Last 2 Games Show Why You Keep Throwing to MVS

Despite the inconsistencies, these last two weeks show why the Green Bay Packers continue to throw in Marquez Valdes-Scantling's direction. 

Up and down. Hot and cold. Fantastic and frustrating. All of those terms could be used to describe Marquez Valdes-Scantling's career up to this point. 
 
Since entering the NFL, Valdes-Scantling has been the model of inconsistency for this Green Bay Packers team. And it's those low points that tend to rear their head more often than not that particularly frustrates fans.
 
As a rookie, over the Packers' final eight games, Valdes-Scantling was targeted 40 times by Aaron Rodges, yet he would only catch 21 of them with an average of 10.6 yards per catch and with no touchdowns.
 
Again in 2019, we saw Valdes-Scantling disappear over the second half of the season. From Weeks 9 through 17, he would average just over 17 snaps per game, and during that span, Valdes-Scantling caught only four passes on 17 targets for 32 yards, and once again, no touchdowns. 
 
Even this season, which we are only nine games into, has come with its ups and downs. There have been dropped passes, five to be exact, which is the third-most in football, and also another quiet stretch. Over a five-game span from Weeks 3 through 7, MVS caught just 41 percent of his 22 targets for 101 yards with no touchdowns.  
 
However, despite dropped passes and the disappearing acts, Valdes-Scantlings' performances against San Francisco and Jacksonville shows you why the Green Bay Packers do and should keep going back to him. To put it simply, it's that home run ability. 
 
After another dropped pass against the Niners, Valdes-Scantling bounced back with a 52-yard touchdown reception before the half.  And against the Jaguars, with the Packer offense looking stagnant as ever, it was a 78-yard bomb that put Green Bay on the board.
 
When discussing Valdes-Scantling's impact, while there are plenty of lows, there are plenty of highs as well. Before that eight-game stretch during his rookie season where he went quiet, there was a four-game span where he had two touchdowns and 317 receiving yards at over 21 yards per catch, including two 100-yard games.
 
In 2019 before his snap count dwindled, MVS had 21 receptions over the first seven weeks of the season, averaging nearly 20 yards per catch with two touchdowns. This included a 99-yard performance against Denver, another 133 yard game against Oakland, and a 47 yard catch Week 1 against Chicago that led to the game's only touchdown. 
 
This year has been much of the same. As mentioned above, there were five games where his impact was hardly felt, but he's been excellent the last two weeks and flashed that big-play ability in Weeks 1 and 2, averaging nearly 23 yards per catch with a touchdown on seven receptions against Minnesota and Detroit.
 
Matt LaFleur has made an effort to get Valdes-Scantling more involved on the intermediate and shallow routes, where he's already had 26 targets after totaling 36 in 2019, but realistically that may never be his bread and butter. If MVS is going to stick in Green Bay, it'll likely be because he's a downfield threat. 
 
And that downfield threat is an element that this offense needs if they are going to be truly effective. While much of the offseason was focused on Green Bay becoming more "run-oriented," with Rodgers at quarterback, they are going to continue taking their shots downfield, and because of that, LaFleur has discussed MVS' importance to this offense:
 
“We need him (Marquez Valdes-Scantling) to be a consistent performer for us because he does have incredible speed, and he scares the defense when he’s out on the field.”
 
With 4.37 speed, Valdes-Scantling is the only Packer with speed in that stratosphere. Although Davante Adams and Allen Lazard are much more talented, no one on Green Bay can stretch a defense vertically quite like MVS, and it shows in his numbers. He is top-10 in the NFL on downfield targets - which are passes of at least 20 yards - his three touchdown receptions are the third-most when it comes to passes that travel at least 20 yards, and MVS' 255 deep receiving yards are the sixth most in football.
 
Sure, Marquez Valdes-Scantling may be considered a one-trick pony, but to his credit, it is a heck of a trick. And it's a skill-set that this Green Bay Packers' offense needs if they're going to reach their full potential. So while there are likely going to be more frustrating moments ahead, that just seems to be apart of MVS' game; what we've seen from him the last two weeks is why you keep throwing his direction. 

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Born and raised in Green Bay, WI and I still call it home. After my family, watching the Packers, sharing my opinions on the team through my writing and interacting with other fans is my greatest passion. You can find me on Twitter at @Paul_Bretl. 
 

