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Green Bay Packers tasting life without Greg Jennings


Greg Jennings will be a free agent after 2012. The next few weeks will give the Green Bay Packers a taste of life without their star wide receiver.

A groin injury has nagged since Week 1 and will sideline Jennings against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported the Packers will be cautious with the two-time Pro Bowl receiver. They want him 100 percent when he returns, so he could be out several weeks.

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"Greg is unable to play, and that's unfortunate," Packers offensive coordinator Tom Clements told the Journal Sentinel's Tom Silverstein. "But we'll have guys in there that we're confident in, and when they're open, we'll get them the ball, and when someone else is open, we'll get them the ball.

"You miss a guy like Greg, but there's not much you can do about it."

That puts an emphasis on Jordy Nelson, James Jones and 2011 second-round draft pick Randall Cobb. Tight end Jermichael Finley continues to be a matchup nightmare. He does need to be more consistent.

The offense, however, changes without Jennings. His quickness and crisp routes could split deep safeties and open opportunities for other receivers. The Packers haven't had as many deep-ball connections in 2012 and have worked a shorter pass game. Jennings hasn't been himself since Week 1, which has played a part in the adjustment.

"When Greg Jennings is on the field, we definitely have a chance to be a very good offenes," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "I still think we can play a different way and play without Greg and still be very good. That's the game of football."

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Will that "different way" affect the long-term decision on Jennings? The Packers could get a better read on Jennings' value to the offense. It could struggle as it did early in the season, or it could return to form like it did last week against the New Orleans Saints. The Packers are better equipped than most to deal with the loss at that position. But they are in the middle of a Super Bowl window.

Many around Green Bay believe there's little chance Jennings re-signs. He's in line for his last major payday, while quarterback Aaron Rodgers, linebacker Clay Matthews and nose tackle B.J. Raji need to be extended in upcoming seasons. Jennings seems to be the odd man out.

These next few weeks could be a glimpse of the future.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.


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