Marquez Valdes-Scantling Hoping to Take His Game to the Next Level

Marquez Valdes-Scantling is starting his fourth NFL season in 2021 and the former South Florida star is at a crossroads in his career. In three years, he has proven he can use his speed to be a dangerous deep threat. But he has yet to find the consistency he needs to become a top-notch number two receiver in the NFL. This year at training camp, MVS has shown signs that he may be ready to take a big leap forward.

Last season was the best of Valdes-Scantling’s career so far. He led the league (among qualified receivers) with a 20.9-yard average per catch. He also scored six touchdowns, more than the four he caught in his first two NFL campaigns combined. He also had 690 receiving yards, a new career best.

Valdes-Scantling showed he was one of the league’s best deep threats. With his elite speed, he was able to beat almost any corner downfield to create big plays. Four of his six touchdowns were on long passes including scores of 45, 52, 72 and 78 yards.

But despite these accomplishments, MVS still struggled with consistency. His catch percentage was just 52.4 percent. While that was his career best, it was still a far cry from where you want a receiver to be. By comparison, Allen Lazard had a catch percentage of 71.7 percent while Davante Adams was at 77.2 percent. Running back Aaron Jones had a catch percentage of 74.3 percent while tight end Robert Tonyan had an impressive 88.1 percent catch percentage.

According to Pro-Football-Reference.com, Valdes-Scantling dropped seven passes last season or roughly one of every nine passes thrown his way. That was the second highest drop total out of all the receivers who were targeted at least 60 times in 2020. The Packers need to see more consistency and fewer drops from MVS if he is to become a more consistent pass catcher. He also needs to be more precise with his routes.

There were positive signs in the postseason. In the Packers two playoff games, Valdes-Scanting caught eight total passes and had 115 yards and a touchdown in the NFC Championship Game against the Buccaneers. The touchdown came on a 50-yard strike from Aaron Rodgers that tied the game at 7-7 early in the second quarter.

In training camp this season, MVS seems to be getting more consistent. Packers wide receivers coach Jason Vrable has been pleased with what MVS has done so far this summer.

“People were talking about that the other day,” Vrable told reporters. “They’re like, ‘Man, I almost feel like he hasn’t dropped a ball.’ We always keep track of drops, but with him, I think it’s just confidence in our system and confidence in himself.”

Vrable added, “He’s just really confident right now, he’s playing at a high level. He’s in attack mode at all times. Typically, when you’re confident, you trust yourself. Things just start going in the direction that you want and that’s what I see with him. He’s worked at a lot of things that he wanted to get better at as opposed to pushing those away. He’s bought into the saying, ‘Whatever my weakness was, I’m going to make it my strength,’ and he’s bought into that type of coaching. He’s done a great job. I’m really pleased with him.”

The Packers are hoping MVS takes his game to the next level this season. Many Packers fans may recall that Davante Adams also struggled early in his career. In his first two seasons, Adams had catch percentages of 57.6 and 53.2. He had issues with consistency, running precise routes and holding on to the football. Many fans were ready to right Adams off as a bust.

But in 2016, Adams’ catch percentage went up by nearly 10 percent over the previous season. He caught 75 passes for 997 yards and 12 touchdowns and established himself as one of the team’s best and most reliable pass catchers. A year later, he made the first of what are so far four straight Pro Bowl appearances.

Obviously, MVS may never become as consistent as Adams who is now considered by many to be the best receiver in the NFL. But if Valdes-Scantling can become more consistent while remaining a dangerous deep threat, he can take his game to another level and give the Packers a more dangerous weapon opposite Adams.

If Valdes-Scantling can become more consistent and add a set of short and medium patterns to his route tree, he can give the Packers a higher level WR2 opposite Adams and an even better receiving corps than the one they had in 2020. He can also take his own career to the next level and establish himself as a bona fide starting wide receiver in the NFL.

You can follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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8 points

Comments (48)

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

August 19, 2021 at 12:16 pm

Sounds like MVS is being well coached and is determined to increase his skill set. Encouraging that his strong second half and playoff performances have carried over to Training Camp.

