Marquez Valdes-Scantling Continues to Stack Success

As Marquez Valdes-Scantling looks to become a more consistent player, he continues to stack success with each passing practice. 

Internal development. After an offseason with little roster turnover, that's what the Green Bay Packers are banking on this season if they hope to get to the next level. And this rings especially true when it comes to the wide receiver position. 

I don't need to go into great detail because it's been discussed ad nauseam up to this point, but the receiver unit in 2019 as a whole was quite underwhelming. Heading into this season, we all know how good Davante Adams is, and Allen Lazard looks poised to take over that WR2 role. After those two, with the likes of Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Equanimeous St. Brown, Jake Kumerow, Reggie Begelton, and Darrius Shepherd, to name a few, there are a lot of snaps up for grabs.

But of that group, it is Valdes-Scantling who can provide this Green Bay Packers' offense with the biggest boost since he is the one true deep threat that this team has.

We all know how the 2019 season ended with Valdes-Scantling's snap count and production falling off a cliff, but what's forgotten is that he was a real contributor through the first seven weeks of the season. During that stretch, Valdes-Scantling hauled in 21 receptions, averaging nearly 20 yards per catch with two touchdowns. This included a 99-yard performance against Denver, a 133 yard game against Oakland, and a 47-yard reception Week 1 against Chicago that led to the only touchdown of the game. 

However, that dip in production that we saw in 2019 from Valdes-Scantling, we also saw in 2018. After posting 249 total yards over three games from Weeks 6 through 9 that season - including two games of over 100 yards - Valdes-Scantling would record just 223 total yards over the next eight games. 

Just before training camp began, when asked about what went wrong last season, Matt LaFleur would mention that Valdes-Scantling would lose some confidence as the year went on and that he was also battling a lingering ankle injury as well. But in terms of what Valdes-Scantling really needs to improve upon to reach that next level, as LaFleur puts it, he needs to be consistent day in and day out (via Packers Wire): 

“I’ve seen him stack two great practices back to back,” said LaFleur. “That’s the challenge to him on a daily basis. He has to go out there and do it. I know he has the physical ability. He’s got great speed, and he can really scare a defense. But he has to be consistent with it. I’ve been proud of his effort but we’re going to continue to challenge him, try and put him in more and more positions to make plays for us.”

In addition to being a more consistent player, through his first two seasons, Valdes-Scantling has been a one-trick pony. Now, it's a heck of a trick, but to further help this Packer offense, he needs to become more of a threat on intermediate routes, instead of just being a big-play threat. According to Pro Football Focus, on throws between 10 and 20 yards over Valdes-Scantling's first two seasons, on 20 targets, he's made only 10 receptions, totaling 158 yards with no touchdowns, and he has a passer rating of just 71.9 when targeted in this part of the field. 

As training camp continued to unfold, one of Valdes-Scantling's biggest challenges came from Aaron Rodgers, who wanted to see the young receiver set new standards each and every day (via Packers Wire):

“The biggest challenge for MVS is always going to be himself. It’s the fight against complacency and to make the last couple of days of practice his standard. That’s what I said to him, that’s what Matt said to him,” said Rodgers. “His top end is pretty damn high top end, his potential, but it’s about being a professional all the time.”

With each training camp, it's always easy to overreact - either positively or negatively - to the play on the practice field. But with Valdes-Scantling's past ups and downs in mind, many - including myself - were trying to temper those expectations. However, it's time to give credit where credit is due, as he has put together an excellent training camp. 

If you follow the Packers' beat writers on Twitter, they've been keeping us well informed on what is taking place at each practice, and Valdes-Scantling's name is one that we consistently see making plays. Andy Herman of Packer Report has been at just about every practice so far, and in a recent article, he summed up Valdes-Scantling's play up to this point:

"But so far this training camp MVS has been a picture of consistency, and has caught just about everything thrown his way. During Sunday’s scrimmage, he caught three separate passes from Rodgers, all resulting in first downs. On one specific play, he beat King inside, King held him, and he still was able to snag the catch and move the chains.

It’s those types of plays that can make Valdes-Scantling a true overall receiver, and not just a speed threat that teams need to pay attention to from time-to-time. And so far, Valdes-Scantling’s routes have been better, his hands have been stronger, and he’s significantly limited the mistakes and errors."

