter of a man: 202 pounds (196 coming out of college) spread over a 6’3” frame. I’ve also, however, been brutally honest in repeatedly wondering aloud what the team saw in him.

The best deal he could get from any club after four years in the league is an accurate measure of his worth. It is also an indication of how badly the team miscalculated in giving him so much playing time over four years. Even in 2019, when the writing was on the wall, the G-man was given 638 snaps, or 59.2 percent of them. In return, they got a piddly 287 yards of production, on 34 catches. His two fumbles matched his two touchdowns. Due in large part to his flimsy physique, Allison has been plagued with injury, ball security, and pass dropping problems.

While Allison was essentially assigned a starter’s role last season, the Packers gave Allen Lazard only 44.4 percent of the action, and the under-utilized Jake Kumerow got only 30.4 percent of the snaps. It’s a shame that Kumerow has never been given the opportunities he has earned.

In sum, Geronimo’s shortcomings should have been obvious to the most casual of fans. How could the front office and coaching staff have been so blind?

I apologize for starting 2020 in such a funk. But the Geronimo saga is but a part of a much larger tableau. When it comes to Green Bay receivers, our team has had its head in the sand extending well back into the Ted Thompson era. Sorry, but things haven’t improved any under GM Gutekunst, or for that matter under head coach Matt LaFleur. Nor does the Devin Funchess deal improve my disposition.

This list of bungles includes signing Jerad Cook up for only a year, and to the unending futile attempts to find a tight end on the cheap, followed by the over-reaction of paying a king’s ransom for the declining Jimmy Graham. Let’s not even think about Marty Bennett.

Add to the list the bunching up of receivers in the middle rounds of the 2018 draft: J’Mon Moore, MVS, and Equanimeous St. Brown. By the way, fourth-rounder Moore is now with the Browns, sort of (reserve/future contract), where he hopes to add to his career total of 15 yards of receptions.

It also includes the free fall in 2019 of Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who has failed to make proper use of his ample talent – he has the body and athleticism to become a star in this league. Who else can you name who is a well-proportioned 6’4” with 4.37 speed?

I’ll only go back the last five years, but the list includes the failure of the club to develop or utilize such guys as Ty Montgomery, Jeff Janis, Jared Abbrederis, and Kumerow,

The list also includes the sinking career of Randall Cobb – the Packers were unable for three straight years to reverse the downward trajectory of a still-young player. And there’s the similar decline of Richard Rodgers, who went from 58 catches for 510 yards and eight TDs in his second year in 2015 to just signing with the Redskins for around $1 million for one year – he’s still only 28.

The list should also include the failure to properly exploit Aaron Jones’s receiving talents in his first two years.

And it must include the casting off of James Jones in 2014, then begging him to come back (he saved the team in 2015), then casting him off again after that season.

Geronimo Allison injury against Buffalo

Geronimo Allison (81) is hit by Buffalo Bills cornerback Taron Johnson (24) and had to leave the game after an injury during this play in the second half at Lambeau Field. Dan Powers/Wisconsin via USA TODAY NETWORK

Similar to Geronimo’s history, the list has to include the four years wasted trying to groom Trevor Davis as a receiver, which produced a total of 122 receiving yards. Davis went from appearing to be in line to be a starter after being touted for having a great training camp in 2019 to being traded one week into the season. Next up is Tyler Ervin – will he suffer the same fate?

You can ascribe these failings to the GM, the front office, and/or the scouting staff if you wish. Or you can blame them on the “developers”: the coaching staffs. Some (myself included) will undoubtedly place a portion of the blame on Rodgers, who is well known to favor some receivers, and shun those he doesn’t fully trust. Any way you slice it, however, the organization has taken one of the leagues most dangerous pass attacks, led by one of the greatest quarterbacks in league history, and slowly but surely turned it into a subpar unit.

At the very top of the above list, however, is the team’s decision to part ways after the 2017 season with the sainted Jordy Nelson – when the Rodgers/Nelson combo still should have had another two years of solid productivity. Jordy, one of the Packers’ greatest receivers of all time, was let go at age 32 – and just one season removed from a 97-catch, 1,257-yard, 14-touchdown season. Insane!

If you want to point to why the Packers went from perennially being in the Super Bowl hunt to losing records in 2017 and 2018, you need look no further than the team’s acquisition, development, and usage of its pass receivers. It’s got to change.

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Rob Born

I’m with Matt: “You gotta make those chunk plays!”