7 points
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Since'61's picture

August 19, 2021 at 02:00 pm

Sounds like he is in a contract year! Thanks, Since '61

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Leatherhead's picture

August 19, 2021 at 12:19 pm

He is what he is. When he’s on the field you have to respect his ability to get open deep, and you know damn well that the QB can get it to him. And it’s hard to double him because you’re already doubling Adams. Plus you still have Jones, Lazard, Tonyan, etc.

MVS has everything in place to do a lot of damage this year….and set himself up for a big payday.

11 points
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Bure9620's picture

August 19, 2021 at 04:46 pm

Agree he is what he is now in year 4. He can certainly stretch a defense. I don't see MVS becoming this intermediate possession guy that catches everything. He is boom bust. But frankly, MVS has outperformed his draft position, lets not forget he was a 5th round pick.

6 points
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CoachDino's picture

August 19, 2021 at 06:32 pm

Great point on his draft position, I'm very hopeful that he can become a possession rec. when needed and he flashed it last year. With his speed and how CB have to play off him and always worry about double moves he can get away with avg route running, unlike DA who has that skill at 100. Drops will be key though, so we will have to see.

1 points
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stockholder's picture

August 19, 2021 at 12:22 pm

I don't believe you need to point to anything. I'd sign him before Adams. He's making the jump. Underrated!!

1 points
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Packer_Fan's picture

August 19, 2021 at 12:27 pm

I called this in the spring. Although he dropped one today in practice. He will be extremely hard to cover. He will open up the passing game. Just need to see Amari Rodgers be more consistent. The Packers have a real opportunity to have a monster offense. And if Stokes comes around, a very good defense.

2 points
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porupack's picture

August 19, 2021 at 12:37 pm

Leatherhead, not sure what you suggest "he is what he is". Everyone is at the same time "who they are", but also are ascending or declining. The whole point from Gil is that there is evidence he is ascending, and he indicated a very strong will to ascend further, and coaches think he's ascending, and finally, Gil concludes if he ascends, that moves him into the elite receivers. Other than that, we are who we are. So was Devante, Rodgers, AJones, Alexander, Clark, Tonyan, Baktiari. I don't think we're disagreeing, as you also seem to say that he can break out this year if teams double team Adams, in other words, he should be a worthy WR2?

3 points
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Leatherhead's picture

August 19, 2021 at 03:35 pm

MVS is a tall guy who can run fast. He’s a threat. But if you think he’s not going to drop a TD or two…..that’s not who he is.

I think WR #2 is an archaic concept. I like the committee approach at that position, because on 90% of our plays they either block or run a decoy pattern. In MVS case, that means not letting him behind you. So even if it’s a pass to somebody else, he’s still doing his job.

He has shown the ability to get behind people. He’ll do that. And he’ll force teams to respect him. We have so many weapons that we don’t need to target him that much, so I don’t see him catching 80 passes, but he will keep those safeties from getting too close.

5 points
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Bure9620's picture

August 19, 2021 at 04:52 pm

I don't understand the concept of a "#2 receiver" either. I think the only reason this is a topic is because we have a true bona fide #1 target. Really, the second option or 2nd read in the progression will really depend, could be Tonyan, Jones, Deguara, Lazard, MVS or a combination.
Or a "slot" guy as some many love to categorize that position....(even if we are base 12 personnel, in which case there is no slot receiver)

2 points
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CoachDino's picture

August 19, 2021 at 06:35 pm

Great point. Iw onder as well as to exactly what #2 means. 2nd threat? 2nd option? 2nd best WR? combination of these and more most likely. But to your points, a #2 option or threat might not even be a WR.

1 points
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Matt Gonzales's picture

August 20, 2021 at 08:45 am

"But to your points, a #2 option or threat might not even be a WR."

Bingo. The Packers have a lot of plays where that second read may be a TE or RB in the flat.

