Jennings Continues To Shine Bright

Second-round picks are supposed to be contributors right away. It’s what all organizations have in mind when they select a player that early in April’s NFL Draft. But it’s rare that a player has an immediate impact like the one Greg Jennings has had this preseason. It’s safe to say the 5-foot-11, 197-pound wide receiver has been everything the Packers envisioned and then some. - More Notebook: Moll Has Busy Day | Packers.com Gameday

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Second-round picks are supposed to be contributors right away. It's what all organizations have in mind when they select a player that early in April's NFL Draft.

But it's rare that a player has an immediate impact like the one Greg Jennings has had this preseason. It's safe to say the 5-foot-11, 197-pound wide receiver has been everything the Packers envisioned and then some.

At this point, almost every time Jennings touches the ball he makes a big play, which has given the coaching staff plenty of confidence in his abilities.

Continuing his outstanding preseason, the Western Michigan product started alongside Donald Driver in the Packers 35-21 loss to the Tennessee Titans and believes he will also be the opening day starter against the Chicago Bears. However, Head Coach Mike McCarthy wouldn't confirm that as of yet in his postgame press conference.

At any rate, you can't argue with Jennings' production. And regardless of who starts against the Bears, No. 85 continues to prove that he has the ability to be a great NFL player.

In the team's first play from scrimmage, Brett Favre found his newest weapon wide open down the right sideline, and Jennings turned it up across the field for an 89-yard gain, leading to an Ahman Green touchdown run on the next play.

Though Jennings once again made the significant play, he wasn't about to take all the credit.

"When you got Driver on the outside, you know everybody's eyes are going to Number 80," he said. "They kind of sat on his route and let me go free. Brett made them pay and I made them pay."

Clearly, the Titans had a breakdown in coverage, which left Jennings wide open. But he explained that the catch wasn't as easy as it looked.

"He didn't want to lead me, he just wanted to put it on me because those are the hardest ones to catch," Jennings said. "You just got to catch the ball.

"We knew somebody was going to jump him (Driver) and somebody was going to come open. We didn't know it was going to be that breathtaking, but it was definitely a good play to start out the game as an offense."

It was the type of play that Packers fans are coming to expect of Jennings and with good reason. He finished the exhibition season with 11 catches for 312 yards, for a whopping 28.3 average.

Though he has set the bar quite high entering the season, Jennings said he had high expectations the day he became a Packer, including the possibility of cracking the starting lineup.

"It was a goal," he said. "I just wanted to get an opportunity. They feel like I've earned the opportunity and I've performed up to my ability and earned the job."

Several defensive backs have talked about Jennings' skills throughout camp and Aaron Rodgers said in the locker room after the game that "he's a future superstar."

Driver also appreciates what Jennings brings to the field, especially since it will take some of the pressure off of him with defenses honoring the other side of the field as well.

"He played well," Driver said. "I take my hat off to him. He proved that he can make plays when he gets the opportunity to."

Without question, Jennings has caught the attention of his teammates and opposition alike. Though he figures to be a starter, he believes there are enough opportunities for all the wide receivers to play a significant role in the Packers attack.

"It's almost like we have three starters," Jennings said. "Myself, obviously 'numero uno' (Driver) and Robert (Ferguson), we work together. That's what it's all about, us complementing one another.

"We know we have a job to do, and no one man can do it by himself and that's how we look at it. We need all three of us to perform and even more than just the three of us."

Jennings wasn't the only player vying for a starting position in the team's final tune-up before the home opener versus the Bears on Sept. 10. Brady Poppinga also found himself in a battle with Ben Taylor for a starting linebacker position.

Poppinga returned to the field for both games this week after tearing his ACL against Detroit on Dec. 11 last season. He also earned the start, though he admits whether he does that in the future or not isn't that big a deal.

"I just go out and make plays," the 6-foot-3, 245-pound linebacker said. "My focus really isn't to be a starter. Obviously it's a by-product usually if somebody makes plays, but being a starter doesn't guarantee you're going to be a playmaker.

"So my focus is to make plays whether I'm a starter or not. The deal is the coaches are eventually going to make that decision on their own. I don't have a say in that. So I don't know, we'll see."

Either way, Poppinga said there's no need to worry about any setbacks despite returning so soon from a major injury.

"It's not even a question," he insisted. "The knee isn't even something I think about. I forget even that I had the surgery. It's good-to-go, I'm 100 percent."

Like Poppinga, Jennings is also ready to go, regardless of who is in the starting lineup.

"It's the preseason, it means nothing now," Jennings said. "It's time to get ready for the Bears and get rolling from there."

Judging by early indications, the Packers don't have to worry about those two being ready come Sept. 10.

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