Unheralded wideout Jeff Janis trying to impress Aaron Rodgers
Wide receiver Jeff Janis exudes a certain, how should we say, scrappiness and grit which has endeared him to Packers fans.
But other than his soon-to-be wife, the heart he really wants to win belongs to Aaron Rodgers.
Last year’s seventh-round pick made the roster but didn’t get to play much, but has become an object of fascination in Green Bay, and is working with the starters in the absence of Jordy Nelson this spring.
“I’m just trying to take advantage of everything I’m taking right now, try to get more comfortable with Aaron and be on the same page with him,” Janis said, via Jason Wilde of ESPNWisconsin. “I’m just really trying to focus on the mental things right now.
“It’s a lot different going with Aaron because he’s on a whole other level, but I’m just trying to take advantage of all the reps that I get and try to make plays whenever he comes my way.”
Packers fans are a different bunch, and the draw of a lunch-pail seventh-round pick from Saginaw Valley State who likes to hunt and fish appeals to them.
But the Packers also have a history of cultivating unknown wide receivers to take over for name brands, and Janis could be entering that pipeline. Nelson recalled he and James Jones getting reps when Donald Driver and Greg Jennings weren’t participating in OTAs, and it ended up helping his progress toward his own increased role and payday.
“The more reps you get, the more situations you’re in, the better you are at knowing what Aaron wants,” Nelson said. “The more you’re out there, the more balls you catch and the more confidence he grows in you. I think that’s the key. Just continuing to get those reps. He’s taking advantage of that and I think it’s big, and I think you’ll see a big step come training camp and preseason.”
Janis only caught two passes lsat year, and both were from Matt Flynn in a blowout win over the Vikings. But with Nelson easing back from hip surgery, he’s getting chances now, and hopes to catch Rodgers’ eye, as others have in previous offseasons.