MVS seemed to be putting it together in 2020 and really trying to improve his game. If he can show he can be relied on for short and intermediate routes it really bodes well for our team as it not only makes him more versatile, but also forces defenses to adjust how they cover him.

1 points
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PatrickGB's picture

August 21, 2021 at 08:53 am

I think that the term #2 began with the statistical term as to the number of catches on a team. And then it referred to the second “best” WR. As teams and schemes evolved that term means less.

0 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

August 19, 2021 at 08:31 pm

PAC-Man vs Pokemon

-1 points
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porupack's picture

August 19, 2021 at 09:17 pm

Thanks Leather, agreed. He has that critical role to fill, even if he doesn't improve, he'll force defenses to cover more field. But if MVS does improve his catch rate, as Gil points out the similar trajectory for Davante, then, it would seem that he gets far more snaps, even if that isn't what we would used to think of the WR #2. I would venture to say that it could still ring true, that the WR that has the second most snap counts, is the WR #2 regardless of actual snap counts and regardless that GB has a committee approach. Most snap counts, is the #1. The send most, is the WR#2.

1 points
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murf7777's picture

August 19, 2021 at 06:06 pm

I understand what LH is saying “he is who he is” and that is a tall speed back. Elite, I don’t think so because he’s not athletic enough or have the foot work which go hand in hand in some ways. After Adams 2nd year when many were writing him off I stated that I thought Adams was one of or the most athletic person on our team and I could see him having an outstanding career. MVS will never be to that level because he isn’t athletic enough. He can become better but not elite. He can try all he wants, but I just don’t see, “he is who he is”IMO.

1 points
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Vforrest's picture

August 19, 2021 at 12:49 pm

I know MAYBE, it’s like asking Mrs Lincoln other than the gun shot thing how was the play…if he just catches what he’s supposed to he’ll be awesome.

3 points
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CoachDino's picture

August 19, 2021 at 06:38 pm

i hear ya but 100% of what he is "supposed" to is unrealistic. DA is considered the best in the game at what is he at? was it 75% or 77%.

3 points
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scullyitsme's picture

August 19, 2021 at 12:56 pm

Can’t stand it when people compare mvs to Adams early troubles. There are not even close to being the same. Adams had the tools talents and gifts, just some drops, mostly mental. Mvs has speed, but he up to this point is a one, maybe two. trick pony. That’s the deep ball and some sort of short crosser.. I’d love to see mvs take a jump, at 33 catches and 52% catch rate, he really shouldn’t get worse. He’s set a low bar so far.

4 points
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Coldworld's picture

August 19, 2021 at 07:08 pm

Having watched Adams and been one of the few that backed him, I don’t think you could be further from the truth. Adams is a different type Of Athlete but his problems were very similar.

As Adams has acknowledged. Adams deserves a lot of credit for improving himself and his dedication. Interestingly Adams has noted the same dedication in MVS.

3 points
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porupack's picture

August 19, 2021 at 09:24 pm

I disagree completely with people making such emphatic declarations. I see people rise to great heights despite crowds who see what's only on the surface, and or a short window. As an employer, lots of folk's careers would end needlessly, without patience and systems around to develop skill sets, confidence and smarts. One trick pony??? That's such a lame assessment. P is for potential. Tap it. Be patient. Good coaches do. Fans just yell.

1 points
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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

August 19, 2021 at 10:06 pm

I have to disagree. Adams routes needed work. Sometimes he stopped when he shouldn't have. His hands needed work and are still only average. But he put in the work on the routes and especially on his release. Very similar.

1 points
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scullyitsme's picture

August 20, 2021 at 01:10 pm

His release? Adams had then and now the best release in the game. Mentioning mvs with Adams in the same sentence is just not ok . But I’ll never convince anyone on this blog. That much seems to be true. Doesn’t change the facts, stats, and the eye test.

