Lazard and Valdes-Scantling Shine Against Vikings

With many thinking that the Green Bay Packers don't have enough fire power at the receiver position, Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling shine in Week 1 against Minnesota. 

It's a narrative that we are all very familiar with by now: The Green Bay Packers don't have enough weapons at wide receiver. And while I certainly think that it's been overblown this offseason, I understand why it has been such a hot topic of conversation. 

Outside of Davante Adams and the emergence of Allen Lazard over the second half of the season, the Packers' receiving unit in 2019 was quite underwhelming. However, as we all know, they still wouldn't address the position in the draft, and their only free-agent addition, Devin Funchess, decided to opt-out. This season the Packers are banking on the internal development of their young receivers along with the usage of tight ends and running backs in the passing game as well. 

Heading into the Week 1 matchup against Minnesota, I'm not sure that many of us expected Adams to tie a franchise record with 14 receptions, but he's had plenty of success when facing the Vikings in the past. The big question, however, was who, or if any other receiver was going to step up alongside of him. Well, with all eyes on this Green Bay Packers' offense, Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling showed why GM Brian Gutekunst and Head Coach Matt LaFleur are so comfortable with this receiving corps. 

Last season, particularly on third downs, Lazard became one of Aaron Rodgers' most trusted targets, and we saw that again on Sunday. Lazard hauled in a 12-yard catch early in the second half to help move the chains. He then added a 38-yard reception and followed that up with a touchdown. On top of that, he also had a 19 yard run of his own. When it was all said and done, in the passing game, Lazard caught four passes on four targets at nearly 16 yards per catch with a touchdown. 

Valdes-Scantling's game certainly wasn't as smooth as Lazard's and really, what we saw from him is a perfect microcosm of his career up to this point. It was a bit of a roller coaster ride that included a 45-yard touchdown reception, a third-down drop followed by another drop on a shot play the very next possession.

It was at that point that we began to wonder if another stint on the bench was in store for the third-year receiver. But on a free-play conjured up by Rodgers, Valdes-Scantling was able to beat his man and haul in the 39-yard reception that led to a touchdown.

Given Valdes-Scantling's track record, it could be easy to be worried about those dropped passes. However, as Adams put it after the game, he's even more impressed with how Valdes-Scantling was able to bounce back (via Packer Report):

“For him to come back and respond the way he did and catch the ball on the right side -- great release, everything about it was perfect -- that shows me more than anything,” said Adams. “I’m more proud of him for that than if he would’ve caught the initial ball and scored honestly. Just because, me being another receiver, I know exactly how difficult it is to bounce back from something like that."

“A lot of things are in your head, and it’s tough to flush it. My hat’s off to him for the way he responded to that.”

Even with two crucial drops, Valdes-Scantling had more highs than lows and finished with four receptions on six targets for 96 yards at a whopping 24 yards per catch with a touchdown. 

For Rodgers, we saw a vintage performance from him, but it certainly helped to have an effective and - for the most part - reliable second and third receiver options next to Adams. When targeting Lazard and Valdes-Scantling, Rodgers was 8/10 for 159 yards at almost 20 yards per catch with two touchdowns and a near-perfect passer rating of 153.8. 

Yes, it was just one week, and it came against a young Minnesota cornerback unit. So for those of us who didn't hit the panic button this offseason when discussing the receiver position, it's still too early to say, "I told ya so." 

With that said, you certainly have to be encouraged with these performances from Lazard and Valdes-Scantling, and we all saw how dangerous this offense can be when those two - along with Adams - are playing at a high-level. Perhaps Gutey does know what he's doing after all. 

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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 (51)

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

September 14, 2020 at 12:08 pm

I love the quites from Adams. I usually like Adams quotes but these ones provide much needed context around MVS.

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Coldworld's picture

September 14, 2020 at 12:37 pm

We forget Adams has been there. I hope MVS can progress half as far as Adams has with his catching since his early years.

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PF4L's picture

September 15, 2020 at 09:24 am

It was just nice to see Adams smile, i can't remember the last time.

MVS did shine, in a way where he bought himself some more time by making some great grabs. Show me a receiver with 4 catches for 96 yards and a TD and i'll show you someone who has some talent.

But son.....ya gotta stop droppin dimes!!

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Leatherhead's picture

September 14, 2020 at 12:10 pm

Pretty good for “garbage”, right Bearmeat? If only MSV was an NFL caliber receiver, and not part of a bottom five unit....

Packers are very well set for this season at WR. The blathering nonsense about what a weak group this is looks kind of stupid right now.

