When the Green Bay Packers took the field for Saturday’s preseason finale at Lambeau Field, they did so without the services of Romeo Doubs.
Doubs has been hindered by a hamstring injury, but with two weeks until the start of the regular season, all indications point towards him not being shelved for too long, if long at all. Head coach Matt LaFleur said after the game that Doubs’ absence was purely a matter of erring on the side of caution, however, soft-tissue injuries are notoriously tricky.
“I would say — I mean, there’s always concern when you plan for someone to go out and play but I think it’s more precautionary,” he said, “We’ll let you know here in about a week and a half when we get our first injury report.”
Through the two games he was active for, Doubs was on the receiving end of four passes from quarterback Jordan Love. He caught all four of them for 73 yards, including a nine-yard touchdown reception in the opener versus the Cincinnati Bengals on August 11. He’s one of three wide receivers to catch 100% of their targets for the Packers in the preseason, alongside Jadakis Bonds and Cody Chrest, a pair of undrafted rookies.
Doubs didn’t necessarily need the reps — his position in the Packers’ lineup is essentially solidified. Though, any snaps shared with Love could prove to be beneficial as the duo continues to refine their chemistry.
Malik Heath May Have Done Enough to Secure a Roster Spot
Catching every single one of your targets is impressive, but no receiver on the roster has shined brighter than Malik Heath this summer.
Another undrafted rookie who signed with the Packers following the draft this past spring, Heath has ascended from training camp darling to someone who could actually wind up playing critical regular-season snaps for the Packers. With Doubs out of the lineup on Saturday, Heath got the start with the first-team offense and didn’t disappoint.
“I think Malik has shown a lot of good things, not only with catching the football but the way he blocks has been big-time for us,” LaFleur said. Heath was targeted seven times against the Seahawks, hauling in four of them for 35 yards. He made a number of difficult, acrobatic catches — not just on Saturday, but that has been a theme for him throughout the summer.
“He’s a physical player and I’m excited for him. I think he’s going to continue to get better and better.”
Through three contests, Heath is the Packers’ undisputed leading receiver. He has 12 receptions — seven more than the next-closest receiver, Samori Toure — and his 146 receiving yards is double that of Doubs’ 73. He has yet to find the end zone, but in the grand scheme of things, that doesn’t matter. Not when he’s consistently helped move the chains between the 20s in the passing game and stuck his nose into traffic to throw a vicious block in the running game.
If you can block efficiently in LaFleur’s offense, it’s safe to say that you have a place on the 53-man roster.
Seahawks Were Steamrolled by Packers’ Potent Ground Game
The Packers practically ran over the Seahawks en route to victory. As a team, they rushed for 164 yards, led by Emanuel Wilson’s 49 yards on 17 attempts. Wilson averaged less than three yards per carry, which hurts his chances of securing a roster spot as the third-string tailback, but he’s had enough of a positive impact this summer that he’s still firmly ahead of the pack.
Or is he?
AJ Dillon, Patrick Taylor and Nate McCrary each ran for 24 yards apiece. Wilson has far and away been the most explosive player of the bunch this summer, but none of the players battling for the roster spot behind Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon are able to contribute on special teams the way Taylor is.
LaFleur has already noted in the past that the third-string gig is going to come down to special teams. Entering the weekend, Taylor was one of the Packers’ leaders in special teams snaps played in the preseason. If the team opts to carry three running backs — and it’s certainly a possibility that they won’t, considering it’s the route they took last year — it’s likely that they’ll lean in Taylor’s favor.