The Green Bay Packers (1-2) released wide receiver and primary kick returner Jeremy Ross Monday, one day into the Packers’ bye week and one day after a heart-breaking 34-30 loss against the Cincinnati Bengals (2-1). Ross was the face of the Packers’ miserable start to Sunday’s game, muffing his first kick return in Cincinnati. His fumble resulted in the Bengals recovering the loose ball at Green Bay’s two-yard line and scoring one play later.
Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Randall Cobb and Jarrett Boykin are now the only four receivers listed on the Packers’ current 53-man roster. Likely candidates to replace Ross include practice squad rookie wide receivers Charles Johnson and Myles White.
It was time for Packers head coach Mike McCarthy and GM Ted Thompson to make a change. Dating back to the 2012 regular season and playoffs, Ross appeared in eight games for the Packers. By Sunday though, the second-year receiver had earned his third strike in only one half of a season of play. That’s right, Ross’ Sunday performance wasn’t the first or second, but his third special teams screw-up in Green Bay.
In a Week 15 win over the Chicago Bears last season, Cobb tossed a backwards lateral to Ross on a trick play during a punt-return. Ross couldn’t make a clean catch and dropped Cobb’s lateral. Luckily for Ross though, there wasn’t a Bears player in sight, meaning he was able to scoop up the ball and recover it right? Wrong. Ross wasn’t able to even pick up the football cleanly, and the Bears recovered the fumble in Packers territory.
Ross was most notable for putting the Packers in an undesirable position during the 2012 Divisional Playoffs at San Francisco in January. The Packers led the San Francisco 49ers 14-7, and the defense had forced a 49ers punt. The momentum was in favor of Green Bay … until the punt landed in Ross’ arms. Ross called a fair catch, but instead of catching it, he muffed it and the 49ers recovered at the Packers’ nine-yard line.
Three plays later, the 49ers tied the game at 14-14 and momentum had swung San Francisco’s way for good (49ers won 45-31).
Ross’ muffed kick return was the absolute last straw for Packers nation and coaches. Ross is a talented kid, but he doesn’t belong in the NFL. He has jeopardized the Packers on special teams too many times in his short career, and this was the best move the Packers have made in the young 2013 season.