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scullyitsme's picture

September 14, 2020 at 01:05 pm

I guess you missed the part in the article about too early to say I told you so. Oh, speaking of which, what happened to the new ground and pound, only have to run the ball to win packers? So your saying now we need good receivers? I’m confused

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Leatherhead's picture

September 14, 2020 at 01:09 pm

I’m saying we have a multitude of more than adequate receivers

It’s not too early to say it.

I guess you missed the 150 yards on the ground

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scullyitsme's picture

September 14, 2020 at 01:35 pm

Yesterday’s game was all about using the run to set up the pass, as it should be. If your gonna I told you so someone better look in the mirror first.

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Bearmeat's picture

September 15, 2020 at 08:28 am

He's projecting harder than an angsty teenage girl and just praying he can say "toldjaso" in front of the class. But he won't admit it. So, whatever. I'm not going to waste my time on the troll/fool.

I posted this to Nags in his YT chat. It applies here too:

"Lazard was decent last year for literally 1/3 of the year and MVS was garbage. It was (still is?) entirely reasonable to be worried about the lack of weapons for 12. Let's not forget that Lazard caught 4 balls, as did MVS, and MVS dropped two easy ones. He remains very much a projection, and Lazard is athletically limited.

Let's also not forget that the Vikings were breaking in an entire new CB room, none of whom are over 24. In a season that had no practices before mid-July and no preseason games. That was not an NFL level defense we faced on Sunday.

Caution is still warranted, which doesn't mean I didn't enjoy BTFO of the Vikings yesterday."

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murf7777's picture

September 14, 2020 at 02:33 pm

Bearmeat, while I agree the need for a high level WR is still yet to be determined. I believe MVS is getting a bad rap from you regarding last year. He was far from Garbage. Go look at his beginning games prior to when he got an ankle and some other injury and then compare to after the injuries. There is a big difference in his performance. Some folks either don't understand how an injury can change your abilities to perform or just plan ignore and injury and expect the same results as a healthy person.

I play sports and know if I'm playing with a nagging injury I'm not playing at the same level as being 100% healthy. Depending on the severity and location of an injury that will also change said abilities to perform at a high level. An Ankle is extremely important for a WR, so making light of that or not taking it into consideration when severely criticizing someone is unfair and shortsighted. "garbage" is far from the reality.

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Leatherhead's picture

September 14, 2020 at 03:44 pm

I’m admitting it. I . Told. You. So. The only person projecting is YOU when you call our players garbage.

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CoachDino's picture

September 14, 2020 at 07:56 pm

I may not agree and am sorry to see the little spat but got to give you props on the projecting more than a teenage girl line.

To be fair we all hope our opinions pan out and when it gets a bit personal, who doesn't want to say itolduso. Doesn't mean u say it. It's just one game and it was against new corners. That makes a difference.

I sooo hope MVS turns it around, I get the 2019 injury issue but drops? poor adjustments to the ball in the air? Those thing were worrisome last year yet he did show he has star talent, his size and speed combination are special even in this league. here's hoping it all works out. I HATE drops but it's part of the game and when you posses his skill set it will be tolerated to a point on any team.
Little unfair on Lazard criticism as he didn't play the whole year, the point with him is when he did play he performed at a level that he can be a #2. Mix in his size and the importance of blocking, it once again explains why he's here.

IMO, and I've stated it before, The packers and their weapons showed in WK 1 that they are legit and more than enough to win with AR at the helm. So talent isn't the issue, the question will be consistency. Plus IMO the TE play will only get better.

Huge division rival win, that's now in the books, focus is on WK2

Lets Go Pack!!!

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Bearmeat's picture

September 14, 2020 at 08:16 pm

Good comment, Dino.

I too hope I'm wrong. I honestly do. I want MVS to turn into Randy Moss and Lazard to turn into latter-career Larry Fitz. The truth is they just haven't shown those peaks yet, not to mention the consistency. Doesn't mean they're garbage, just means they're not dependable weapons...yet.

Week 1, regardless of quality of opposition, was a win. And they played well. I'll take it!

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sbransbottom's picture

September 15, 2020 at 02:07 pm

I could be wrong but I feel like I read nearly this exact quote on the GB fans worldwide page on FB. We all seem to be around the same message boards. Don't worry, I wont give away your identity lol.

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Leatherhead's picture

September 14, 2020 at 03:42 pm

Simplistic, and not entirely correct. The run was used for several things yesterday, including setting up the pass. But we also had the 4th best rushing day of any team. We burned 41 minutes off the clock. We protected our QB from getting hit.

Our WRs are more than adequate. They aren’t garbage. I told you so.