-1 points
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Pistolero's picture

August 19, 2021 at 01:06 pm

Like Adams, MVS is a good example of why you don't listen to fans when making personnel decisions. Adams wouldn't even be on this team if fans had their way. MVS was the only receiver to show up in the NFCCG and caught every ball thrown his way in that game. Now by all accounts he is following it up with the best training camp to date. Time for fans to get on board with him or STFU IMO.

3 points
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Since'61's picture

August 19, 2021 at 02:15 pm

Actually MVS caught 8 passes out of 14 targets for a 57% catch ratio. Slightly higher than his 52% ratio for the season. Thanks, Since '61

3 points
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Pistolero's picture

August 19, 2021 at 05:51 pm

None of the 6 incompletions were catchable balls and none of them were drops.

0 points
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Dr.Rodgers's picture

August 19, 2021 at 03:27 pm

Like you don’t have a fan opinion?

1 points
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Pistolero's picture

August 19, 2021 at 06:01 pm

Yup, and it means as little to management as yours and every other fan's. Thank goodness.

0 points
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DTowleJr's picture

August 19, 2021 at 01:13 pm

The Wide Receiver room has a lot of talent in it. Unfortunately, some of that talent is going to have to be let go. Packers will carry at least 5 on the 53-man roster and perhaps as many as 7, but that's not a guarantee. The lower echelon WRs are going to have to have other talents besides route running (Special Teams, punt/kick returns). Can't predict who ascends to the Practice Squad, Gutekunst could sign other team's cast-offs.

LOCKS:
Davante Adams
Randall Cobb
Marquez Valdes-Scantling
Allen Lazard
Amari Rodgers

MAYBE'S:
Devin Funchess
Juwann Winfree
Equanimeous St. Brown
Malik Taylor

1 points
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Hematite's picture

August 19, 2021 at 03:00 pm

With Funchess hurt again, I can't help but think that he is good as gone.

1 points
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GatorJason's picture

August 19, 2021 at 10:01 pm

Adams: 14 TD, 1300 yards, 110 catches
MVS: 6 TD, 850 yards, 45 catches
Lazard: 5 TD, 500 yards, 40 catches
Funchess: 4 TD, 500 yards, 40 catches
Cobb: 5 TD, 500 yards, 40 catches
Rodgers: 3 TD, 250 yards, 25 catches
-------------------------------------------------
PS Call Ups:
Winfree: 2 TD, 150 yards, 10 catches
Taylor: 0 TD, 75 yards, 5 catches

WR Corps:
39 TD, 4125 yards, 315 catches

Ideally Packers trade Funchess who is a legitimate #2/#3.
He takes away looks to Lazard and TE's (other big receivers).
Packers would like to get a 6th to offset pick for Cobb.

2 points
2
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Alberta_Packer's picture

August 19, 2021 at 02:20 pm

I would project MVS as a 1,000 yd. receiver. The question is whether he will be sufficiently targeted - given Adams and others. I also think that he will have his best season - which should prompt the FO to offer him a contract extension (before he actually does). In fact, I would prioritize his signing before Adams because - a) he will be more affordable - b) Adams will be too expensive and probably follow Rodgers out of Green Bay, and c) the Packers have no veteran WRs contracted after this year.

-1 points
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packerbackerjim's picture

August 19, 2021 at 04:39 pm

My suspicion is Gute will make his decision whether Adam’s or MVS gets signed will take place late in the season. Production, and hopefully not injury, will be the determining factor.

2 points
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CoachDino's picture

August 19, 2021 at 06:44 pm

I'm hoping its not one or the other. If they let Adams walk they will still need a #1 WR. They don't have one on the Roster even in development stage. EQS, LAzard, Funchess, Amari are not, IMO #1 WR talents. Things is if you don't pay 27M to Adams you can still sign a Great #1 for 20M or so and use the extra to sign MVS if he takes that big of a leap in Market Value. Allen Robinson anyone?

2 points
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Alberta_Packer's picture

August 19, 2021 at 07:06 pm

I would not go more than 20M for Adams - despite what he think he's worth. In fact, I would look at other receivers at 15-16M/ yr. - like a Thielen, Cooks, Robinson etc. + extend MVS + extend Big Bob Tonyan.

