As good as former UW-Whitewater wide receiver Jake Kumerow (above) has been during the first two weeks of camp – drawing praise from numerous coaches and teammates, including quarterback Aaron Rodgers – he has not been perfect. In fact, Rodgers brought up an instance where Kumerow didn’t do the right thing and used it as a teaching point this week.
As Rodgers explained it, Kumerow ran a specific route on a play with one of the backup quarterbacks and got open. He wasn’t a priority in the progression, however, and the ball didn’t come his way. A few days later, when lined up with the No. 1 offense with Rodgers, the play was called again – and again, Kumerow got open, beating Tramon Williams and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, two starters, down the middle. But, thinking he wasn’t going to get the ball, Kumerow decelerated during his route. When Rodgers unexpectedly sailed the ball his way, it was overthrown – but would have hit Kumerow in stride had he not slowed down.
“I’m always watching, whether I’m in the play or not in the play, when we’re going back through the film,” Rodgers recounted. “I was telling Jake the other day, I watched a play that he was in on, and he ran a certain route, he was open on the route. I wasn’t the quarterback, we came back three practices later, same call, same coverage, same player – him – running the route, and he wasn’t expecting the ball. I said, ‘Hey, I watched that rep three days ago. I saw this play and I reminded myself at the time, if we had that opportunity again, where to go with the football.’ I said, ‘When you’re out there, I’m coming your way.’ I have confidence in him. He’s in the right spot all the time, he makes contested catches, finishes the right way. He practices like a pro. It’s a reminder to those other guys, ‘This is what it looks like.’”
Given what he’s shown so far, Kumerow is on track to earn a spot on the 53-man roster. GM Brian Gutekunst has liked him since the 2015 NFL Draft and was excited to get him on the practice squad last season. But he’ll have to continue his upward trajectory in preseason play
“We always kind of kept track of him. When we got a chance, we brought him up here last year in the middle of the year and had a nice workout for us,” Gutekunst said. “Certainly his combination of athleticism and size was something that we were intrigued by. I thought it was nice for us to get him on the practice squad. He’s taken the most of that opportunity through last year and into this year and really applied it. He’s had a nice camp so far.
“When guys start making plays, they get more opportunities. And if they continue to make plays and they show consistency, then that’s when all of a sudden I think you start to consider them (as), ‘This guy could help us.’ But we’re a long way from that. We haven’t played one preseason game. But we’re excited to get out there.”