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dobber's picture

September 15, 2020 at 09:27 am

I disagree: Arod had 25 attempts at half with the majority of those targets going to WRs. Sunday was all about attacking MN's green CB group, and making Nelson and Smith play the whole field.

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CoachDino's picture

September 15, 2020 at 05:52 pm

I really dig this blog. Respect so many of the posters yet don't always agree, which is great because I learn. By using the counter arguments to mine I can better enforce or change my views.

Once again I see both arguments, the Packers, by the numbers, did run the ball and grind in the early part of the game, loved how ARod quickly used the outlet rec and the middle of the field. It was as the game went on, IMO (w/o reviewing film) that they saw the weakness in the DBs they could exploit and set a tone that made sure the defense couldn't just play the pass but focused down the field more..

More film I do watch the more I really like what the Packers did scheme/play call wise. OL play, RB pass protect, Adams ability to get open.

Also saw how poor the Vikings DBs were and what a great Job the packers did exploiting it.

Adams can get open vs any DB Probably not as easy against the better DB teams for the Lazards and MVS. The saving grace is that it's scheme driven and you still have the TE's and Rbs that need to be covered as well.

Yes, I'm a Homer, no doubt.... That said I am a huge fan of this offensive scheme.

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murf7777's picture

September 14, 2020 at 02:02 pm

We're on the same page Leatherhead....All we need is "passcatchers" and I believe we have them in the group of WR's, TE's and RB's. I was soo sick of all the pundits giving the Packers such a bad time about not giving Rodgers weapons. What was a 2nd round RB and 3rd round HB used for? Are they not offensive weapons? Argh!

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13TimeChamps's picture

September 15, 2020 at 09:33 am

You're the one who looks stupid, basing anything on one game against a bad secondary.

If we're making projections after one game, I guess that means Sternberger will have zero receptions this year and MVS will have 32 drops. Or are we just allowed to project the good stuff?

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PF4L's picture

September 17, 2020 at 11:52 am

One game down, 15 to go....

Leathermeat: "See...i told you so!!"

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TheVOR's picture

September 14, 2020 at 12:43 pm

MVS needs to catch footballs thrown to him, period! A WR who drops footballs will do so at the wrong time, a critical drive, a playoff game. The one that really hacked me off was the crossing pattern for a first down. That was a drive killer! He has to be better, plain and simple.. Can't drop the ball and be counted on. I'd have a very short leash with that dude right now.. He needs to be better.. Hoping we see big improvement on that moving forward. Those 2 drops were hideous!

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

September 14, 2020 at 01:04 pm

"four receptions on six targets for 96 yards at a whopping 24 yards per catch with a touchdown"

I get that drops are frustrating. But, I'll take that every game from our 3rd WR.

A whole season of that is 64 catches for 1536 yards and 16 TDs.

"Big improvement" from there would be All-Time stuff.

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Leatherhead's picture

September 14, 2020 at 01:10 pm

Exactly.

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crayzpackfan's picture

September 14, 2020 at 02:16 pm

It is also 32 dropped passes. 32! Out of those 32 drops, how many will result in a loss? Will a couple drops end up being intercepted? How many will kill a drive? I don’t think anyone has ever maintained a job as an nfl receiver with 32 drops. Just trying to show some perspective to what you are willing to accept along with the numbers you gave. Good win. Cheers

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CoachDino's picture

September 15, 2020 at 06:00 pm

love it.. Both make great points and could be considered correct. Sure I'll take drops when you have his big play ability. That said I went nuts when he dropped those passes. I HATE dropped passes. Alternative: Kumerow? Beloved by fans, good hands, he has drops as well as do all recs just not at the MVS rate.

We all know what will happen from our years watching the game.

If drops continue but are combined with big plays/Tds and the packers win - well we will gripe a bit but live with it,

But when it's a drop thats costs us a game or even worse going to or not advancing to the next round in the playoffs we will go ape sh%%. I know I will.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

September 14, 2020 at 04:20 pm

Prrfect!

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HankScorpio's picture

September 14, 2020 at 07:54 pm

"I get that drops are frustrating. But, I'll take that every game from our 3rd WR.

A whole season of that is 64 catches for 1536 yards and 16 TDs"

Everyone would. Heck, I'd take 50% of that production out of MVS on the year. But if someone gave me money to bet on over or under maintaining 50%, I'm taking the under.

His issue is inconsistency. Even with his big game, he still looked inconsistent. If he cannot solve that issue, he'll lose snaps again.

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dobber's picture

September 15, 2020 at 09:35 am

You're right: his track record is against him. He's not been able to maintain any kind of momentum over an extended period in these first couple years. Yes, he got dinged last year, but guys need to be able to play effectively at 85 or 90% in the NFL. By week 10 or so, everyone's a little dinged up. If you can only play well when you're 100%, you're not going to be of very much help.

