Whether MVS or another WR, Packers Need to Find Vertical Threat

Whether the Green Bay Packers re-sign MVS, bring in a new free agent, or look to the draft, this offense needs to find its vertical threat for the 2022 season.

Among the Green Bay Packers many free agents this offseason is wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling. MVS certainly isn't a high-volume pass-catcher, but his ability to win downfield with his speed is a critical element to the Matt LaFleur offense.
 
Over his four-year career, Valdes-Scantling has averaged 17.5 yards per catch, including 20.9 yards in 2020, which led the NFL. With 4.37 speed, there isn't another receiver on this team who can bring the same big-play ability that MVS can. 
 
Unfortunately, MVS would miss time this season with a hamstring injury during the regular season, and he would also miss Green Bay's playoff game against San Francisco with a back injury. While still effective, Green Bay would go from ranking second in explosive pass plays in 2020, according to Sharp Football, to 10th this past season--and that certainly isn't a coincidence considering the time that MVS missed.
 
There isn't one specific reason why the Packers' offense took a step back in 2021 when comparing them to the 2020 unit -- averaging nearly six less points per game -- but rather several of them, including one big one, which is that the offense simply wasn't as effective on deep shots.
 
“83 has been hurt,” Rodgers said via Packers Wire prior to Week 7. “That definitely is a big part of it. We haven’t had a ton of that stuff in the plan. Also, we’ve seen a lot of Cover-2. With 83 not playing, and them clouding Davante a bunch, we just haven’t had the same opportunities.”
 
When it comes to MVS and his ability to win downfield, as we just discussed, there are the obvious big plays that come with that. However, the attention that he draws with that speed of his also helps create for his teammates and leads to better spacing on the field, which should result in more pass-catching opportunities and more YAC opportunities as well. Not to mention that the shot play is a key component of LaFleur's offense--especially with Aaron Rodgers under center.
 
The playoff loss to the 49ers is a prime example of what can happen when the deep ball element is missing--San Francisco was able to shrink the field and play much more condensed without having to worry about Valdes-Scantling, which made moving the ball through the air more difficult for Green Bay. 
 
“Quez, he’s so important to this offense,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said via the Wisconsin State Journal. “Obviously, the speed, his ability to stretch the field, create some explosive plays, it gives the defense somebody else in the passing game to worry about other than Tae.”
 
With the Green Bay Packers' tight cap situation, we don't know what the future holds for MVS. But regardless of whether it's MVS, an incoming free agent, or perhaps a rookie in this year's draft, the Packers need to make finding that vertical threat a priority this offseason. As highlighted above, with Valdes-Scantling sidelined for a portion of the season, this Green Bay offense was missing that element, and everyone felt those effects.
 
Who knows what the Packers will have to spend in free agency if MVS ends up elsewhere, but Brennen Rupp of Packers Wire provided us with a few names in this year's draft class who could fill that downfield passing role.
 
Brennen would mention SMU's Reggie Roberson Jr, whose position coach would call him "one of the best vertical threats in college football." Then there is Romeo Doubs from Nevada. "According to PFF," Brennen said, "Doubs led the FBS with 505 deep receiving yards in 2020."
 
Two other names include Alec Pierce from Cincinnati, who averaged 17.5 yards per catch over his career, and South Alabama's Jalen Tolbert. Brennen would go on to add that Tolbert caught "41 passes of 20-plus yards" the last two seasons, and he had "the fifth most deep receiving yards in the FBS this past season," per PFF.
 
These are a few names to keep your eyes on as the draft process unfolds, but you get the idea, the point is that whether it be one of these rookies or maybe Green Bay re-signs MVS, finding that vertical passing threat this offseason is a must for this LaFleur offense. The entire offense benefits when defenses have that element to worry about.
 

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Born and raised in Green Bay, WI and I still call it home. After my family, watching the Packers, sharing my opinions on the team through my writing and interacting with other fans is my greatest passion. You can find me on Twitter at @Paul_Bretl. 
 

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3 points

Comments (57)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Swisch's picture

February 14, 2022 at 11:53 am

I think MVS is going to break out next season as a star with more than 60 catches (as part of a balanced passing attack) and at least 10 catches of 40 or more yards.
If the Packers feature him half as much as they have Davante, then MVS will shine.
However, it's almost always a good idea to bring in a new receiver or two through the draft. You never know from whence the next Cooper Kupp may come.