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20 Comments

  1. Walt Dyer March 31, 2020

    This article points to a lot of disturbing facts from a lifetime fans perspective. Letting Jordy Nelson go was a terrible mistake. The organization failed miserably in seeing the potential Taysom Hill has shown with the Saints. Then yesterday Blake Martinez criticized and pointed blame at coaches for the way he was used. Two back to back blunders on washed up tight ends when we should have kept Jared Cook. Time will tell but I’m not convinced that we are getting better as an organization and team I hope that I am wrong

  2. Stephen March 31, 2020

    J’Mon Moore deserves honorable mention, as well as Mike McCarthy. They both have new jobs. There was little trouble moving the ball with McCarthy. There may be something lacking in the coaching, or the offense may be to hard for some of the young players to digest. I noticed that Aaron was misfiring a bit, even as McCarthy was still here. There have been many errant throws, that seem to lack explanation for. No doubt that had Jared Cook, Jordy, Randall Cobb, had stayed a bit longer, they would have had continued to have some success. Gutekunst is doing a good job, and the rebuilding has been a great success thus far. Lots of credit is due for keeping under the salary cap, and only being a player or so short of the SB. I sure hope that we can get some production out of a few of these receivers that have been getting trained in LaFleur’s new system. We need to see something happen with Cole Madison, Rashan Gary, Oren Burks, and a few others as well. The free agents we acquired, all have great potential, if they can become healthy, and contribute. The future looks bright, and it’s hard to see where there should be a weakness in this team, in the coming season. If we can stop the run, a little better, and score some points, this team should be a force to be reckoned with …

  3. Mitch Anthony March 31, 2020

    Ah yes, the “t” word shows up in conversation again. That Aaron’s trust thing. Hopefully we have a training camp this year, and hopefully a season to enjoy (we’ll need it) but I’m afraid by then I’ll be tasting gun oil from all the times I’ll have to read about Aaron’s trust. It’s been getting old for a long damn time. One of the greatest QBs of all time, a future first ballot HOFer, a man who commands well over 10% of the team money, can/should be able to get the ball to some of these guys with a bit more regularity.

    I know, I know, he’s not to blame for all the ills of some of this subpar talent, but we always hear how he’s supposed to make these guys all so much better. He’s not a miracle worker but he does hold the ball too long and he is OCD risk averse to interceptions. So a lot of throws aren’t made and some others are thrown away. Let’s be honest, we’ve all seen it. When he gets the ball out quick and spreads the wealth around the team does well and most often wins (handily). Case in point, remember how well the receiving unit did when Davante Adams was hurt for four games? So let’s explore hypnosis and get Aaron to believe every receiver on the field in a Green Bay uniform is named Davante Adams, right?

    The Jared Cook thing was kind of a start to some of this. The receiver group was still okay at the time and Cook was the guy they were looking for for a long time. They wanted a Finley replacement for a long while and Cook showed that promise. Richard Rodgers was a solid catch machine with good hands but he was slow and had little or no YAC. It was a real failure to not get a deal done when you look at what it set in motion.

    Marty Bennett. The only silver lining to that POS being in Green Bay is that he elevated Aaron’s wokeness to a higher level. When people fantasize about rolling the dice on a problem child because they perceive some magical upside, just think of Bennett. Then get rational and think again.

    The Jordy release was a travesty, enough has been said about that. Thinking Graham would have replaced Jordy on the field was idiocy and so many fans seen it and questioned it when it happened. I’d credit a few people on this forum for their prescient comments when it went down. If the Graham thing has a silver lining, it might be to remind the front office to not be so stupid in free agency ever again.

    Ty Montgomery maybe didn’t have much between the ears and he went out of his way to prove that but I can’t help but think a system like MLaF has in place would have been ideal for him, or a player like him. That’s why I’m hoping they take a real look at Antonio Gibson during the draft.

    Last year in the preseason we all seen Lazard catch just about anything thrown his way. I was flabbergasted when he didn’t make the 53. Luckily, stashing him on the practice squad didn’t hurt in the long run but another team could have easily snapped him up. The team got lucky on a dumb personnel move.

    The Lazard thing shows me a real problem exists in talent evaluation. J’mon Moore, really? Didn’t the scouting reports say he had some catching problems? MVS was kind of regarded as a fast one trick pony kind of guy. Has he done anything to disprove that? How was Kumerow not regarded as having a better upside than Allison by the middle of the season and given more playing opportunities? Really holding out hope for St Brown to make a positive return and MVS gets his head right but I don’t know. I guessing one of them hangs around after camp. Not a one of the above mentioned guys is a true number two quality receiver.

    Keep em coming Rob. You’re essential.

    1. Robert Jones April 1, 2020

      The ” trust ” issue is, and always will be a joke to me. Every receiver has to earn Aarons trust? Since when? I never heard that back when Jordy, Jennings, and Jones were playing and won a Super bowl. Give it a rest people. The coaching staff determines weather to trust a receiver in regard to playing time, not Rodgers. All one needs to do is look at the draft picks [rounds 1-3 ] over the last several years to see why our receiving core is mediocre . Damarius Randall, Quinton Rollins, Josh Jones, Josh Jackson, Jason Spriggs, Owen Burks, and Montravius Adams. That’s 7 wasted picks and not a receiver in the bunch. The Packers have been overloading picks round 1-3 on defense and ignoring the offense with Jenkins, Spriggs being the only players taken. Draft history tells the story. It was always defense, defense, defense..