I think we're all hoping this WR unit develops behind Adams into a really good position group. This was a good start. The Lions are beat up in the secondary, too, and not likely to put a strong set of DBs out there, but I don't expect the Packers to attack them the same way they did the Vikings who are really good at LB and S.

So long as Lazard and MVS can respond when called on, the Packers will be in good shape. The first test will come against a team with two really good CBs. The Packers won't see that until they play the Saints, but otherwise there's not a daunting CB group in the first 5 games.

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murf7777's picture

September 14, 2020 at 02:05 pm

I agree VOR he needs to improve, but and that is a big but, he is showing he can get open and create mismatches. Many young WR's have had their problems catching the ball and turned out to be very good WR's. As confidence grows that should improve.

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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

September 14, 2020 at 04:27 pm

TheVOR, do you forget that MVS is still young? Davante didn't break out until his third year in the league, and drops were an issue for him, too, as they were for Jordy and James Jones.

When targeting Lazard and Valdes-Scantling, Rodgers was 8/10 for 159 yards at almost 20 yards per catch with two touchdowns and a near-perfect passer rating of 153.8. And you are whining about a drive killer when our 2nd and 3rd WRs had that kind of production? Adams dropped a TD pass, and another one early in the game, too.

Give MVS a season more and then complain. His QB and the #1 WR thought he had a great game.

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Thegravedigger's picture

September 14, 2020 at 07:07 pm

Shiiit if i remember correctly jordy had a few drops in the superbowl. These dudes ate just so quick to hate. I loved watching rodgers hug mvs at the end of the game. People forget how young these guys are. Sometimes they need a lil encouragement from there superstar qb.

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CoachDino's picture

September 15, 2020 at 07:45 pm

That was a real show of leadership. Its counts that much more when we all know he doesn't coddle these rec so it has much more impact...Hope to see more of it as he goes on.

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Spock's picture

September 16, 2020 at 05:47 am

You're right gravedigger. I re-watched the 2010 season Superbowl just a few weeks ago and Jordy, at one time, had a stat line of 4 dropped passes in that game before pulling it together later. Good with the bad in that game for him, too.

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Guam's picture

September 14, 2020 at 05:42 pm

While I agree that the drop on the crossing pattern was ugly, MVS does not need to catch every ball thrown to him. If he catches one deep shot a game, he will fulfill his function at WR3. The Packers have long needed a deep threat that keeps safeties from cheating up and crowding the midfield or putting an extra safety in the box. MVS can be that threat as long as he hauls in just enough deep shots to make the defense try to keep a safety over the top of him. I was happy with yesterday's performance and will take that every game from WR3.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 14, 2020 at 09:15 pm

Right out of Walsh's playbook and he had wide open spaces ahead.

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ImaPayne's picture

September 14, 2020 at 09:37 pm

It's mental concentration and not hands. His brain is not concentrating on the situation at hand. The ball is faster then his mind.

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Bearmeat's picture

September 14, 2020 at 02:17 pm

A mostly good start. We'll see how it turns out. MVS was really uneven and those Vikings CBs aren't NFL caliber players (yet).

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splitpea1's picture

September 14, 2020 at 03:12 pm

Might be a similar situation vs. the Lions next time as they finished their game against the Bears without three of their CBs due to injury. I'd expect Davante to draw a lot of attention, so the rest of the WRs and TEs should get more opportunities.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

September 14, 2020 at 04:22 pm

The Pack has talent at WR and this game showed it. These WR's were drafted late or undrafted and needed time to develop. Just think....we didnt even get to see ESB. These guys are going to continue to develop and get steadily better.

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PF4L's picture

September 15, 2020 at 09:29 am

From one game against college corners?

I'm not so sure this is the wide receiver production we'll see every game.

But listen, i expected some people to come in here and say......"i told you they were fine at wr!!" lol
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Enjoy

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Packers2020's picture

September 14, 2020 at 05:49 pm

MVS did not shine.

He dropped two huge balls. One could have been another TD. That needs to change.

He was decent but not great.

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murf7777's picture

September 14, 2020 at 09:43 pm

Adams dropped a TD pass, in fact, all WR’s drop passes from time to time. I believe without looking up stats but a 75% catch rate is good. Give it time, I think he will be just fine with the potential to be explosive, which he actually showed in that game.

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Packers2020's picture

September 14, 2020 at 11:26 pm

Adams drop was contested and the CB was draped all over him.

MVS catches were both uncontested and were perfect throws. There is a difference there.

