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The Unspoken MVP of the 2023 Packers

Many can attribute Green Bay's success to Jordan Love , but there is another player that was the unspoken MVP of the 2023 Packers.
Packers MVP

Anyone who watched the Packers on their run to the playoffs in 2023 would tell you the catalyst for their success was Jordan Love. While this is true—Love finished in the top ten in a handful of passing categories in the regular season—another player made a huge impact for Green Bay.

The Unspoken MVP of the 2023 Packers

The Scouting Report

Rookie Jayden Reed was something of an afterthought going into the season. Many expected Christian Watson to break out in a big way, and Romeo Doubbs’ 2022 season had plenty of bright moments. Fans and pundits alike expected the young receiving core in Green Bay to take time to gel. Many were even skeptical that the organization surrounded Love with enough talent. But Reed burst onto the scene in a big way. He and Dontayvion Wicks flashed early in the season before Reed got hot. Coming out of Michigan State, scouts raved about Reed’s ball skills and ability to attack the ball. His second gear was also something that made him an enticing draft prospect. But many considered him to be a late-round prospect and find a role in the NFL as a complimentary piece.

In Matt LaFleur’s offense, Reed’s second gear was used to its maximum. It took a few weeks, but LaFleur found success in feeding Reed the ball on jet sweeps and handoffs. These plays have been a staple of LaFleur’s offensive attack when he has had the right personnel. Things started to click for not only Reed, but the team once November rolled around.

The Mid-Season Surge

The Packers win over the Rams was a taste of what was to come. In that game, Reed took his lone carry for a 21-yard gain. By the time the Packers clashed with the Chargers, Reed had become a focal point of the offensive attack. Reed received seven touches against the Chargers and turned them into 86 total yards and a rushing score. Reed’s breakaway speed was seen in flashes before that game. Going into the game Reed had recorded multiple receptions of more than 30 yards.

But once LaFleur found success with Reed as a runner, he kept feeding him. From November on, Reed became integrated into the game plan and received more touches. Around that time, the Packers running game was also finding its footing. The added dynamic that Reed offered, given how much motion LaFleur likes to run, made the offense that much harder to defend. For stretches of the 2022 season, LaFleur utilized Watson as the sort of receiver who could stretch the field horizontally as a runner. But with how well Reed has handled that role, it seems evident that he will continue to be a focal point of the offense in a variety of ways.

Tapping into the talent is one thing. But having Reed come up with big plays in big moments is what separates him from the rest of the receivers. It is what made him the unspoken MVP of the Packers in 2023. 

Main Photo: Wm. Glasheen – USA Today Sports


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