It can be argued that there isn’t a position that faces more scrutiny in the NFL heading into 2022 than the Green Bay Packers wide receivers. With the off-season departure of Davante Adams, the Green Bay Packers will not have a proven upper echelon pass catcher. It will be a first for quarterback Aaron Rodgers. He has been blessed with Adams, Jordy Nelson, Greg Jennings, and Donald Driver during his career. But heading into 2022, the position has a lot of 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.
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Jason Vrable Key to Green Bay Packers Wide Receivers Room
Jason Vrable is entering his fourth season as the Green Bay Packers wide receivers coach. He replaced former Green Bay Packers wide receivers coach Alvis Whitted in 2020. This off-season, with the departure of Luke Getsy to the Chicago Bears, Vrable added pass game coordinator to his resume.
On paper, the decision to give Vrable the additional title was a curious one. It isn’t 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 list of wide receivers. Unlike running backs coach Ben Sirmans, who has helped develop Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon. No matter the reason, head coach Matt LaFleur believed Vrable was the right man for the position.
Not only will Vrable carry new job duties, but he will also face his toughest season as the Green Bay Packers wide receivers coach. He won’t have the luxury of having the best NFL wide receiver in his group. Vrable will need to develop the young group of pass catchers. But he will also need to help the veteran receivers take the next step as well.
Talented Group of Young Wide Receivers
The Packers head into 2022 with a good core of young talented wide receivers. This off-season, the Packers added Christian Watson (second round) and Romeo Doubs (fourth round) via the NFL Draft. Along with that, Brian Gutekunst traded up in the 2021 NFL Draft to select wide receiver Amari Rodgers.
So far in training camp, Romeo Doubs has grabbed headlines for his quality play. Last week in preseason action, Rodgers showed some promise. Christian Watson started off camp on the PUP list but was removed from the list last week and is slowly getting into the swing of things.
All three wide receivers have talent. But all three are also 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 love to bring along the three youngsters slowly. Unfortunately, they won’t be able to do so. Matt LaFleur, Vrable, and even Aaron Rodgers need at least one of the young pass catchers to develop and contribute right away.
As it stands, it appears Doubs has the best chance to contribute right away. He has flashed early in camp and has shown big play potential. But as many people know, he will have his struggles as a first-year NFL wide receiver. Aaron Rodgers expects a lot from his wide receivers. Mental and physical lapses won’t be tolerated. It will be up to Vrable to limit the physical and mental mistakes.
Veteran Receivers Have A Lot to Prove
It isn’t just the young wide receivers that Jason Vrable has to worry about coaching up. The veteran Green Bay Packers wide receivers also have a lot of questions heading into 2022 as well.
With Davante Adams now a member of the Las Vegas Raiders, it is expected that Allen Lazard will be the new number one wide receiver. Going from a supporting role, to a starring role, will be quite the challenge for Lazard. The former undrafted free agent is coming off a career season in 2021. He caught 40 passes for 513 yards with eight touchdown receptions. Lazard has earned the respect of Aaron Rodgers. But the question is, can Lazard, who has just 109 career receptions, be able to step up to the number one spot?
Last off-season, Rodgers pressured Brian Gutekunst to make a trade for Randall Cobb. Before being injured, it looked like a good move by the quarterback. Cobb brought a veteran presence to the slot receiver position. Unfortunately, he missed time due to an injury. With Adams departed, there is no doubt that Rodgers will lean heavily on Cobb. But Cobb will need to stay healthy. Which will be difficult knowing that he will see more playing time in 2022.
The only veteran free agent wide receiver Gutekunst brought in this off-season was Sammy Watkins. The Watkins signing didn’t bring much excitement to Packers fans. The former first-round pick has been a disappointment during his career. He has underachieved and also battled injuries. One of the biggest factors in the Packers signing him was Jason Vrable. Vrable was on the Buffalo Bills staff while Watkins was a player there. Vrable stuck his neck out for Watkins. If Watkins fails to make the team, it will be a blemish on Vrable.
Run Game or Not, Green Bay Packers Wide Receivers Need to Produce
The Green Bay Packers offense will look a lot different in 2022. The Packers rushing attack is expected to be what drives the offense. But this isn’t 1985, an NFL offense can’t rely solely on running the ball. Even with having Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon as their running backs.
If the Packers are going to have a productive offense, they have to pass the ball efficiently. Aaron Rodgers will cover up for a lot of shortcomings in the passing game. But he needs to get some production out for the Green Bay Packers wide receivers.
There isn’t a receiver on the Packers roster who can take the place of 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 think a lot of Jason Vrable since he gave him a promotion this off-season. The title gives him added pressure, but that is nothing to what he faces as the 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 dampen the chances of the Packers having a successful passing game in 2022.