The bye week was a much-needed weekend to spend time away from Green Bay Packers football and hit the reset button before the upcoming playoff game.
Now that our weekend of rest is over, we Packer fans are anxiously awaiting the weekend’s Divisional Round matchup against the Los Angeles Rams at Lambeau Field.
By now, you’ve heard about the big matchups: The No. 1 offense vs. the No. 1 defense, Davante Adams vs. Jalen Ramsey and Packers interior offensive line vs. Aaron Donald.
While those matchups are important, I just want to emphasize that the role players can’t be overlooked.
When actually lined up against each other, I’m sure there will be times where Davante wins and I’m sure there will be times where Jalen wins. However, in order to take pressure off that matchup, Green Bay needs players like Allen Lazard and Marquez-Valdes-Scantling to step up and deliver.
Although Aaron Rodgers wants to get the ball to Adams and Robert Tonyan, he has shown in the past that he’s not afraid to spread the ball around if one of his primary targets is getting shaded coverage.
Valdes-Scantling has shown flashes of the player that he can be in some cases. Against Detroit, he hauled in six passes for 85 yards and a touchdown. He’s shown big-play capability by speeding past defenders and stretching defenses. However, there’s also a Valdes-Scantling that has dropped passes and no-showed in big games.
Lazard has also been a curious case in the passing game. Since coming back from his injury, he’s only caught 20 balls for 197 yards and a touchdown in seven weeks of action. Don’t get me wrong, he does plenty of the dirty work in this offense. His ability to block on the perimeter and down in the mess has been important during these past seven weeks.
And before his rib injury, Lazard showed signs of being a true No. 2 wide receiver. Against New Orleans, he went off with six catches for a 146 yards and a touchdown.
To alleviate pressure from Adams and Tonyan, Lazard and Valdes-Scantling might have to be the best versions of themselves on Saturday to keep this offense humming.
Again, much has been made about the matchup between the No. 1 offense and the No. 1 defense, and the matchups in-between. I do think that Matt LaFleur will be smart about scheming up opportunities for Adams to move around and get his looks.
I would be shocked if LaFleur sits back and keeps this offense stagnant and shows basic looks – especially against such a high-caliber opponent.
I wouldn’t be shocked to see either Lazard or MVS have a big game. It’s just got that feel to it.
Excited to see what the future holds.——————
Gunnar Davis is a lifelong Packers fan and a recent graduate of Simpson College, where he was a 3-year letterwinner on the offensive line and graduated with a degree in multimedia communications. You can follow him on Twitter at @Gunnar57Davis.