    2. Robster April 1, 2020

      Great point by Mitch about Lazard starting the season on the practice squad. Had he been picked off by another team, the Packers would almost certainly have failed to make the playoffs. That’s a failure to smartly evaluate receiver talent.

  4. John Jacobson March 31, 2020

    This article was harsh and spot on. It’s hard to understand how some fans can see what has happened, and is happening and coaches and gms can’t. AR is obviously a big part of the problem here, so it begs to question why spend a high draft on a receiver if he has a great chance of being shunned and wasted? We are better off fixing other areas of the team. I’m so sick of seeing TE after TE come through and leave a disappointment. What if Graham is productive with the Bears? I highly doubt he will be, but what does that say if he exceeds the production he had in Green Bay? Just something to ponder. If we don’t find a solid RT, and soon, it won’t matter how many receivers we have so I would be happy if they draft one high. Anyway, GPG! I sure hope there is a season in 2020.

    1. Robster April 1, 2020

      An example of a player whose game picked up after departing GB is Randall Cobb. After three declining years here (610, 653, and 383 yards receiving), Cobb’s numbers with the Cowboys last year were 55 catches for 828 yards, three TDs, and his best yards per catch average as a pro. More impressively, he did this while being platooned – he started only six games and got only 64 percent of the offensive snaps. How does one explain a young budding and highly-paid star (91, 1,287, and 12 TDs in 2014), and by the way once a Rodgers favorite, failing to achieve even middle-of-the-road production from 2016-18? Jared Cook is another (though injuries skew this comparison): 377 yards at GB, followed by 688, 896, and 705 with OAK and NO.

  5. PF4L April 1, 2020

    I can’t help but roll my eyes over people’s views on “trust”.concerning a QB and his receivers through the years.
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    Show me a receiver that the QB doesn’t trust, who is productive.
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    Show me a QB who doesn’t need to trust a receiver to get to his “spot”.
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    Could it be that Adams got more playing time than Allison because he got to his spot better than Allison.
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    Does anyone think there might be a reason why Jordy started over Janis?
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    Does anyone wonder why Edleman gets more targets than say someone like…Phillip Dorsett, Jakobi Meyers? Think Brady trust Edleman more to run the right route, get open and catch the ball?
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    Does anyone think Bree’s trust Thomas more than say…Tre’Quan Smith, or Ted Ginn Jr.?
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    I’m sorry…what? You say….Edleman and Thomas have more talent than those other guys? I agree….Talent EQUALS trust.
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    I’ll ask again, because last time i got no answers….Can anyone tell me a worse receiving core than Rodgers had last season outside of Adams?
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    i’m willing to bet, that Rodgers trusted Nelson more than he trusted Janis…..i wonder why that was.
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    Does a offensive coordinator need to trust his O-line to block correctly? Does Rodgers need to trust his players to line up properly? Does a head coach need to trust his players to execute properly? Does a defensive coordinator need a lb and safety to call defensive plays properly?
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    All that needs to happen, but Rodgers doesn’t need to trust his receivers?
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    Maybe i’m wrong…if so, i’m willing to learn if ya’ll can keep educating me.

    1. Mitch Anthony April 1, 2020

      So can we just maybe call it synergy instead?

      I don’t deny that the factor of that “connection” needs to be there, it is just that the story line is tired and old. Very tired and old.

      I would also tend to put way more blame on the people who make the choices and evaluations with the players. This article focuses on receivers but for how long has this team been spending high draft picks on the secondary, only to do it all over again, and again, when some of those high picks could have been receiving talent? The fall back position was always that Aaron would elevate those low pick receivers because of his other-worldly abilities. Well, we don’t see that as much anymore. But we did see flashes of it in four games where he was forced to throw the ball around to guys in the sub par club. So it can happen.

    2. John Jacobson April 5, 2020

      Of course a qb needs to trust his receivers, but look at what happened when Davante was hurt. All of sudden we had competent receivers. The ball was being spread around and these competent receivers showed up just like in field of dreams, they came out of nowhere from an empty Wisconsin cornfield. The ball was being spread around and it was very difficult to stop our offense because the defense could not key on anyone. Then when Davante came back, we no longer had competent receivers. They all apparently forgot how to play receiver and no longer had AR’s trust, so AR only looked at Davante. There’s something else going on here because there is no way a group of receivers all of a suddent become incompetent. Maybe the hiring of the team psychologist will make things better for AR and I think he knows this because he seems excited about this hiring and can probably get some help deailng with trust issues. Kudos for the team to take this step to benefit all of these young men.