As I mentioned above, Valdes-Scantling is the Packers' best deep threat option, and he is going to have plenty of opportunities to make plays downfield this season. But it's his improvement as a route runner and on the intermediate routes that will make him a better all-around receiver. Along with Andy Herman, this part of Valdes-Scantling's game is what has stuck out to Wes Hodkiewicz of Packers.com as well:

"Through 12 practices, Valdes-Scantling established himself as more than just a downfield threat. The third-year receiver played a huge role in the offense moving the sticks Sunday, running crisp routes to the sideline in converting multiple third- and fourth-down situations."

For this Green Bay Packers' offense to be at their best in 2020, as Matt LaFleur said, "we need him (Valdes-Scantling) to be a consistent performer for us." This means both as a deep threat and also in the 10 to 20-yard range. 

Ultimately, what matters is if these performances in practice from Valdes-Scantling can translate on to the field on Sundays, but you have to be encouraged by what we've seen through the first few weeks of camp. As many wonder where Green Bay's production at the receiver position is going to come from this season, don't forget about Marquez Valdes-Scantling. 

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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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5 points

Comments (19)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
murf7777's picture

August 31, 2020 at 12:37 pm

Can MVS become a better route runner? Can he become consistent? Can Rodgers timing with him improve? If those three question become yes, watch out, there will be no need to bring in another WR because very good production will come from Adams, Lazard’s and MVS. Add in some gadget plays from Ervin and our perceived problem becomes our advantage. Who knows but MVS is in year 3 and many times Said year is when WR potential becomes reality. Stay healthy MVS and show us what u got!

7 points
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Rick1's picture

August 31, 2020 at 12:45 pm

MVS is got game changing abilities. If his confidence stays high the sky is the limit. The coaches have to be excited that he is preforming this well. This changes how the scheme is viewed his speed and Adams being elite opens up everyone’s game.

5 points
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Coldworld's picture

August 31, 2020 at 12:57 pm

MVS came in as a one dimensional speedster who has had been asked to do little more than use his size and speed alone. That’s why he fell as a 6’5 player able to run 4.3s.

His hands and attitude weren’t questioned, his lack of route and other skills were and his aptitude was unknown. If he has now mastered such concepts, he will start to become a true receiver. That will slow the game down and also make opponents unable to assume he is there to go deep on a slow developing play.

If MVS really has come on as some suggest, he has the potential to be a number one down the road and a huge draft steal. Let’s hope it materializes on game day.

A versatile speedster will likely open space for other receivers too, as Rick says above. Could this open the door for a true slot like Shepherd too? If MVS isn’t a one trick pony, can do more out of the middle with pass catchers, TE as well as WRs will find more space and confusion. A rapid elusive slot would be an obvious beneficiary. Would be a huge win win.

4 points
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Bure9620's picture

August 31, 2020 at 09:33 pm

I doubt MVS ever becomes a true 1, however that would be great and I am rooting for him. It sounds like his route running and in particular intermediate routes have improved. We need some 3rd down chain movers so Rodgers is not forcing it to Adams. Lazard was becoming one, as he made some huge 3rd down catches down the stretch. I am also wondering how much MVS is used in The run game as a gimiky player on Jets sweeps and end arounds. Or, used a decoy. This offense could be quite interesting this year.

-2 points
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jeremyjjbrown's picture

August 31, 2020 at 03:18 pm

Look at how far Adams has come on route running...

Several seasons ago folks wanted Adams cut. Now Chad Ochocinco is crying over his tape.

Let's have some patience with MVS.

3 points
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NickPerry's picture

September 01, 2020 at 04:36 am

LOL...I'll bet the "thumbs down" you received were from 2 of those who wanted Adams cut.

1 points
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Bure9620's picture

September 01, 2020 at 05:18 am

Likely true, same people saying "all the WR suck"

-1 points
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stockholder's picture

September 01, 2020 at 06:44 am

Adams worked hard. It was obvious he wanted the ball. I hope he continues to want it. His route running is terrific now. The ball placement by #12 was needed. I believe MVS can do the same. IMO we judge a WR to much on Punt Return ability. The better the route runner. The better the WR.

-1 points
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Bearmeat's picture

August 31, 2020 at 04:02 pm

Man, this would be HUGE for the offense. Lazard is a nice 3, but he's a complementary piece. In today's NFL, you need at least two WRs that threaten defenses at several levels. I really hope MVS keeps it up. Day 3 picks usually don't become competent starters, so whenever they do, it's a real boon for the drafting team.