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Matt Gonzales's picture

February 14, 2022 at 12:20 pm

Agreed. He didn't see the deep shots this year but I liked seeing him round out his game a bit more. Very hopeful we can see MVS and Lazard back

7 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

February 14, 2022 at 01:50 pm

He has to be on the field to be a target. Missed 7 games. Lazard will be given the two pick designation.
Second and third round is full of potential WRs: Romeo Daubs, Alec Pierce, Calvin Austin...They need the WR pick in either Rd one or two. Maybe Rodgers sails and Adams is signed? They will have to select a TE by Rd Three. Lewis is on a fair-value contract, so they might as well keep him around as the # 3or #4 guy on the chart.

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TarynsEyes's picture

February 14, 2022 at 02:47 pm

"Maybe Rodgers sails and Adams is signed?"

If Rodgers is gone, can you honestly risk paying Adams the money that Rodgers throwing to him has allowed Adams to ask for? That's a lot of money for another QB to guarantee the production that Rodgers created. Adams is awesome with Rodgers, but will he be as awesome or awesome enough with another QB, a la Love. That's a huge buy-in for what is actually unknown...Love/Adams, ?/Adams.

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croatpackfan's picture

February 14, 2022 at 03:10 pm

TarynsEyes, I understand your worry if Davante will be that good w/o AR. Well, he already played several games w/o AR (injuries) and his production was not suffering...

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Coldworld's picture

February 15, 2022 at 10:15 am

I look at it differently. If Rodgers goes, can one justify paying a WR that kind of money? I think at that point a better bet is to go younger and give future QBs players to develop with while using the cap space to improve the catching depth and roster generally. Yes, Adams would help a new QB, but not enough to justify the cost.

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jannes bjornson's picture

February 15, 2022 at 08:28 pm

I had Adams out the door when they went retro with the "Last Dance" . One year to pull it off and the Uno et Dunno. He wants his money. He earned it. Maybe he gets a franchise tag for the Encore?

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Duneslick's picture

February 14, 2022 at 12:53 pm

On 120 targets or more

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

February 14, 2022 at 04:03 pm

Full agreement

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mbpacker's picture

February 14, 2022 at 05:10 pm

Of course MVS has to be available. He seems to get hurt every year. Hope he can put in a full season, we need him.
Besides, he is an excellent downfield blocker as well.

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dblbogey's picture

February 14, 2022 at 06:45 pm

Maybe it's time to admit that MVS, Lazard, etc are just very average receivers at best. We desperately need upgrading the whole group.

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ImaPayne's picture

February 15, 2022 at 05:43 pm

Hope your right but for me his 5 minutes of fame have extinguished and he hasnt shown much when healthy and thats not often enough

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PatrickGB's picture

February 14, 2022 at 12:34 pm

Tonyan can be a threat too. He just seemed to be open a lot when he played. But I agree, this team needs more high quality WR’s.

6 points
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canadapacker's picture

February 14, 2022 at 04:57 pm

Even before his injury last year Tonyon was not as effective as the year before. Some of that because he was being planned against better and some maybe because he wasnt used as effectively or wasnt as in good of shape. I think some of that might have been because we didnt use as many jet sweeps etc that kept some of those D backs up close to the line and that let Tonyon leak out into the voided area - but he never had those big openings that he had in years before. Hope he comes back in better shape and his knee doesnt slow him down.

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Coldworld's picture

February 15, 2022 at 10:18 am

There is no guarantee Tonyan will even be able to pass a physical and start training until well into the season. We have to look elsewhere in my view. Maybe we can sign him later, but that’s not a given as to whether or when.

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jannes bjornson's picture

February 15, 2022 at 08:44 pm

They need to secure at least two additional TEs for the 2022 Season. Another FA and a mid round pick in the draft. Tyler Davis may be their next Tonyan?

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jhtobias's picture

February 14, 2022 at 01:31 pm

Agreed with mvs but will rodgers throw to him or davante 18 targets a game ? Seems like the MVP needs a lesson on the true meaning of team

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Zapato's picture

February 14, 2022 at 01:34 pm

Personally, I'd like to see MVS resigned. He knows the offense, is building trust with Rodgers and doesn't need to go through the learning curve of a rookie receiver in Green Bay's offense. I also think that as he plays more in this offense he's going to become more versatile than just a deep threat.

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BirdDogUni's picture

February 14, 2022 at 02:21 pm

Whether we re-sign MVS or not, we need another deep threat. We saw what happened when MVS went out. Defenses weren't scared of a deep shot at all. We can't have that. Even if we sign an UDFA WR who is a burner, we have to have someone who can threaten a defense over the top.

If we don't re-sign MVS, we'd need two burners... That's harder.

7 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

February 14, 2022 at 05:03 pm

Hey BDU good to see you over here. Are you going to be back on Acme for the draft? Who knows what the offseason brings but I'd like to see them draft WR/DL/TE and Edge in some combination with the first four picks. Really like Treylon Burks but I doubt he lasts to 28.

