For a brief instance Green Bay Packers rookie wide receiver Christian Watson was all but a legend in Titletown. A lapse in concentration resulted in Christian Watson’s dropped pass and erased a fairytale start to his career of what was sure to be a 75-yard touchdown pass from Canton-bound quarterback Aaron Rodgers on the Packers first offensive play from scrimmage. Not only did the pass slip through Watson’s fingers, but also so did the victory.
Watson hauls in that pass the Packers win the game, full stop. It was an explosion play that secures the momentum. A play like this injects confidence into everyone on the Packers sideline. Instead, Watson took them up, only to drop the bottom out of the Packers spirits. From that play forward their energy was off.
Did Packers Coach Matt LaFleur fly too close to the sun calling for Rodgers to air it out to a rookie who never played even a pre-season snap in the NFL on the Packers first play from scrimmage of the 2022 season? Was this an Icarus moment that exposed LaFleur being reckless and trying to fly too close to the sun with wings made of wax and feathers?
The story of Icarus is a tale from a Greek myth that warns of the dangers of hubris, a deterrent example of man cheating his limits. Were the lights too bright for the young receiver from North Dakota State? And don’t forget, in the lead up to the NFL Draft, the knock on Watson was he was known to drop the ball. Drop passes just like this one. Did this one play expose the limits of Christian Watson’s abilities?
Matt LaFleur wanted to win this game, no question. He took a shot. Was it risky? Sure. Was it reckless, absolutely not, it was genius.
Genius? Watson makes that catch and scores the Packers win the game. But more important Christian Watson instantly believes he can play in the NFL and understands his 4.3 speed allows him to take the top off the defense. Even more substantial, Rodgers believes in him. On a team with a lot of question marks at the wide receiver position this pays massive dividends.
But Watson dropped the pass. The drop was a blow to the game. Game one of seventeen. One in which for all practical purposes was the last preseason game. Sure it counts. But Watson didn’t fold after that play. He still learned his speed plays in the NFL. So did Rodgers. Watson also learned he doesn’t want the scorn of Rodgers and the importance of making the play.
The moral of Icarus is that life is a gift. Maintaining balance with everything in moderation will ensure a long life. Essentially, don’t fly too high don’t fly too low.
A career in the NFL is a gift. As Rodger’s pass was coming over Watson’s left shoulder with Patrick Peterson in his dust the rookie wide receiver was about to moonwalk on the sun. He got too high and learned the need to execute when the lights are bright. In the long run this play will help him gain the perspective needed to have a long career. Watson will understand how to harness his emotions and make the plays he needs to make down the stretch of the 2022 season.——————
Patrick Hughes is an owner and life long fan of the Green Bay Packers. He is passionate about immersing himself into the Green Bay Packers community in Wisconsin and around the globe. A landscape designer and marketer by day and a Packers writer by night. You can follow him on twitter at @PHUGHESWI.