NFL Rumors: Packers Must Keep Greg Jennings Out Until After Bye Week

Zach KruseSenior Analyst IOctober 24, 2012

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 30:  Wide receiver Greg Jennings #85 of the Green Bay Packers looks on prior to the start of the game against the New Orleans Saints at Lambeau Field on September 30, 2012 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Green Bay Packers receiver Greg Jennings reportedly left Green Bay Tuesday to get another opinion on his lingering groin injury, a revelation that confirms the Packers need to hold out Jennings until after their bye week. 

Jason Wilde of ESPN 540 in Milwaukee reported through an NFL source that Jennings has sought out another opinion on the groin injury he re-aggravated in Week 4 against the New Orleans Saints

...while several players hinted after the Packers’ victory at St. Louis that there was a good chance Jennings could be back for this Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Lambeau Field, an NFL source said Tuesday evening that Jennings was out of town Tuesday visiting a specialist to get another opinion on his injury.

Packers head coach Mike McCarthy's original plan was to have Jennings test out the groin sometime later in the week. McCarthy said during his Monday press conference (via Packers official site) that Jennings would likely work out Thursday, see how the groin responded and then potentially practice Friday, which would have allowed Jennings a chance to play Sunday. 

A mid-week visit to a specialist doesn't fare well for Jennings testing out the groin this week. In reality, the Packers have no reason to rush Jennings back this week, or the next. Considering how the injury has responded already this season, shelving Jennings until after the Packers bye—which comes in Week 10—makes the most sense short and long-term. 

Jennings first injured his groin late in the Packers' 30-22 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1. After sitting out a Thursday night win over the Chicago Bears, Jennings returned to face the Seattle Seahawks the following week on Monday Night Football. 

Yet after catching a touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers in the first half of Week 4 against the Saints, Jennings left and didn't return. He's been out ever since. 

The Packers have the assets at receiver to be overly patient with Jennings. 

Over the last two weeks, Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Randall Cobb have combined to catch a mind-boggling 41 passes for 520 yards and eight touchdowns. That kind of elite production has more than made up for the loss of Jennings. 

Cobb's emergence in the slot has also made Jennings' absence less significant. According to Pro Football Focus, Cobb is third in the NFL in receptions from the slot (28) and first in catch percentage (87.5). Jennings spent roughly half his time in the slot over the last two seasons. 

Getting Jennings completely healthy for the stretch of games following the bye is far more important than having the two-time Pro Bowl receiver back too early for home games against Jacksonville (Green Bay is a 13.5-point favorite) and Arizona

After the Week-10 bye, Green Bay faces a gauntlet of games that include Detroit (twice), Minnesota (twice), New York Giants and Chicago. Given the amount of time between now and the Packers' Week 11 game with Detroit, Jennings should have ample time to get to 100 percent.

Jennings' frustration with the injury is understandable, but the Packers need their No. 1 receiver healthy for the stretch run, not Weeks 8 and 9. Wilde's report sheds a brighter light on how the injury continues to hamper Jennings.

For the Packers, shelving Jennings until after the bye is the right decision for the present and future.