Remember The Two-Week Rule

The way people are gushing over Juwann Winfree makes me a bit nostalgic for the 80s. That was the decade I drank my first beer, bought my first car, and held my first real job. What does this have to do with a second-year wide receiver for the Packers? Let me explain.

I covered Eagles’ training camp in August of 1988 for a television station in Philadelphia, and while I don’t remember very much from that summer, there’s one thing I’ll never forget. I was doing a story on a local wide receiver by the name of Martin Booker, who went to Villanova and who was the talk of camp after the first week of practices.

I interviewed an assistant coach about Booker and got the generic responses I expected. He told me how hard the young man was working. He told me how athletic he was and how tough he was for his size. He told me how he’d put himself right in the mix for a roster spot. And then, as I was on my way to interview receiver Kenny Jackson, the coach called me back and gave me a piece of advice I’ve remembered and taken to heart for the past three-plus decades.

The grizzled assistant warned me never to get too excited about an unproven player until the third week of camp. He said that’s when the decision-makers start separating the contenders from the pretenders. That’s when the intensity gets ratcheted up a notch, and the veterans really get focused. And most importantly, that’s when the coaches will ask the youngster to go from making plays against seldom-used backups to making plays against starters.

Sure enough, Booker – who might’ve been the nicest pro athlete I’ve ever met – stopped catching passes pretty much the very minute he began running more of his routes against Eric Allen and Roynell Young and not Eric Everett and Izel Jenkins. That was week 3, and by the end of the next week, the feel-good story of the summer was over.

I get that Winfree is a draft pick from the Pac-12 and not an undrafted free agent from the Yankee Conference, but the Two-Week Rule has served me well over the years. So go ahead and get excited about every impressive catch Winfree makes in the coming days. That’s what being a fan is all about. Just don’t get too excited – at least not yet.

One more thing – if you don’t believe me about the Two-Week Rule, just listen to what coach Matt LaFleur said on Saturday:

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  1. It won’t matter one way or the other. Winfree or someone like him will be cut in favor of Rodgers buddy Randall Cobb. Cobb, who didn’t have much left three years ago, will be the feel good story for Amari Rodgers in camp but that’s about it. He’ll get some “stats” because Aaron will force the ball to him until one of these dinosaurs gets hurt. Probably Cobb. Let’s all hope and pray Jordan Love is an NFL QB. You could certainly tell by his presser Gutekunst was clearly annoyed by having to trade for Cobb and I’m sure that’s exactly what Aaron wanted. More of a power play than what’s best for the team.

  2. I’m not a big Gutey guy, but he’s in an impossible position. He built the team for this season, so he has no choice but to grin and bear it while Rodgers pretty much calls the shots. Humbling himself will be a lot easier if the end result is a ring.


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Packers Notes is the creation of Michael Rodney, who has been writing about the Green Bay Packers for over 30 years. His first blog, Packer Update, hit the internet in 2004. Before becoming a public educator, Rodney worked as a journalist for a couple of newspapers in his home state of New Jersey and covered the Philadelphia Eagles for WTXF-TV. He's had numerous articles on the Packers published, and he's been featured on both television and radio over the years.
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