Following Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers fans will now have to adjust to life without Jeff Janis. This past week, wide receiver and special teams standout Janis signed a free agent contract to join the Cleveland Browns. Although the first sentence of this article is a bit tongue in cheek, Janis had become a bit of a folk hero in Green Bay because of his raw athletic ability and many Packers fans thinking he never got a fair shake for playing time at wide receiver. But the era has officially ended. The Green Bay Packers fans bid goodbye to its unfulfilled character.
The Green Bay Packers Fans Bid Goodbye to Folk Hero Jeff Janis
There probably hasn’t been a wide receiver in the NFL who has had 17 career regular season receptions talked about more than Janis. Most of the hysteria came from the untapped potential that many people feel Janis has.
Janis had all the measurements to become a contributing wide receiver in the NFL. At 6’3” weighing 219 lbs. and running a 4.42 40 yard dash, many thought the very raw Janis could become a solid wide receiving threat in the NFL, even with playing at Division II Saginaw Valley State. Many also assumed playing with a quarterback like Aaron Rodgers would help get the best out of an unpolished pass-catcher who was simply asked to outrun and muscle defenders at the Division II level.
Sadly for Janis and Packers fans, he never lived up to the intangibles. Part of that was due to Janis and Rodgers never getting on the same page. Excluding the 2016 playoff game against the Arizona Cardinals, a seven-catch, 145-yard and two-touchdown outing as an injury-relieving reserve, Janis’ inability to click with Rodgers most likely led to him not seeing much time at all at the wide receiver position.
Standout on Special Teams
So far in his career, Janis hasn’t established himself as a receiving threat. However, he has become one of the better gunners in the NFL. Because of his blazing speed, Janis has become a force in regards to covering punts and kickoffs. Packers punter Justin Vogel had an impressive rookie season for the team, and a lot of it had to do with Janis and his ability to cover punts and force fair catches.
Although fellow wideout Trevor Davis took over as the primary kickoff returner midway last season, Janis was the return man for Green Bay for segments of the last three years. Janis might not have made his mark as a wide receiver, but he was a key contributor to Packers special teams coordinator Ron Zook’s unit. There is no doubt that Zook will miss Janis and most surely, so will Vogel.
Green Bay Packers of the East
If Janis has any chance of developing as a receiver, there was no question he needed to find a different place to do so. It makes sense that the Browns had interest in signing him. With former Packers front office personnel executives Eliot Wolf and Alonzo Highsmith now with the Browns, it seems like a good destination for Janis.
Janis won’t be missed in regards to the Packers passing game, but they will miss his prowess on special teams, just another position that Packers top personnel man Brian Gutekunst will have to fill most likely through the draft.
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