Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Starter Pack: Trust in Jarrett Boykin
By Rob Demovsky
A roundup of what’s happening on the Green Bay Packers beat.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Tuesday’s decision to put Randall Cobb on the injured reserve/designated for return list did not cause general manager Ted Thompson to make a bold play to bolster his receiving corps through a trade or a free-agent signing.
Rather, he did what he usually does; he promoted from within. He signed a pair of practice squad rookies -- receiver Myles White and tight end Jake Stoneburner.
It also could be viewed as a vote of confidence in Jarrett Boykin, the second-year pro who saw his first significant playing time in Sunday’s 19-17 win over the Baltimore Ravens after James Jones and Cobb went down. Boykin had his struggles. He dropped two passes and appeared to be out of sync with quarterback Aaron Rodgers on a few others. He was targeted six times and caught just one, although he turned that into an impressive 43-yard catch-and-run play.
Before Sunday’s game, Boykin had played only 10 snaps on offense all season in large part because Cobb, Jones and Jordy Nelson played the majority of the snaps.
But that doesn’t mean Rodgers has his doubts about Boykin.
“Jarrett’s one of the smartest guys we’ve got on the football team, and he’s very sharp,” Rodgers said Tuesday during his weekly radio show on ESPN 540 in Milwaukee. “He understands his role and is ready to play every week. He went four weeks without really playing at all -- one or two plays a game here and there for the most part because those three didn’t really come off the field. He was thrust in there. I missed him on a couple I should have hit him and then was able to get him on a little quick one-stepper on the back side. He made a great run after the catch, and hopefully that play is going to give him some confidence going into this week coming up.
“But Jarrett is the kind of teammate you love playing with and love practicing with because he sells out every day in practice. He is a true professional, and I think he’s the kind of guy that when he gets more opportunities, you’re going to see a lot of production. I’m excited for him and his opportunity.”
If Jones can play this Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, then Boykin will be the No. 3 receiver -- an important position if coach Mike McCarthy intends to use the three-receiver set as much as he has in the first five games. If Jones can’t play, then Boykin would be elevated to the No. 2 spot, ensuring he would see major playing time.
The rest of our ESPN.com coverage included evidence of a new-found respect for the Packers' running game, which helped set up the 64-yard touchdown pass Rodgers threw to Nelson against the Ravens, our weekly Power Rankings, where the Packers continued to climb, and a look at the individual snap counts from Sunday’s win over the Ravens.