It’s safe to say that there’s no position facing more scrutiny in the NFL heading into 2022 than the Green Bay Packers’ wide receivers. With the offseason departure of Davante Adams, the Green Bay Packers won’t have a proven top-tier wide receiver. It will be a first for quarterback Aaron Rodgers. He was blessed with Adams, Jordy Nelson, Greg Jennings and Donald Driver during his career. But as 2022 approaches, the post raises many questions. It will be up to wide receivers coach Jason Vrable to make sure the Green Bay Packers wide receivers are up for the challenge.
Jason Vrable Key to Green Bay Packers Wide Receivers Room
Jason Vrable is entering his fourth season as receivers coach for the Green Bay Packers. He replaced former Green Bay Packers wide receiver coach Alvis Whitted in 2020. This offseason, with Luke Getsy leaving for the Chicago Bears, Vrable added passing game coordinator to his resume.
On paper, the decision to give Vrable the additional title was a curious one. It’s not that Jason Vrable isn’t a good assistant coach. But since taking over as the Green Bay Packers’ wide receivers coach, the Packers haven’t developed a long roster of wide receivers. Unlike running backs coach Ben Sirmans, who helped develop Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon. Whatever the reason, head coach Matt LaFleur thought Vrable was the right fit for the job.
Not only will Vrable take on new duties, but he will also face his toughest season as wide receivers coach for the Green Bay Packers. He won’t have the luxury of having the NFL’s best wide receiver in his squad. Vrable will need to develop the young group of wide receivers. But he will also have to help veteran receivers take the next step as well.
Talented group of young wide receivers
The Packers head into 2022 with a good core of talented young wide receivers. This offseason, the Packers added Christian Watson (second round) and Romeo Doubs (fourth round) via the NFL Draft. Along with that, Brian Gutekunst traded in the 2021 NFL Draft to select wide receiver Amari Rodgers.
So far in training, Roméo Doubs has seized securities for his quality play. Last week in pre-season action, Rodgers showed promise. Christian Watson started camp on the PUP roster but was delisted last week and is slowly getting into the swing of things.
All three wide receivers have talent. But all three are equally unproven. It will be up to Jason Vrable to develop the young pass catchers. However, time is not on Vrable’s side. There is no doubt that the Packers would like to bring the three youngsters slowly. Unfortunately, they won’t be able to do that. Matt LaFleur, Vrable and even Aaron Rodgers need at least one of the young pass catchers to develop and contribute immediately.
As things stand, it looks like the Doubs have the best chance of contributing immediately. He flashed early in camp and showed great playing potential. But as many people know, he will have his struggles as a freshman NFL wide receiver. Aaron Rodgers expects a lot from his wide receivers. Mental and physical failures will not be tolerated. It will be up to Vrable to limit physical and mental faults.
Veteran receivers have a lot to prove
It’s not just young wide receivers that Jason Vrable has to worry about coaching. The Green Bay Packers’ veteran receivers also have plenty of questions heading into 2022.
With Davante Adams now a member of the Las Vegas Raiders, Allen Lazard is expected to be the new number one wide receiver. Going from a supporting role to a starring role will be quite a challenge for Lazard. The former undrafted free agent just completed a career season in 2021. He caught 40 passes for 513 yards with eight touchdown receptions. Lazard earned the respect of Aaron Rodgers. But the question is, can Lazard, who has just 109 career receptions, take the top spot?
Last offseason, Rodgers pressured Brian Gutekunst to trade Randall Cobb. Before he got hurt, it looked like a good shot from the quarterback. Cobb brought a veteran presence to the slot receiver position. Unfortunately, he missed time due to injury. With Adams gone, there’s no doubt that Rodgers will lean heavily on Cobb. But Cobb will need to stay healthy. Which will be difficult knowing he will see more playing time in 2022.
The only veteran free agent receiver Gutekunst brought in this offseason was Sammy Watkins. The signing of Watkins did not generate much excitement among Packers fans. The former first-round pick has been a disappointment throughout his career. He underperformed and also struggled with injuries. Jason Vrable was one of the main factors that led the Packers to sign him. Vrable was on the Buffalo Bills staff while Watkins was a player there. Vrable craned his neck for Watkins. If Watkins fails to make the team, it will be a stain on Vrable.
Run the game or not, Green Bay Packers wide receivers must produce
The Green Bay Packers’ offense will look very different in 2022. The Packers’ rushing offense should be the driving force behind the offense. But it’s not 1985, an NFL offense can’t rely solely on running the ball. Even with Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon as running backs.
If the Packers want to have a productive offense, they need to pass the ball efficiently. Aaron Rodgers will cover many gaps in the passing game. But he needs to produce production for the Green Bay Packers wide receivers.
There is no receiver on the Packers roster who can replace Davante Adams. Adams is a once in a lifetime talent. So, the Packers are going to need a group effort to replace Adams’ production.
Matt LaFleur must be thinking a lot about Jason Vrable since he offered him a promotion this offseason. The title gives him extra pressure, but it’s nothing compared to what he faces as a wide receivers coach. It will be up to him to get something out of this group of Packers receivers. If he doesn’t, it will reduce the Packers’ chances of having a successful passing game in 2022.