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Comments (27)

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Guam's picture

November 16, 2020 at 11:21 am

MVS will always be a home run hitter - his speed demands that role. However he will become a legitimate #2 or #3 only when he becomes more effective over more of the route tree. I have been encouraged the last few weeks as he has caught more middle routes than in past years. I still worry about his hands sometimes (he juggled the 78 yard TD catch Sunday), but there has been improvement. Hopefully he continues to work hard and develops some confidence with more of the route tree because as a home run hitter he really does open up defenses for the other receivers.

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Wildcomet's picture

November 16, 2020 at 02:21 pm

Agreed, his skills demand he be primarily a deep threat. He may never be great at double moves or whip routes or anything like that. But if he can master one cut routes like posts, slants, crossers, etc he'll be able to succeed as a WR3. He is getting open more on the short-midrange routes which is encouraging. I would like to see him get more jet motion opportunities, especially if Ervin is out again for a while. That may be a good way to involve him in the offense besides deep routes; his speed should help him get around the edge well.

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PatrickGB's picture

November 16, 2020 at 04:36 pm

It would be nice if he could do that. But, from what I understand, he is more like Jordy and needs to build up his speed. Quicks are not his specialty. Yet it would be nice to see if he could jet sweep a time or two in a game.

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Coldworld's picture

November 17, 2020 at 08:39 am

I’d use Taylor, who has elite speed as well, in that role.

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Rebecca's picture

November 16, 2020 at 05:57 pm

I agree. MV-S catches and bobbles the ball much like James Jones did for most of his early years. Totally different type of receiver, but you couldn’t be sure what they’d do with the pigskin. I’m glad they’re sticking with him.

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RCPackerFan's picture

November 16, 2020 at 11:44 am

My hope for MVS was after last weeks 2 TD catches after weeks of basically nothing, that it would propel him and build his confidence. That seems to be the case after yesterdays game.

What I loved is not only the deep ball but the stuff underneath. The crossing route. The other short pass where he gains 10 yards and then at the end he lowers his shoulder and gains 5 more after.

If MVS can keep playing like this and they get Lazard back, this offense will be at another level!

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Bearmeat's picture

November 16, 2020 at 04:57 pm

True it certainly will be.

Now about the defense? Oof. (leave me to my eeyore thoughts, RC) lol

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stockholder's picture

November 16, 2020 at 11:49 am

Devante Adams #2. We just have to be patient.

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CheesyTex's picture

November 16, 2020 at 12:11 pm

Certainly hope you are right.

Considering how many 'niners starters were out, and that Jax D ranks at the bottom of the NFL, it's going to be a while before MVS gains legitimate trust. With a little (maybe a lot of) luck, the two good games will boost his confidence and give him the added incentive (or whatever it is he needs) to work harder and become at least a solid #2.

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Bure9620's picture

November 16, 2020 at 01:15 pm

He's a #3, there will be a few plays a game for him to go deep, he also loosens things up underneath by stretching the defense

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Lphill's picture

November 16, 2020 at 12:06 pm

Back to the defense, on running downs for the Jags especially on first down , you see 7 blockers facing 3 Packer down lineman and 2 inside linebackers , the Smiths are so far out you don't even see them, so Mike Pettine please tell me how this works at stopping the run?

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CheesyTex's picture

November 16, 2020 at 12:25 pm

It doesn't. His "stop the pass first" mentality drives me crazy.

Also, Mike, why does that defense make sense against a green QB that you would want to have throwing the ball? Too many D-backs out? Back-ups not flexible enough? There must be some reason fans can't see.

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Razer's picture

November 16, 2020 at 12:24 pm

We have to hope for MVS and we have to keep throwing to him because we don't have a slew of options. You have a great QB that you have repeatedly starved for surrounding talent. In the last 4-5 years it has been slim pickings at RB, TE and WR. I don't know what the front office is doing because the defense is crap and the offense is Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams and Aaron Jones (recent).

To see MVS as anything beyond WR 3, is using the same rose-colored glasses as Gutekunst and his scouts. But if that is all you got - then yes "keep throwing to him".

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jannes bjornson's picture

November 16, 2020 at 01:37 pm

They overpay " their" guys. Still a couple of years behind the curve.

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wildbill's picture

November 16, 2020 at 12:25 pm

I rewatch a lot of our games but wasn’t able to tape this one. It’s seems MVS has been erratic in his catching but many times I see he has blocked well for a receiver. Has anybody broken down his blocking? Is it good or bad?

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Wildcomet's picture

November 16, 2020 at 12:56 pm

I haven't done a detailed breakdown admittedly but he seems to be doing a pretty good job blocking. I saw on the one bigger run the Packers had to the right side MVS was downfield blocking his man on the play. I can't think of any big misses he's had while blocking this year.

