Janis will be ready if Boykin can't go

Weston Hodkiewicz
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Jeff Janis made a personal goal many years ago to buy a new car for his mother, Deb, should he ever make it to the NFL.

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jeff Janis, right, sprints past St. Louis Rams defensive tackle Deantre Harlan after catching a pass and running it in for a touchdown during the third quarter of an NFL preseason football game Aug. 16. Janis is hoping to make the Packers final 53-man roster this week. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam)

The Green Bay Packers rookie receiver made good on that promise this past week when he had a brand-new Ford Edge delivered to his mom back in Michigan.

"That was one thing that I told myself I wanted to do for my mom if I made it to this level was get her a new vehicle," said Janis, who posted the photo on his Twitter account Tuesday. "She's one of the hardest working people I know, so that was something I wanted to reward her with."

Back in Green Bay, Janis' focus has tightened. The former Saginaw Valley State standout has been inactive for the first three games this season, but could be called into action Sunday against the Chicago Bears.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy said receiver Jarrett Boykin developed a groin injury during practice Thursday and is listed as questionable to play against the Bears. He'd already been dealing with a knee injury.

It could be the opening Janis needs to show his highlight reel of preseason catches can translate in games that actually matter in the win-loss column.

The Packers plucked Janis (6-3, 219) from the NCAA Division II ranks in the seventh round of May's draft because of an ultra-productive run with the Cardinals (4,305 receiving yards, 45 touchdowns) and terrific testing numbers at the NFL combine.

Janis agrees the key for him is to gain the trust of Aaron Rodgers. His 33- and 34-yard touchdown grabs in the preseason weren't a bad start, though.

"It's very important because if he doesn't trust me, he won't look my way," Janis said. "So that's one thing I have to show him so we can build that trust and get some balls thrown my way."

Janis isn't getting ahead of himself, though. He knows his path to offense is paved through special teams. His coaches at Saginaw Valley State felt he would have been a good returner, but his offensive value was paramount.

So far, it's been a work in progress. Special-teams coach Shawn Slocum said he's been doing a good job on rushing punts, but accidently ran into Tim Masthay during practice earlier this week.

"If you are going to be a receiver, you have to play special teams," Janis said. "That's something I've really been trying to show that I could do, so hopefully that will be my first chance to get on the field on special teams."

The Packers didn't have anyone miss practice time this week, which can make life difficult for a rookie inactive trying to get on the game-day 46.

If Boykin can't go, the Packers will be looking for a No. 4 receiver. A spark in the passing game also wouldn't hurt.

Could Janis be it?

"I still have to make plays when they come my way. That's the biggest thing I'm focusing on," Janis said. "It's basically the same thing. It doesn't matter who is up or down, it's treating each day like I was a starter. That's pretty much what I try to do is prepare that way." and follow him on Twitter @WesHod.

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