3 points
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mnbadger's picture

August 31, 2020 at 05:27 pm

Is it just me or has this article already been written, possibly numerous times, by various CHTV reporters this off-season? I'm definitely ready for roster finalization and some real football! GPG

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

August 31, 2020 at 07:35 pm

It probably has, but MVS shined in his biggest test which came in the Sunday Scrimmage, which probably will be the most important data used in deciding which players to keep.

The prior descriptions of MVS have been guarded though hopeful. Reading the quotes from media guys who've seen MVS play and from the coaches, the language is becoming more confident, and more enthusiastic.

It is developing news, IMO. Not unlike reporting movement in the political polls. No one will know anything for sure until the games are played and whenever they can finish counting the ballots in my example, but it seems newsworthy to me. Especially since I am not the biggest fan of Lazard.

3 points
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Tundraboy's picture

August 31, 2020 at 07:48 pm

Totally agree and cautiously excited. No doubt in my mind that its the ability ,even for a deep threat, to make any catch anywhere and be deadly , that transforms the offense. When a team has that player, it can be a back breaker at some point in any game. We need that. Throw in Lazard and Adams, the RBs,and just one of the TEs and we could be better than 2011. Can't wait to see this team evolve this year.

0 points
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mrj007's picture

August 31, 2020 at 08:45 pm

Hey- let’s stop using the word “boon”..... All this talk about players crushing it in practice is just so tiresome. Almost always the players and team doesn’t live to the hype of pre-season articles. Everyone will know when that first game is played -and NOT before. Opening day can’t come soon enough!

2 points
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NoNonsense's picture

August 31, 2020 at 08:52 pm

I wanna hear from some of these commenters who said MVS was just a 1 trick pony and didnt have great college production so he couldnt possibly learn or improve on the weaker areas of his game. "Hes tall and fast, that's it."

Im sure they will say they need to see it in games, not just in practice and I agree with that but just be prepared to eat some crow because it looks and sounds like the guy has really improved in a lot of areas. Good health will be crucial but so far he looks to be on his way to being a more complete WR in his 3rd year. Typically the year in which good WRs truly breakout.

1 points
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13TimeChamps's picture

September 01, 2020 at 11:36 am

I was one of those commenters, and up until now he's been "tall and fast, that's it".

I, for one, would love to eat some crow on this. But I've been following football for too long to get excited over anything that takes place in practice. We'll find out soon enough. Good luck to him.

1 points
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Dzehren's picture

August 31, 2020 at 09:20 pm

GB is desperate for a WR to emerge. Hopefully MVS is said man. MVS has flashed some ability but no consistent play.

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JohnnyLogan's picture

August 31, 2020 at 10:45 pm

Shepherd, EQ, and the Begel may all be better than MVS. He'll start the season as the #3 receiver but I think the leash is short. Rodgers will decide after a game or two whether there's really any change in MVS. Just hope they don't stretch it out like they did with Allison.

-3 points
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dobber's picture

September 01, 2020 at 08:01 am

MVS is just an enigmatic guy...came in as a rookie and looked like a contributor early on, but faded badly. OK. Rookie wall, nicks and such. Year two has a couple decent games, but falls off the radar again. Bad ankle? Nagging injury? In the NFL, if you can't produce if you're not 100%, you're not very useful. There are parts here that just don't add up in a positive way. We also need to not assume that just because a guy is fast, that he is well-suited to run jets and the like.

I don't deny that MVS could evolve into a good NFL WR. Billy Schroeder was a similar size-speed guy out of UW-LaX. Needed a lot of work, but eventually became a 1000-yard WR with Brett Favre chucking him the ball. Was he ever a good route runner? No. He had a limited number of tricks in his bag, but he learned to do them pretty well. I think that's the key with MVS: he needs to master a few things--and the coaches need to use him in a way that emphasizes those things--while the other parts come along. With how fast the Packers chucked Alvis Whitted after the season, you can't help but wonder if the WR room was at a coaching disadvantage.

As much as anything else, MVS needs to figure out how to be someone who's still relevant on Dec. 1.

2 points
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Branden Burke's picture

September 01, 2020 at 08:55 pm

I would love for MVS to become a consistent part of the offense for a long time. I don't think he has the mettle to do it.

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