GREEN BAY, Wis. – You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have the facts of Romeo Doubs’ preseason.
Just like last week’s preseason debut at San Francisco, the Green Bay Packers’ promising rookie receiver dropped two passes but also scored an impressive touchdown during Friday night’s 20-10 victory over the New Orleans Saints.
While quarterback Aaron Rodgers on Tuesday said players who drop too many passes “just won’t be out there” with the No. 1 offense when the season kicks off at the Minnesota Vikings in about three weeks, the reality is probably more complicated.
Through the course of 17 practices and two games, Doubs has dropped more passes than anyone on the roster. He’s also made more big plays because he creates more separation than any of the receivers. Yes, he’s missed some opportunities but he’s got more juice than the veteran receivers who Rodgers might rather lean on.
Scroll to Continue
“I think Romeo’s a guy we’ve got a lot of confidence in, and certainly he made some big plays,” coach Matt LaFleur said of the fourth-round pick who scored 20 touchdowns during his final two seasons at Nevada.
“You see a guy with really good feet. He’s gotten really good in his transition. He’s got a burst. He’s been able to separate, which is something that’s tough to coach. Guys can either do it or they can’t. There’s stuff to clean up, for sure, but he’s a guy that we’re excited about. We’ll see where we are Week 1.”
After two drops, Doubs made an impressive, leaping touchdown catch over fourth-year cornerback Brian Allen. That ability to put a bad play in the rear-view mirror is a key trait for any receiver.
“There’s going to be some lessons along the way,” LaFleur said. “He’s a guy who is pretty resilient. He doesn’t get fazed by a negative play. He just keeps on playing. That’s what excites you about him.”
How do you not let one bad play fester – especially in light of being called out by Rodgers a few days earlier?
“You’ve just got to be strong mentally,” he said. “You get plays like that from the greatest players to the mediocre ones, you’re going to have plays like that that are going to come and go.”
On third-and-3 in the opening series, Doubs was open for what would have been a big gain. Doubs expected a throw to the inside but quarterback Jordan Love threw it to the outside. Doubts adjusted late but the ball went through his hands.
“I beat the DB too fast,” Doubs explained. “From looking at the photos, the safety was on the right hash, which was my side of the field. The way he threw the ball, he threw the ball as in the safety not being able to have a chance to make a play on it. Whatever happened there, happened there. I tried to do my part, he did his part, and somehow, some way, we didn’t come to where we wanted. It’s just next-play mentality. Just continue to play the game.”
Said Love: “I might’ve just thrown it a little too much outside. But it was one of those 50/50 balls that you try to give him a chance on it and we didn’t make a play on it.”
A couple series later, Doubs was jacked by a defender on a crossing route, stayed on his feet but dropped another pass. Moments later, after a 15-yard run by Tyler Goodson to the 4, Doubs lined up to the left side. Love saw the coverage and Doubs expected the ball to come his way. Doubs made a leaping grab, then leaped into the seats.
“It felt pretty good for my first Lambeau Leap,” he said. “Hopefully, I get more coming throughout this journey of football.”
That’s a given. While not stopwatch fast, Doubs has an extra gear that has put him behind the secondary routinely dating to OTAs in May. Given the unsettled state of the receiver corps – there’s no clear-cut pecking order behind Allen Lazard – the Packers are going to need Doubs’ big plays, even if they have to deal with some big drops.
“It’s just getting better throughout the days, man,” Doubs said of the week against the Saints. “You stack days. You learn from what you did bad. I really harp on just learning and stacking days. For example, if I do well, it’s a teaching tape for the rest of the people in the room. The next day, if it’s a bad play, more teaching, more clips. It’s just a learning process.”
Romeo Doubts Extra Points
After the touchdown, Doubs did a “grass angel” in the end zone.
“Yeah, I definitely sat there for a second [to enjoy the moment]. But, again, it’s just playing ball and having fun.”
Love, on Doubts handling the ups and downs:
“I think it comes with being a rookie. It’s not going to be perfect. You’re going to have ups and downs. But Romeo, I think he’s really hard on himself. When he doesn’t make a play, he knows what he needs to do and he takes it out on himself. I think it’s easy for him to be there with Aaron and understand what Aaron’s trying to get out of him. It’s ups and downs. It’s not a perfect game ever. But I think he’s been doing a really good job so far.”