It was great to see Johnny Jolly back in a Green Bay uniform Tuesday for the first day of mini-camp. After paying his debt to society while serving his stint in prison and going through the mandatory drug program, Jolly has finally found himself back on a NFL practice field. “Three years is a long time for someone to sit out,” Jolly said. “I am just thanked that I was blessed to come back to the same team that I left from and these guys accepted me here.” While Jolly's road to get back to the NFL is a feel-good story, Jolly is still one of the 90 guys in camp competing for a spot and it remains to be seen if he makes the Packers' opening-week roster. General manager Ted Thompson generally sways away from signing older free agents like Jolly, who recently turned 30, but, as we saw last season, Green Bay can’t have enough big bodies in the trenches. The lone nose tackle with any valuable in-game experience from last year is Ryan Pickett and, if you go deeper on the depth chart, it's slim pickings in terms of talent and experience. Not to mention, the unit as a whole was mediocre in stopping the run, as they ranked 16th in the league in rush defense, giving up an average of 118.5 yards per game. At the end of the day, the NFL is a business but it would be a wise investment for the organization to bring Jolly back on board.
Speaking of the NFL being a business, players, who fans grow attached to during their playing days with their particular team, make the best decisions for themselves and their families, which Greg Jennings did when he departed for rival Minnesota. And I have no problem with him chasing the money. Again, it's a business and you have to respect players looking out for themselves and making the best choice for their future. Yet, what I do have a problem with the comments he made earlier this week. When asked to compare Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder to Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers in an interview with the Pioneer Press, Jennings had a pretty interesting response. “When you talk about comparing quarterbacks, it's hard to compare guys. I'll take Brett [Favre],” Jennings said. “He did it for so long. I got there in a period of time where Brett already was there. Then the guy they have now, he sat behind Brett and he learned so much. Christian didn't really have that opportunity. He had to jump in. The way you compare the two has to be a little different. The guy they have now was a veteran rookie. It's a little different, but Christian has tremendous upside.”
The guy they have now? Oh, you mean the quarterback who helped Jennings reach the pinnacle of his career with a Super Bowl ring in 2011? Or, maybe, the quarterback who was responsible for Jennings' 4,985 receiving yards and 38 touchdowns? I agree with Jennings that it is different to compare Favre and Rodgers, simply because it would be a disservice to each of them based on how much success they had and how much success Rodgers will continue to have throughout the duration of his playing days. But, don't throw your quarterback under the bus just to stir up the rivalry or to stick it to Green Bay for not giving you the extra money you wanted. Jennings ultimately made the decision to go to Minnesota. Thompson and Co. didn't show him the door and offer him nothing. They offered Jennings what was below his asking price and he left because of it. End of story.
From an outsider's perspective, there may have been an ongoing internal battle between Jennings and Rodgers. There's a chance Jennings didn't like what Rodgers said a couple weeks ago about how Green Bay was his team and had been for the past couple years or it could be something totally different, who knows. Nonetheless, it's the offseason and we're bound to have a story like this come up but let your game against your former team do the talking, Jennings.