The Green Bay Packers have been admittedly ugly on offense at times this season, but one of the bigger mysteries each week has become trying to predict which wide receivers will be active in the passing game alongside star wideout Davante Adams.
Coming into Monday night’s game against the Minnesota Vikings, nine different Packers players have caught double-digit passes and at least one touchdown on the season while eight of them have more than 200 receiving yards, including Adams with a team-high 788. Of the four other wideouts in that group, though, the less experienced options have shined far brighter.
Both Allen Lazard and Jake Kumerow have delivered in big moments throughout their most active season with the Packers and each average at least 14 yards per reception, but limited opportunities have capped their production to a certain degree and left much to be desired for fans disillusioned about Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Geronimo Allison.
Packers coach Matt LaFleur has admitted he wants to get Lazard and, more recently, Kumerow more opportunities in the passing game, but more opportunities don’t come with higher expectations from quarterback Aaron Rodgers. That’s to say, Rodgers is all for them getting more shots on the field.
“I don’t know about any expectations,” Rodgers told reporters Thursday. “We know what we get from those guys. They’ve very solid. Those guys are the same guys every day. They bring a really good approach. So, if anything, our expectation is more of the same, just more opportunities for them.”
The Packers (11-3) certainly stand to benefit from looking more to Lazard and Kumerow coming into Monday’s showdown with the Vikings (10-4), as taking defensive pressure away from Adams and lead rusher Aaron Jones will be the primary goal for Rodgers and the rest of the offense.
Follow the Heavy on Packers Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Matt LaFleur Promises More of Jake Kumerow
The first-year Packers coach said he and his offensive coaches came into this week’s preparation meetings with an understanding that Kumerow deserves to play more, especially after he hauled in a 49-yard reception in last Sunday’s win over Chicago.
“That’s what we talked about today. We have to make sure we get him on the field,” LaFleur told reporters Monday. “So, I think you’ll see more of him as we move forward.”
Kumerow might only have 11 catches on the year, but eight of them have been for first downs. He is also averaging 19.3 yards per reception despite only being targeted 18 times on the year — and never more than four times in one game. Three of his receptions have gone for more than 30 yards, counting his season-long reception against the Bears.
Another of Kumerow’s standout plays came during Week 7’s win over the Oakland Raiders when he hauled in a sideline pass for a 35-yard touchdown that allowed the Packers to take full control of the game. It was his second career touchdown catch but not his longest, as he caught a 49-yard touchdown pass in the Packers’ overtime win over the New York Jets last season.