When I need help with something at my 9-5 job, I’ll agree, I want someone I know I can rely on. I’d much rather ask someone that’s done well for me before. Not the new person that’s un-proven. But when the reliable coworker isn’t available, and it’s time to win, I need to give that new person a chance to show what they can do. That’s the attitude our Green Bay Packers need to begin having as well.
We’ve heard it over and over again before. “Receivers need to earn Aaron Rodgers’ trust.” “Until Aaron Rodgers trusts you, you can’t expect to see the ball a lot.” That’s not a bad philosophy if you only have one or two receivers you’re building trust with on the squad and the rest you’re familiar with. But this season, Aaron Rodgers has had four new receivers, and only two or three he’s familiar with.
Well, those familiar faces aren’t always available. It’s time to throw trust out the window, and win now.
The Rookie Surgence
Back in May, before Training Camp even started, I stated that Christian Watson or Romeo Doubs could be candidates for Rookie of the Year. My thoughts were that with Aaron Rodgers only having 3 veteran receivers, he kind of had no choice but to give the young bucks a shot right out of the gate. Boy, was I wrong.
Obviously Christian Watson has had his health issues only appearing in 5 games. The 5th of which he exited early with a concussion. But even when on the field, he rarely saw any targets, and seemed to be more of a decoy.
Romeo Doubs is the only rookie who’s been very productive with 30 receptions. But even at that, he’s been spotted wide open on plays where Rodgers has instead decided to check down to a shorter route. Doubs has shown capability of making that big time catch. And then again, he’s had a few drops. But he deserves his shot.
Samori Toure may have just become an interesting option after his great adjustment for the long touchdown on Sunday. Also the praise he later received from number 12 in regards to his change in work ethic. But that will remain to be seen of course as he’s only been on the field for 2 games now. From past observation, one great adjustment for a TD isn’t going to endear you instantly in the eyes of Aaron Rodgers. More is needed.
Granted this season is in a rough patch at almost the half-way mark, there is some hope.
Cause for Positivity
There’s no questioning that the passing game has been dismal this season. I’ve spent this time discussing trust between QB and WR that has been lacking, but there are some signs of that turning a corner.
While watching Sunday’s game in real-time, I noticed some signaling before a play with 8:04 left in the fourth quarter. That was Aaron Rodgers making a hand signal to his left, and then Romeo Doubs rubbing his elbow as if in response. I instantly thought to watch Doubs on the play. Sure enough, Doubs took off on a corner route, and Rodgers immediately found him for a great 26 yard gain. It reminded me of the subtle signals you’d see between Rodgers and Davante Adams before they connected on a big play. If Doubs and Rodgers can continue to stay on the same page, that will really open things up.
Possibly my favorite example of hope for better things to come, is Aaron Rodgers consistently hyping up Christian Watson despite the lack of on-field production. Every week Rodgers is talking about how they need to get him more involved because he’s a special player. Even on the 12 yard reception that took Watson out of the game with a concussion Sunday, he showed that he has some fight in him to battle for those extra yards. Hopefully with a clean bill of health, and 12 behind him, Watson can surge in the second half of the season.
Samori Toure has the smallest sample size so far. But that sample size definitely raised eyebrows. If you bail out Aaron Rodgers, he’s going to come back to you. This was only Toure’s second game after being scratched the first 6. Perhaps his actions Sunday earn him some more looks and hopefully he turns in to another Packers late-round success story.
Time to Win
If there were ever a regular season must-win for the Packers, it’s this Sunday. Forget the last four weeks. In fact, forget the last eight weeks. Sunday when we walk in to Ford Field, there’s only one thing that should be on our mind, victory.
The Packers have a chance against a struggling Lions team to piece together some confidence. There’s no time better than now to throw the trust issues out the window and see what we’ve got. Let’s go out and get it done.
Greg Meinholz is a 24/7/365 Packers fan. When he’s not spending time with his family, he can be found meditating in his Packers shrine with a good beer. You can follow him on twitter at @gmeinholz.