GREEN BAY, Wis. – Take the good, take the bad, take both and here are the preseason facts for Romeo Dubs.
Just like his preseason debut last week in San Francisco, the promising Green Bay Packers 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 said Tuesday that players who drop too many passes “just aren’t going to be there” with the No. 1 offense when the Minnesota Vikings start the season in about three weeks, the reality is likely more complicated.
Through 17 practices and two games, the Dubs have thrown more passes than anyone else on the roster. He also made more big plays because he created more separation than any of the receivers. Yes, he’s missed some opportunities, but he has more power than the veteran receivers Rodgers can count on.
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“I think Romeo is a guy we have a lot of confidence in, and he’s certainly made some big plays,” coach Matt Lafleur said of the fourth-round pick, who has scored 20 touchdowns in his last two seasons at Nevada.
“You see a guy with really good legs. He got really good at his transition. He has an outburst. He was able to separate, which is something that is hard to coach. Guys can either do it or not. He’s certainly got some cleaning to do, but he’s a guy we’re excited about. We’ll see where we are Week 1.”
After two downs, Dubs made an impressive touchdown catch over fourth-year cornerback Brian Allen. This ability to create a bad play in the rearview mirror is a key trait for any receiver.
“There will be some lessons along the way,” LaFleur said. “He’s a guy who’s pretty resilient. He’s not fazed by negative play. He just keeps playing. That’s what excites you about it.”
How can you not let a bad game get you excited — especially in light of Rodgers calling him up a few days earlier?
“You just have to be strong mentally,” he said. “You get games like that from the greatest players to the mediocre, you’re going to have games like that come and go.”
On third-and-3 on the opening drive, Dub was open for what would have been a big gain. The Dubs expected an inbounds throw, but quarterback Jordan Love threw it wide. Dubs adjusted late but the ball went through his hands.
“I beat DB too fast,” Dubs explained. “Looking at the pictures, 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 a safety without being able to have a chance to make a play on it. What happened there happened there. I tried to do my part, he did his, and somehow, someway, we didn’t end up where we wanted. It’s just a next game mentality. Just keep playing the game.
Said Love: “Maybe I just threw it out too much. But it was one of those 50/50 balls where you try to give him a chance and we couldn’t do it.”
A few plays later, Dubs was jacked by a crossing guard, stayed on his feet, but threw another pass. Moments later, after a 15-yard run by Tyler Goodson to the 4, the Dubs lined up down the left. Love saw the coverage and Dub expected the ball to go to him. Doubs jumped up, then jumped into the seats.
“I felt pretty good for my first Lambeau Leap,” he said. “Hopefully I’ll get more on this journey of football.”
That’s a given. While he’s not fast on the clock, Dubs has the extra gear that has put him behind the secondary in May’s routine OTA meetings. Given the unsettled state of the receiving corps — there’s no clear pecking order behind Allen Lazard — the Packers will need Dubs’ big plays, even if they have to deal with some big drops.
“It’s just getting better every day, man,” Dubs said of the week against the Saints. “You accumulate days. You learn from what you did wrong. I’m really just studying and arranging days. For example, if I do a good thing, it’s a recording of a recording for the other people in the room. The next day, if the game is bad, more teaching, more videos. It’s just a learning process.”
Romeo Doubs extra points
After the touchdown, Dubs made a “turf angel” in the end zone.
“Yeah, I definitely sat there for a second [to enjoy the moment]. But, again, it’s just a ball game and fun.”
Love, on Doubs tackles the highs and lows:
“I think that comes with being a rookie. It won’t be perfect. You will have ups and downs. But Romeo, I think he’s really hard on himself. When he’s not playing, he knows what he has to do and takes it on himself. I think it’s easy for him to be there with Aaron and understand what he’s trying to get out of him. There are ups and downs. It’s never a perfect game. But I think he’s doing a really good job so far.”