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nostradanus's picture

November 16, 2020 at 01:37 pm

MVS will be an excellent #3 when Lazard returns, he kind of reminds me of a young Ted Ginn who was always a boom or bust guy. MVS seems to be gaining confidence and more importantly the confidence of #12. One thing is for certain, after Adams, Lazard & MVS there is nothing else so these are your guys until next years draft.

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Guam's picture

November 16, 2020 at 02:44 pm

So sadly right about the Packer WR group Nostradanus. ESB has regressed this year and the others have been invisible. Fortunately the RBs and TEs have stepped up their games.

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PatrickGB's picture

November 16, 2020 at 04:43 pm

And throwing the ball to TE’s and RB’s is part of Matt’s game plan anyway. And I think that Funchess is back next year. ESB and Sheppard have been injured as of late yet I don’t see them back next year unless they really improve.

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Wildcomet's picture

November 16, 2020 at 01:43 pm

MVS has reminded me a lot of a more extreme version of James Jones early in his career. I remember how Jones would make big time catches but then drop very catchable balls. MVS feels like an amped up version of that; his big plays are bigger but his inconsistency is more pronounced. The other difference is we didn't ask as much of Jones this early in his career. I hope like Jones he'll learn to minimize the mistakes over time.

This article is on the money that the offense needs to keep MVS involved because it needs the big deep play threat he provides. He may never be a master route runner. But with his athletic gifts, if he can make one good move and run himself open, then catch the ball well enough for teams to respect the threat he poses, he'll have a good long career- hopefully in GB.

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DonaldD80's picture

November 16, 2020 at 02:42 pm

I want MVS to succeed. I still hold my breath when the ball goes to him though. One week I want him gone, the next week I'm like eh might as well keep him! If he could play this well consistently then it's a whole new ball game. The speed he has is a game changer and I was impressed with the way he took it to the house. He is always wide open because teams are on Adams. Imagine if we have Adams, healthy Lazard, and reliable big play Scantling plus Rob T. That's an offensive that can make up for the defensive.

The thing with Scantling is that I want someone to work with him. Maybe Adams can help get this kid get on track. I feel like he's lacking the mentorship or someone in his ear. The way he catches passes leaves a lot to be desired. Can't Adams show him how to be a better catcher. It's times like this when you really want more vet WR's that can teach the young guys. St. Brown needs the exact same mentorship and it just doesn't seem to be there.

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Razer's picture

November 16, 2020 at 02:09 pm

Maybe the sister question to MVS is "why don't we start throwing to our TEs"? This organization has been talking, developing, drafting and ignoring TEs for a decade. Other than some nice red zone misdirects, our TEs are still an after-thought.

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Coldworld's picture

November 16, 2020 at 02:54 pm

Tonyan went into the game yesterday with the second most receptions and yards. MVS has now surpassed his yardage and Jones has one more reception, but I’d say Tonyan has been a significant contributor alone without looking at Lewis or Sternberger. Tonyan also has the second most receiving TDs after Adams. The TE group as a whole has only one less than Adams.

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Point-Packer's picture

November 16, 2020 at 03:41 pm

I really like MVS as a #3 with a stud in Davante and a possession WR in Lazard. GB is missing that one piece (Lazard) to the puzzle in the passing game. If we are going to be brutally honest, the TE position has not been a consistent threat this year. Tonyan is a slow dude with good hands, but he's not a dynamic play maker. Sternberger, I really have no idea about. Marcedes is really an Really Outside Tackle.

Speaking of Lewis - why didn't he play on Sunday?

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fansince1959's picture

November 16, 2020 at 07:35 pm

Lewis played

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Branden Burke's picture

November 16, 2020 at 09:15 pm

I think you missed the mark with the second half of what you said. Lewis did play. He was beat on the crucial block on 3 and 1 at the end causing the play to fail. Tonyan is a pretty fast TE. He was a converted WR afterall. He ran the 40 in 4.58. For comparisons sake, Allen Lazard ran it in 4.55 and Davante Adams ran it in 4.56. The two best TE's in the NFL, George Kittle and Travis Kelce, ran 4.52 and 4.61 respectively. Tonyan is a similar athlete. Easily the 2nd or 3rd best receiving option on the team. Jace will be a very solid contributor. He looks pretty fluid. It's only a matter of time for him.

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Tundraboy's picture

November 16, 2020 at 05:12 pm

The best part of sunday's game was watching the confidence building, especially with the second catch. That's two more games to build on and two more weeks of having Rodgers pump him up after some big time catches. Maybe he's ready for a big jump over the rest of the season. I would love to see that!

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