Agreed on finding another fast WR. As I said below it's foolish to depend on one guy to open up the offense.

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BirdDogUni's picture

February 14, 2022 at 11:12 pm

They banned me...

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LLCHESTY's picture

February 15, 2022 at 12:49 am

Well they've banned Frankie a bunch of times and he's still on there. Just use BDU as your name if you have a second email and everybody will know who you are. I ran out of emails when I was on the Milwaukee Journal Packers site. Their moderators were really uneven.

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Coldworld's picture

February 15, 2022 at 10:19 am

Frankie is, well, let’s say, a ban looking to happen.

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BirdDogUni's picture

February 15, 2022 at 06:14 pm

Nope... Not as many communist/socialists over here... I like it a lot better over here. They tend to talk football here. ; )

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LLCHESTY's picture

February 15, 2022 at 06:30 pm

Still on that kick hunh? I'm never sure if people don't know the definitions of those words or know the definitions and just use them to rile up the masses that don't.

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stockholder's picture

February 15, 2022 at 05:18 am

Acme banned me, but I still get on the SB Nation - NFL column. My statement was; "A person is innocent until proven Guilty". Tex supported the victim. Assumptions were the evidence at that time. The whole Baylor program was later investigated.

1 points
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egbertsouse's picture

February 15, 2022 at 01:02 pm

They ban everyone, usually for bogus reasons. They really don’t like to be criticized over there. I understand it’s their site and they can do what they want but when you put your opinions out to the public, you shouldn’t have such a thin skin.

1 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

February 15, 2022 at 06:16 pm

They're not nearly as bad as the Milwaukee Journal Packers site was a decade ago. It was so random, like the had moderators with completely different agendas. Or maybe just one with some serious mood swings.

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Roadrunner23's picture

February 14, 2022 at 03:30 pm

*MVS too inconsistent and injury prone. Plus him and Rodgers never seem to be on the same page. MVS will also be too pricey.
Pass (pun intended)

*The Bears got their speed guy Mooney in the 5th round and the Packers can do the same.

*Gutey, go get your speed guy but make damn sure he’s also an excellent punt and kick returner!

Let’s Go Packers!!
Make some hay this off-season!

5 points
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dobber's picture

February 14, 2022 at 03:57 pm

"MVS too inconsistent and injury prone. "

MVS has played in every Packers regular season game until this season, when he missed 6 games and the Packers playoff game. He missed the playoff game v. SF in 2019. Yes, he seems to get dinged, but every player does. He's been largely available.

https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/V/ValdMa00.htm

3 points
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barutanseijin's picture

February 14, 2022 at 04:48 pm

Largely available without much of a contribution. Pass.

0 points
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Coldworld's picture

February 15, 2022 at 01:01 pm

He was by far our most effective weapon in the loss to the Bucs. Playing our sole speedster against Detroit and reaggravating a nagging back issue was the result of a completely stupid decision by LaFleur. It enabled SF to ignore the deep threat and cover their biggest weakness.

On a separate point, 2 down votes for simply providing a factual rebuttal? I suppose some are very attached to their fictions.

3 points
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barutanseijin's picture

February 15, 2022 at 01:18 pm

I liked him in that game, too. But that’s one game. He had to show me more this year. He didn’t .

1 points
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PhantomII's picture

February 14, 2022 at 04:43 pm

If you want a speed guy...get 2, you're gonna use them both. Always a hammie or something.

6 points
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ImaPayne's picture

February 14, 2022 at 06:17 pm

2 speed guys and a fast te

1 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

February 14, 2022 at 04:55 pm

If they don't resign MVS they need to find more than one. The scoring difference when he was in and out of the lineup was glaring and the offense shouldn't be that dependent on one guy to open things up.

My favorite solution would be Treylon Burks in the 1st round if available and the smurf Calvin Austin in the 4th. Burks is like a turbo Lazard, a fast guy that can play bully ball. Austin is real small but from what I've seen isn't afraid to hand fight for catches and he scored a TD rushing and had a 94 yard punt return for Memphis last year. He could be the gadget guy they need to run some sweeps and reverses.

4 points
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Coldworld's picture

February 14, 2022 at 05:05 pm

If you want a small, fast WR prospect, there’s Rico Gafford, who we signed on a futures deal. He’s faster than MVS or Stokes. Low 2.2s.

1 points
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mbpacker's picture

February 14, 2022 at 05:15 pm

That's fast but how good is his skill sets?

1 points
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Coldworld's picture

February 15, 2022 at 10:38 am

I really don’t know, he’s a guy who came from a small school as a corner and was converted into a type of option threat when the Raiders head coach saw he could catch and his speed. 66 yards and a TD on 4 passes, so not heavily used. I saw his pick up as being more kick return oriented, honestly.

