GREEN BAY, Wis. – You take the good, the bad, the both and here are the preseason facts of Romeo Doubs.
Like last week’s preseason debut in San Francisco, the Green Bay Packers’ promising rookie wide receiver dropped two passes but also scored an impressive touchdown during Friday night’s 20-10 win over the New Orleans Saints.
While quarterback Aaron Rodgers said Tuesday that players who drop too many passes “aren’t going to be out there” with the No. 1 offense when the season starts for the Minnesota Vikings in about three weeks, the reality is likely more complicated.
Through 17 practices and two games, Doubs has dropped more passes than anyone else on the roster. He’s also made more big plays because he creates more separation than either receiver. Yes, he’s missed some opportunities, but he has more juice than the veteran receivers Rodgers could lean on.
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“I think Romeo is a guy we have a lot of confidence in and he definitely made some big plays,” coach Matt LaFleur said of the fourth-round pick who scored 20 touchdowns over his last two seasons at snowfall
“You see a guy with really good feet. He’s been very good in his transition. He’s got burst. He’s been able to separate, which is hard to coach. Guys can do it or not. There are things to clean up, sure, but he’s a guy we’re excited about. We’ll see where we are in Week 1.”
After two drops, Doubs made an impressive touchdown catch on fourth-year cornerback Brian Allen. That ability to make a bad play in the rearview mirror is a key trait for any receiver.
“There will be some lessons along the way,” LaFleur said. “He’s a pretty resilient guy. He doesn’t get fazed by a bad play. He just keeps playing. That’s what excites you about him.”
How do you not let a bad play sink in, especially in light of being called out by Rodgers a few days earlier?
“You just have to be mentally strong,” he said. “You have plays like that from the best players to the mediocre ones, you’re going to have plays like that that will come and go.”
On third-and-3 on the opening drive, Doubs was wide open for what would have been a big gain. Doubs expected an inside throw, but quarterback Jordan Love threw it outside. Doubs adjusted late but the ball went through his hands.
“I beat the DB too fast,” explained Doubs. “Looking at the photos, the safety was in the right hash, which was my part of the field. The way he threw the ball, he threw the ball like the safety wasn’t going to have a chance to make a play on it. What happened there happened there. I tried to do my part, he did his, and somehow, someway, we didn’t get where we wanted to. It’s just a next play mentality. Just keep playing the game.”
Said Love: “I might have thrown it a little too far. But it was one of those 50/50 balls that you try to give it a chance and we didn’t play it.”
A couple of plays later, Doubs was thrown by a defender on a crossing route, stayed on his feet but dropped another pass. Moments later, after a 15-yard Tyler Goodson run to the 4, Doubs lined up on the left side. Love saw the coverage and Doubs expected the ball to come to him. Doubs took a leap and then jumped into the seats.
“I felt great about my first Lambeau jump,” he said. “Hopefully, there will be more to come along this football journey.”
This is a fact. Although he doesn’t run a fast clock, Doubs has an extra team that has put him behind the routine secondary dates with OTAs in May. Given the unsettled state of the receiving corps — there’s no definite pecking order behind Allen Lazard — the Packers will need Doubs’ big plays, even if they have to deal with big drops.
“He’s getting better by the day, man,” Doubs said of the week against the Saints. “You accumulate days. You learn from what you did wrong. I’m really just learning and accumulating days. For example, if I do well, it’s a teaching tape for the rest of the people in the room. The next day, if it’s a bad play, more teaching, more clips. It’s just a learning process.”
Romeo doubts extra points
After the touchdown, Doubs made a “grass angel” in the end zone.
“Yeah, I definitely sat there for a second [to enjoy the moment]. But again, it’s just playing ball and having fun.”
Love, where Doubs handles the highs and lows:
“I think that comes with being a rookie. It’s not going to be perfect. You’re going to have ups and downs. But Romeo, I think he’s really hard on himself. When he doesn’t make a play, he knows what to do and he pulls it off. I think it’s easy for him to be there with Aaron and understand what Aaron’s trying to get out of him. They’re ups and downs. It’s never a perfect game. But I think he’s done a really good job so far.”