Christian Watson’s debut moment for the Green Bay Packers might have slipped through his hands, but it doesn’t seem to have shaken his confidence at all.
Watson quite nearly had the chance to make a stylish entrance into the NFL when Aaron Rodgers dialed up a deep shot for him on the first play of their opening drive in the Packers’ season opener against the Minnesota Vikings. The second-round rookie wide receiver ran a great route and left veteran cornerback Patrick Peterson in his dust, but, on a pass that was perfectly placed, he dropped what would have been a 75-yard touchdown for his first career reception in the league.
Watson, however, isn’t letting one mistake — no matter how big — crush his confidence as the Packers move past the 23-7 loss and move on next week.
“I just know that it’s a play I’m going to make 99 times out of a 100,” Watson told reporters in the postgame. “Would’ve said 100 times out of 100 if it weren’t for today, but it’s just a play I know I can make and going forward I’m going to make that play every single time. I’ve just got to understand that I know what I’m capable of and I know what the standard is and I’m going to uphold that from here on out.”
Packers Had Watson’s Deep Shot Planned for Days
The Packers didn’t just come up with Watson’s deep-shot look on a whim. Head coach Matt LaFleur had been planning its execution for days and had everyone — including Watson and Rodgers — ready for it to come on their opening play of the 2022 season.
“I actually thought about it … two days ago and just wanted to showcase his speed,” LaFleur said in the postgame, “and he certainly ran pretty fast on that play, but we’ve just got to finish the play.”
While Watson’s dropped touchdown was a heartbreaking way for the Packers to begin the season, Rodgers did eventually give him a chance to redeem himself in a smaller capacity later on. He went back to him twice more — on back-to-back plays in the fourth quarter — and saw him secure one of his passes for a 9-yard gain. Watson also caught a 25-yard pass from Jordan Love after Rodgers went to the bench.
Watson Appreciates Packers Holding Him to Standards
Watson wasn’t dwelling on the mistakes of his Packers debut after the game when he spoke with reporters. He oozed both confidence and humility, recognizing the team needs better from him moving forward but also trusting in his abilities to get the job done when they call upon him next. He knows there is a standard to uphold with the Packers, and he is grateful to have an organization willing to hold him to it.
“It’s just good to know they’re going to hold me to that standard as well,” Watson said. “When I need a kick to get going again, I know they’re going to give it to me. And I mean, that just makes me want to go out there and play and be great for them.”
The Packers will face the Chicago Bears next for Sunday Night Football in Week 2.