I’m not a big fan of small fast receivers. They typically struggle deep no matter how good unless they really break clear. Where they can work is as a surprise option and in space. Gafford actually could be an option for that on paper.

0 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

February 15, 2022 at 12:56 am

Yeah but Austin actually played WR at Memphis and played it really well. 74 catches for 1150 yards and 8 TDs, on rush for 69 yards and a TD and 5 punt returns for 135 yards including a 94 yard TD. Then he played well at the Senior Bowl including having an outstanding practice in the rain.

1 points
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Coldworld's picture

February 15, 2022 at 10:45 am

It’s really tough for a “Smurf” body type to excel in the nfl as a traditional WR. Bigger, faster defenders. In addition to general attrition, easily knocked off routes and much easier for corners to deal with due to the lack of catch radius.

In general, I’d want to bring MVS back and also to restock at WR. Winfree may have something, but let others compete and restock. That said, most new guys aren’t going to contribute greatly in year 1, if we drafted 3 and found one that did, we’d be ahead of the curve.

1 points
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stockholder's picture

February 14, 2022 at 05:09 pm

I'd like MVS to come back. His calculated value. 8.8 million. is the problem. Would he earn it? The packers have too much time invested in him. Rodgers speaks highly of him. And they will need him if Adams leaves. Which then would put MVS in the Driver seat. His Agent won't settle for less. James Jones pushed the packers years ago too. This may not turn positive.

3 points
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Qoojo's picture

February 14, 2022 at 06:21 pm

Why not two WRs that can blow the top off the defense? :)

I think MVS is gone. Need at least one very fast WR that is available to play every game.

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ImaPayne's picture

February 14, 2022 at 06:24 pm

I think they lo ball mvs due to the cap. he either takes it or adios. why would he stay at Packers when they don't throw him the ball. He may be afr aid no one else wants him all the missed time and all. He is unreliable?

0 points
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Coldworld's picture

February 15, 2022 at 10:47 am

As Dobber pointed out, with supporting facts (above), other than this season, MVS has actually not missed games.

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barutanseijin's picture

February 15, 2022 at 12:10 pm

It only seems that way — maybe because he just ain’t that good.

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Coldworld's picture

February 15, 2022 at 01:03 pm

He would have helped when we played the 49ers, so he isn’t that bad either.

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dekan51's picture

February 14, 2022 at 06:49 pm

Bigger question. WIll AR look their way, or continue to want to pad DA's stats....?

1 points
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ImaPayne's picture

February 15, 2022 at 05:47 pm

Wrong he is padding his own stats and cant do that without Adams. He knows the pass percent and interception ration rank high on the MVP charts. He really doesnt care about winning or losing, its always been about him. Otherwise why didnt he spread the ball to receivers who were clearly open and ignored for an Adams who was covered.

0 points
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Rick5952's picture

February 14, 2022 at 06:50 pm

Doesn’t matter what wide receivers we have if your QB has Davantevision. Maybe we should keep Rodgers and let Tae walk then he’d be forced to throw it around. We played pretty well when 17 was injured.

1 points
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cms's picture

February 15, 2022 at 12:18 am

I've never understood he thinking that we need a SINGULAR deep threat. The point was well made in the article that the offense works much better with a deep threat on the field. Why, then, would you have only one, oft-injured and inconsistent player to fill that role?! Other teams like Kansas City figured this out. If you have a large role in your offense you don't trust it to just one player.

2 points
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Leatherhead's picture

February 15, 2022 at 04:40 pm

And yet, over the last two seasons, the Packers have scored more points than the Chiefs.

Can you explain that?

0 points
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PatrickGB's picture

February 15, 2022 at 01:00 pm

Here is a crazy thought, why not use him as a KR?

0 points
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Leatherhead's picture

February 15, 2022 at 04:15 pm

Is the need for a deep threat greater than:

A. A reliable possession receiver who can keep us on the field.
B. A TE who can block, catch, and run.
C. An offensive lineman.
D. All of the above.

-1 points
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BirdDogUni's picture

February 15, 2022 at 05:27 pm

Yes...

; )

2 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

February 15, 2022 at 06:24 pm

The easiest answer to that is to look at the scoring in the games MVS played in and the ones he didn't. You'll see for yourself the answer is yes. Without MVS on the field the Packers have the slowest WR group in the NFL. That's not a spot to be in.

1 points
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ImaPayne's picture

February 15, 2022 at 05:45 pm

Lets trade Adams and get some track stars, two, one of each side of the line and drive it home. Jorday ball all game.

0 points
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