LaFleur Puts Packers’ Presumed No. 1 Wide Receiver on Notice

Slaton 'Dominant'

Getty Head coach Matt LaFleur of the Green Bay Packers reacts during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lambeau Field on October 03, 2021 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

An old NFL adage asserts that teams with two quarterbacks don’t actually have any. The Green Bay Packers are dealing with a similar issue, only at the wide receiver position.

The Pack have seven healthy wideouts on their roster as of Friday, September 2, but none of them have separated from the rest as the obvious No. 1 option for quarterback Aaron Rodgers. In fact, the entire pecking order of pass catchers remains in flux, according to comments made by head coach Matt LaFleur on Wednesday.

“I don’t think anybody’s clear cut in front of the other guy,” LaFleur said, per Matt Schneidman of The Athletic. “I think it’s gonna be very much the ball’s gonna get spread around and we’re gonna try to feature different guys in different spots.”

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Packers Have Four Candidates For Top Wide Receiver Job

Allen Lazard COVID

GettyWide receiver Allen Lazard of the Green Bay Packers runs after the catch during a game against the Washington Football Team at Lambeau Field on October 24, 2021 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

LaFleur’s comments read like a veiled criticism of Allen Lazard, arguably Green Bay’s best mix of veteran experience and overall talent. Sammy Watkins can also be slotted in here, as his pure skill set has proven superior to Lazard’s over their respective careers.

However, Watkins has never played a regular season snap with Rodgers, while Lazard has been with the four-time MVP for four seasons and produced a career year in 2021 with 40 catches for 513 yards and eight touchdowns, per Pro Football Reference.

The other two potential top dogs on the roster are rookies Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs, selected in the second and fourth rounds of this year’s draft, respectively. Both have struggled with drops throughout the preseason, though Watson’s problems have also included availability as a knee surgery kept him sidelined for much of the previous two months.

Doubs has arguably proven the Packers’ most dynamic playmaker throughout camp, but growing pains are likely headed his way as Green Bay remains a conference favorite and tries to navigate through a difficult NFC back to the Super Bowl for the first time in more than a decade.

Rodgers spoke to what he has seen from Doubs, Watkins and veteran Randall Cobb in recent practices during an appearance on the Pat McAfee Show Friday.

“Romeo Doubs is a great kid and I love his work ethic,” Rodgers said. “Sammy Watkins and Randall Cobb have practiced as good as I’ve seen WRs practice in a long time.”

Rodgers Will Continue With Tough Love For WRs Throughout Season

Rodgers on Drops

GettyQB Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers watches action from the sideline during the second half of a game against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on October 28, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona.

Still, Rodgers noted he isn’t above being withholding — as LaFleur was Wednesday — in an effort to create a healthy hunger and competition among a group of receivers who still need to establish space between each other in Green Bay’s offensive hierarchy.

“When it comes to holding those guys accountable, that’s what we do,” Rodgers told McAfee on Friday. “They ask me a question about receivers — they have a s*** day? I’m gonna tell them they had a s*** day. They have a week where they don’t play good, I’m gonna talk about it. But we’re also going to love each other up and hold each other accountable and pat each other on the a** when we’re making good plays, and get serious when we need to have a better performance.”

Amari Rodgers and Samori Toure round out the healthy group of rostered Packers receivers heading into the regular season.

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