Game day 'iso' on Jennings, Harrell

Receiver makes big catch for touchdown; top draft pick suits up for first time

For rookie defensive tackle Justin Harrell, it was finally a taste of live action in a regular season game. For second-year wide receiver Greg Jennings, it was a potentially great game that evaporated shortly after halftime. Such is what we found when isolating on their performances during the Packers' 27-20 loss to the Bears Sunday night.

The way Jennings and the Packers offense got started, it looked like the young wideout was headed for a big game. He ran a circle route on the game's third play for a quick 12 yards. Then, in the second quarter, he came up big on three straight plays. With Bears corner Danieal Manning giving up lots of room, Jennings made an excellent shoestring catch for a short gain. On the next play, Jennings cleared the way for Vernand Morency with an excellent block to spring Morency for seven yards on a screen pass.

Then it was time to work on Manning again. Lining up split left, Jennings juked Manning and streaked down the left sidelines to run under a beautiful 41-yard touchdown strike from Brett Favre. The score moved Green Bay back in front at 14-7.

Jennings had one more big play in him on this night, snaring a 26-yard strike from Favre over the middle to set up a 37-yard field goal by Mason Crosby one second before the end of the first half.

Jennings hurt his shoulder early in the third quarter and was taken into the locker room for X-rays. Though he returned to the action, he did not catch another pass. He finished with 4 catches for 83 yards, including his 41-yard touchdown.

Harrell sees first action as a pro
Harrell, the Packers' first round draft choice, made his NFL debut with 13:34 showing on the clock in the second quarter. What did it feel like when he trotted out onto the field for the first time?

"It was definitely different from pre-season," said Harrell. "That's what they said to expect. It just felt like it's been so long since I've been out there playing football. It just felt good to know I was out there and I was trying to help the team get a victory."

Harrell had a few solid, if unspectacular plays, often working against double-teaming by Chicago to help guard Ruben Brown. He broke past Brown once in his first series but Brian Griese had already released the ball by the time Harrell got past the line of scrimmage. On another play, Harrell helped stuff Cedric Benson for no gain but, for the most part you can chalk up this one up to a learning experience.

"I think I did all right," said Harrell in assessing his performance. "There's always room for improvement. There are things I'll continue to work on and I'm just trying to get back into the swing of playing football. The more I get onto the practice field, keep working on the reps and get myself ready to play and the more reps I get, the better I will play. I'm just going to take it one game at a time and just try to make plays when they come my way."

Harrell also got his first taste of the Packer-Bear rivalry.

"It wasn't the outcome I really wanted," he said matter-of-factly. "I didn't play my best football game tonight but it's early in the season. We've got to learn from this and come back to work tomorrow."

Tom Andrews is a frequent contributor to and Packer Report magazine. E-mail him at

Packer Report Top Stories