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CoachDino's picture

September 15, 2020 at 07:57 pm

Just for context we aren't talking about prime time #1 rec. in Lazard and MVS. We are talking about scheme fit #2 and #3 recs. 4$ catches for 60 yds in just fine. Plus keep in mind this offense is going to use TEs and RBs more than in the past. This of course lessens the plus #2/#3 rec talent needs even more.
IMO the question isn't do the Packers have Top flight #2 & #3 receivers, the question is do the Packers, in the scheme they play and the Elite QB they have, have #2 and #3 recs that are more than capable of doing the job. I'm confidant the answer is yes and have been. Do they have top flight #2/#3 recs. that answer is no but it does look as though they might just become that.

Now I;'m pleasantly surprised on the game MVS/Lazard had but as posted. It's just one game and against Rookies (high draft pick rookies). Valid point.

Now as fans can we agree that if the WRs can continue to produce and the RBs and TEs emerge as planned the packers have more than enough Weapons to win a SB?

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PF4L's picture

September 17, 2020 at 12:07 pm

Good outlook Dino....

With all due respect, for some reason going into every season, we're led to believe we'll have more tight end involvement. But we never see it.
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Going into this season...out of our 6 tight ends, collectively, they caught a total of 20 passes last season with Lewis catching 14 of them.
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If tight end is to be part of the offensive game plan, someone forgot to tell Gutey.
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IMO...tight ends are valued more as blockers in LeFleur's offense over pass catchers. Which would explain our 3rd round pick.

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Thegravedigger's picture

September 14, 2020 at 07:13 pm

Mvs has to get out of his own head and he will be fine. The two balls he dropped were the two balls he was very wide open on. On the 4 catches he had, he had defenders draped on him. In my (im not a psychologist) opinion, when he was covered and didnt have time to overthink he was just a guy reacting and playing ball. And on the crossing route he was so open he had a few seconds to doubt his abilities. Just throw the man the ball when he is open and he will get it. Most of the time.

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Wildcomet's picture

September 14, 2020 at 10:00 pm

I agree with this. I think he's thinking too much, whether it's about his route, coverages, whatever and it distracts from actually catching the ball sometimes. Get him in a situation where he's just reacting to the play and his hands seems fine. I think once he polishes his route running enough to do it consistently and naturally he could be a special player.

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Thegravedigger's picture

September 14, 2020 at 10:19 pm

And with his size and speed he will continue to get open against most cb3s in the nfl. And if he gets cb2 then lazard will get a nickel on him. Aslong as we block for rodg, this offense will continue to succeed. In an empty stadium with no noise in this weird season, would you rather have anyone other than aaron rogers making pre snap decisions?

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HankScorpio's picture

September 14, 2020 at 07:31 pm

Rodgers was unreal. Nearly every pass was right on the mark. Adams was as good as Rodgers. Even when the green as grass group of CBs the Vikings ran out there had him covered, he was still making plays. And that certainly was a green unit of CBs--Holton Hill and Mike Hughes are starting their 3rd year. Cameron Dantzler and Jeff Gladney are rooks. The only loss of sleep those guys give opponents is over the excitement of getting to play against them.

MVS and Lazard may never again see a game where success was laid out so easy for them to take,

Lotta season left. Let's see them both do it again. And then some more. And keep it up when the conditions are less favorable.

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Wildcomet's picture

September 14, 2020 at 09:44 pm

The catches will improve as the other parts of his game improve. There's something to be said for how having to think a lot about your routes and timing and reading coverages can distract from actually catching the ball for a young receiver if they weren't asked to do it much in the past. The more natural the rest of the game gets to him the more his catch rate will improve.

My biggest takeaways from the game about MVS were that he showed he could get open on routes that aren't go routes multiple times, and that he can mentally bounce back and make a play when the adversity comes. Both of those are gains from last year, and show he's on the right track.

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PAPackerbacker's picture

September 15, 2020 at 05:36 am

Lazard has very good hands and is a tough, physical receiver. His ability and determination to fight off defenders and catch the ball in tight coverage is tribute to his skills. Accompanied by the accuracy of Rodgers, this duo can score from anywhere on the field. MVS had a couple of drops but bounced back with some pretty good catches. Rodgers must have confidence in MVS to go back to him after he dropped those couple of passes. Looking forward to the rest of the season. Go! Pack! Go!

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LayingTheLawe's picture

September 15, 2020 at 02:14 pm

Before the game pundits were picking the Vikings to win the North because of their "elite" defense. Now after the game we are told not to get excited about 40 points because they didn't play anyone.

The key skill for a receiver is to get separation and present themselves as a target. I see MVS as someone like James Jones. He can make plays and can also make you tear your hair out.

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