GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) The crowd roared nearly every time receiver Jared Abbrederis touched the ball.
Looks like the in-state rookie is catching on just fine so far with fans watching Packers’ offseason workouts.
”Ever since he was a kid he’s wanted to play for the Packers,” said backup quarterback Scott Tolzien, who played with fifth-round draft pick Abbrederis at Wisconsin. ”I hope he realizes it shouldn’t be pressure. It should be an opportunity to live your dream and make an impact. Have fun with it.”
The workouts give rookies their first opportunity to prove themselves with the veterans. The Packers receiving corps is in flux a little after reliable veteran James Jones left for Oakland via free agency; Abbrederis and two other wideouts were selected in last month’s draft.
None of them has the Wisconsin pedigree of Abbrederis, a decorated high school athlete in Wautoma, about 90 miles west of Green Bay. He then walked on with the Badgers before turning into one of the most productive receivers in school history.
Now he’s ready to prove himself again. Abbrederis prides himself on his reliable hands, but his experience in the return game could also make him valuable.
”I’ll do whatever they want me to do,” he said.
The opportunity is certainly there. Besides Jones, veterans Greg Jennings and Donald Driver left the receiving corps after 2012.
That leaves Jordy Nelson, in his seventh year with the team, and fourth-year pro Randall Cobb as the team’s senior receivers. Both are also entering the final years of their contracts.
”It’s so weird just to think how much has changed over the three years that I’ve been here, going into my fourth year. But that’s part of the business,” Cobb said. ”We’ve got a challenge in bringing in these new guys and getting them up to speed. I’m trying to help them as much as I can.”
Besides Abbrederis, the Packers took Davante Adams from Fresno State in the second round, and Jeff Janis from Saginaw Valley State in the seventh. Adams, who led the major college football with 24 touchdown catches, missed last week’s workout after attending an NFLPA rookie symposium.
Position coach Edgar Bennett said Adams has been doing a good job learning the playbook and putting the time in when he has been at Lambeau Field. ”When he gets back … we’ll hit the ground running,” Bennett said.
Another team workout comes Tuesday, another chance for the new receivers to earn starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ trust.
In that respect, Abbrederis has had one more opportunity than Adams. At first glance, Rodgers likes Abbrederis’ route running.
”Watched him in college, did a lot of nice things for Wisconsin,” Rodgers said. ”His biggest thing just like any young player is to be able to learn the offense quickly, be able to play fast and think so. If he can do that on our offense there’s always a place for guys like that.”
Maybe even an extra roster spot or two given the Packers’ numbers at receiver.
”There’s going to be a lot of competition and I would think some strong consideration about keeping an extra guy there as opposed to some years past,” Rodgers said.
Notes: Both Rodgers and Cobb said they have done yoga in the offseason to help with flexibility. Rodgers said he shied away from some workouts, like heavy lifting with his shoulder, but otherwise feels good after sitting out most of the second half in 2013 with a collarbone injury.
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