      1. PF4L April 6, 2020

        I understand that John, but…there maybe various reasons for it, which you lightly touched on. I think you are correct as far as defenses not having to concentrate on Adams, and the other thing is, the star was gone, all these receivers are looking for recognition. So i think they all put it in high gear while he was gone. Another possibility is, when Adams is in, they know he’s usually Rodgers first, maybe 2nd look.
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        Everyone was scratching their head when Adams came back, because the offense then looked like shit again. I don’t claim to know exactly why that happened, i’d be a fool to pretend i do. BUT….here’s what i don’t like…about Adams (Gulp).
        I think he has a head the size of Lake Michigan. After the 3rd game against Denver, the Packers were 3-0. Life is good..right? Wrong…Adams is complaining he only had 4 catches.I think that is a major issue, that isn’t talked about. There is something going on there with ego, that i think is effecting this offense. I think LaFleur and Rodgers try to “appease” him, and i don’t like it.
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        I don’t have any tolerance to “me first” type players. I remember…as some others here might….the night Sterling Sharp threatened not to play in the season opener the next day, if they didn’t redo his contract and give him more money. He threatened this the night before the opener. I still remember the news camera’s pointed at the window of his hotel room at night. The Packers wilted like old lettuce and gave him more money. From that point on, Sterling Sharp had a stain on him in my eyes that i knew i’d never forget about. You want to threaten to hold out hours before the first game???
        F U pal!! I never looked at him the same since.
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        Even Favre as young as he was, spoke out against it.
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        This is why the whining Adams did about not getting the ball enough, irks me. I’m guessing it’s part of a personality that is relevant on the field, and in the locker room.

        1. PF4L April 6, 2020

          This is the only article i could find on this. Good thing my memory is still somewhat intact.
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          https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-1994-09-05-9409050127-story.html

  6. PF4L April 1, 2020

    Now we got a new veteran receiver who barely caught 50% of his targets for his career. We probably don’t need to call the physic hot line to figure out how this plays out.

    1. Stiggy April 1, 2020

      The scary thing is…as of now…funchess has a more decorated career than rashan gary.

      1. PF4L April 1, 2020

        Yea….i’m not so sure that comparison is completely fair, but i get what your saying. My biggest question is…what are they going to do with Gary to get him more playing time, they have to get him on the field to save face, but where? Sure they can insert him more for resting the Smith brothers, increasing his snaps maybe 10%. But…you still don’t draft a guy at 12 to come off the bench his 2nd season.
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        People may remember how bad i thought it was when Spriggs was a 2nd round pick…warming the bench. That was mild compared to this. The funny thing is….the Packers never get a choice pick in the first round, and the one time that they do….he sits on a god damn bench.
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        We’ll see what happens, but if Gary doesn’t work out, somehow, someway, all the accolades Gute received for the Smith brothers, get leveled off if Gary shows little to no value.
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        Tick Tock

        1. John Jacobson April 5, 2020

          Yeah, if you aren’t dominating at the college level, not even one dominant season, you probably have no business sniffing the first round of the NFL draft. He had no business being picked where he was, I don’t care how good his work out was and how fast he ran. Please prove me wrong Rashan, but not the cost of another player who outplays you. I’ve seen that happen too often. It is just a headscrathcher…..

  7. PF4L April 1, 2020

    I just read an article about E. Sanders picking the Saints over the 9ers and Packers. Just listening to him, it seems he was picking the Saints regardless. Even if the Packers over bid, i think he was still picking the Saints if i’m reading between the lines correctly. So….i really don’t blame the Packers on this 2nd go around with Sanders. I think the Saints offered Sanders enough money where it wasn’t an issue.
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    Here is a comment from the article that puts the state of the Packers receiver core in perspective (at least to me, and i’m sure a few of you). Again….i don’t agree with him about the Packers screwing this up but his other points are valid. Maybe they screwed up a year ago to land him, but not this time.
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    Al
    5 hours ago
    Another screw up by the Packers, we need receivers more than air. So sad to see them waste Rogers the last 10 years.

  8. Donald D Hess April 1, 2020

    I have been a Packer fan for over 60 years. Does not make me any smarter. Even though last year was successful our weakness was fully exposed a number of times. I predict our GM who I call Goofyhorse will screw this draft up again. Dropping down in draft last year and drafting a known under achiever with injury that nobody else wanted in 2nd round that did nothing for us.Saying they have no money but other teams like the Bears figure out how to sign free agents every year is something I do not understand. Goofy horse will screw up again in this years drat. TT clone will do it again. I hope I am wrong but lets wait and see.

    1. MMSUCKS April 2, 2020

      This^^^^ great points Donald.

    2. PF4L April 6, 2020

      I’m assuming Donald meant Rashan Gary in the first round, not Elgton Jenkins in the 2nd round.