There were more than 80 players out there this spring and summer and literally dozens of new faces. Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy had to study them all, some on first impressions, everyone in a blur. It's not easy to become distinguishable in a crowd like this.
Yet receivers James Jones and Jordy Nelson managed to separate from the crowd.
"Outstanding off-seasons," said McCarthy during the last Packers minicamp. "If you go through the films, James Jones, just from a production standpoint, probably stands out as one of the top performers through the OTAs. He's gotten a lot of opportunities, particularly in the slot with Donald's absence, and I think he's done a very good job of that."
It's never a bad thing to get praise like that from the head man. Except it was June.
Jones would like to hear it again in November.
He did his best when he got more practice time in veteran receiver Donald Driver's slot spot while Driver rested his 35-year-old knees.
But Jones, heading into his fourth year, wants a lot more than attention.
He wants a 1,000-yard season and a time share in the end zone.
The Packers are preparing for the inevitable slow down of Donald Driver. Per training camp, James Jones could emerge as a decent WR option in larger leagues.