0 points
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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

August 19, 2021 at 10:12 pm

I, myself, suggested $22M or $24M in a pinch depending on structure. But he clearly is worth more than the $20M guys like Amari Cooper got and as much or more than Keenan Allen.

$20M translates simply to "let him walk." That's not unreasonable or a terrible take, just more honest. In terms of overall team roster construction for 2022, I agree with you that it is hard to imagine Adams as part of the team.

2 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

August 19, 2021 at 08:52 pm

Just draft a guy with the 2022 # one pick and move UP if you have to. There is only one guyworth the big bucks and he is the trigger man.

2 points
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BradHTX's picture

August 19, 2021 at 01:44 pm

I agree that MVS is on the verge of a big jump. I remember reading he spent a lot of the off season working on his route running to be more than just the out/post “one trick pony” some accuse him of being.

I also think it’s somewhat disingenuous to compare his completion percentage to Adams and Lazard/Tonyan. Adams is the best in the game, Lazard is a possession WR (ie, mostly easy catches) and Tonyan as a TE is much the same. Deep threat receivers always have a lower catch percentage because the throws are more challenging. If MVS can clean up a few of the mental drops, I think he becomes an extremely valuable commodity.

One that’s probably worth signing over Adams in the coming cap purge after this season, unfortunately.

1 points
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porupack's picture

August 19, 2021 at 09:30 pm

Excellent, BHTX

2 points
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porupack's picture

August 19, 2021 at 09:30 pm

Excellent, BHTX

1 points
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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

August 19, 2021 at 10:13 pm

MVS is worth keeping. All that misdirection and underneath stuff is dependent in considerable part to MVS and the deep threat.

2 points
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jont's picture

August 19, 2021 at 02:00 pm

It's encouraging that Vrable says he sees good confidence in MVS. I remember last year when 12 said MVS was lacking confidence, that this was the only thing holding him back.

Let's hope this is so. While it would be great to have a dynamic #2 WR to threaten a defense on every down, GB already has an excellent passing game, and improvements across WR's 2-5, even small ones, will open up too many options for a defense to cover.

2 points
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Packers0808's picture

August 19, 2021 at 04:05 pm

It is really hilarious about 2 seasons ago we had to really draft about 500 WR's each draft! Today we are wondering and worrying who is going to be on the team, cut or make how many
catches! As it goes.........................! I think we have a good number of WRs to choose from!

3 points
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Since'61's picture

August 19, 2021 at 02:19 pm

If MVS can improve his catch ratio he could become a significant factor on the Packers offense. The concern is, until he proves himself, is when the drops happen. If they still occur nd occur on 3rd downs those are drive killers and/or TD killers. If can become a reliable receiver, like Cobb on 3rd downs, and combined with Adams, MVS could be deadly in MLFs offense. Thanks, Since '61

2 points
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murf7777's picture

August 19, 2021 at 06:21 pm

61’ thats a big if. I really don’t see MVS becoming a 3rd down clutch WR. That’s because I don’t think he is athletic enough to consistently get open for much of the route tree. To be clutch, you must get open first. If he can just improve his catch rate 5 - 10 points and do what he does now for the team he has good value. I think he stays being a one or two trick pony and that’s not all bad due to his height and speed. He will still be paid handsomely if he just does that and develops one other route, like the slant.

1 points
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Grandfathered's picture

August 19, 2021 at 09:07 pm

That would be nice. I wonder if haw many targets Cobb will take away from Lazard and MVS. It would be interesting to see people's predictions on the numbero f Cobb catches in 2021.;

1 points
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mbpacker's picture

August 19, 2021 at 05:04 pm

Can someone pass me the mustard for my brat? It is what it is.

3 points
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PatrickGB's picture

August 21, 2021 at 08:59 am

MVS is simply another tool in the toolbox. A good team will use the strengths of a player in its scheme. It makes it harder to game plan for a defense. Matt likes to mixup his scheme and stress the defense.

0 points
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