Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers knew before training camp that there would be an adjustment period with his young wide receivers. After months of patience, it seemed to run out after a recent practice.
Following the Davante Adams trade, the Packers arrived for training camp with only a few veterans at wideout. Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb have earned Rodgers’ trust and will be his go-to weapons in 2022.
However, the focus in training camp centered on wideouts Romeo Doubs, Christian Watson, Samori Toure and Amari Rodgers. Green Bay depends on having players step up as complementary weapons in Matt LaFleur’s offense, meaning several of the unproven receivers needed to make a name for themselves in training camp.
Following Tuesday’s practice, Rodgers made it very clear to reporters that expectations aren’t being met right now and that needs to change.
It’s especially noteworthy midway through August since several of the wideouts have had opportunities to work with Rodgers both during practice and in downtime. While the reigning NFL MVP isn’t playing this preseason, viewing practice reps as far more valuable, he is at least putting in the necessary time to help the unproven guys try and make a positive impression.
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The results thus far from the 2022 draft class are mixed. Romeo Doubs seemed to be the standout at training camp and he scored his first NFL touchdown in the preseason opener. On the other hand, second-round pick Christian Watson has missed the majority of summer practices with a knee injury.
What Aaron Rodgers’ criticisms mean for Packers’ offense
After boasting one of the best NFL offenses in each of the past two seasons, things look bleaker for the Green Bay Packers heading into the 2022 season.
Problems go beyond the inexperience at wide receiver. On the offensive line, All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari is still recovering from a torn ACL he suffered in December 2020. Meanwhile, Pro Bowl lineman Elgton Jenkins is still working his way back from his torn ACL suffered midway through the 2021 season. With both uncertain for the start of the regular season, the Packers could be operating with two massive holes on the offensive line.
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Only after that can you look at the issue that received far more attention this offseason. As Rodgers told reporters, he relies a lot on trust with his receivers. If he can’t depend on Watson, Doubs or another young pass-catcher to be in the spot the play is designed for, it hurts the offense and will limit how often he targets them.
“We’re going to play our best guys when the season starts. And whoever those guys are, those guys are going to get the reps. It’s the guys I trust the most and the guys the coaches trust the most. A lot of it is just the simple responsibility in the offense. Way before body positioning and movement and throw, and all that stuff, are you in the right spot at the right time? Are you running the right route?”Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers on importance of trust with young receivers
An immediate fix isn’t available. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers convinced Julio Jones to sign with them instead of Green Bay and Odell Beckham Jr. likely won’t be cleared to play until November. Moving forward, the Packers will just have to see how their young wide receivers respond to criticism from the face of the franchise.