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Multiple transitions underway for Romeo Doubs in second season

New leadership role, new quarterback, new child all part of 2023’s changes for Packers receiver

WR Romeo Doubs
WR Romeo Doubs

GREEN BAY – He didn't want to use the word "comfortable," because in Romeo Doubs' mind that implies some level of complacency, and the Packers' young receiver is anything but heading into 2023.

Year 2 definitely feels different for the former fourth-round draft pick out of Nevada, though, and he's still getting used to it.

"Just humbly speaking, I'm playing a lot faster," he said following Wednesday's OTA session. "Some of the other veterans, Christian (Watson) and Samori (Toure), we're all playing fast and it's going to be really exciting."

Doubs simply attaching that word "veteran" to himself and his fellow 2022 draft picks at receiver speaks to how he's got no time to be complacent, because the transitions he's navigating are piling up on one another.

In addition to going from a quiet rookie in the receiver room to one of its vocal leaders in the span of a few months, he's also got a new quarterback, he's the proud father of a new baby daughter, and he's back from an injury that knocked a promising rookie season a bit off course.

That's a lot to manage, but Doubs is embracing it all.

He mentioned multiple times in less than 10 minutes speaking to reporters at his locker how he knows the leadership from him, Christian Watson and Samori Toure is "expected" with three new receiver draft picks coming on board. While Doubs speaks up more in meetings, his goal is to "stay in their corner," knowing the rookies' heads are swimming while learning the offense on the fly, just as he did a year ago.

"I would be wrong if I do everything solo, and I know with them coming in they might not get the concept or they might not know what the depth of the route is," he said. "That's up to my responsibility to be able to help them out so they can go out there and be a better version of themselves, as well."

He also spent time in the offseason working out with new starting QB Jordan Love, and the chemistry the two are building shined through as he caught four passes on a single two-minute drive at the end of Wednesday's practice.

Doubs didn't want to overhype that based on one sequence of plays, but he's not downplaying the faith he has in the fourth-year signal caller. Doubs often points out how much he learned from Aaron Rodgers in just one year, so he can only imagine how much Love absorbed over three seasons behind the future Hall of Famer.

"I believe in Jordan," Doubs said. "I have extreme confidence in him and I truthfully believe he can get it done."

His belief in himself is just as strong, even if he hesitates to directly verbalize it so as not to be misinterpreted, because he's aware he still has plenty to prove.

Doubs' rookie season (42 catches, 425 yards, three TDs) took a frustrating turn due to an ankle injury following an 18-yard reception on the first offensive play vs. Detroit in Week 9. He missed the rest of that game plus the next four, and his production fell off upon his return.

Pre-injury, Doubs caught four or more passes in five of eight games and scored three TDs. After, he caught four or more in just one of four games and didn't score. He also got shut out, and dropped a seam route downfield that should've been a big play, in the regular-season finale with a playoff spot on the line.

Watson's emergence as an offensive focal point certainly factored into Doubs' drop-off statistically, but there's no denying his year didn't finish as it began. So Doubs spent the offseason focused on his training and technique, and he came back to work the way the coaches figured he would.

"When he first got here, he started off really strong and I thought he was having an outstanding season, and then unfortunately he got injured vs. Detroit," Head Coach Matt LaFleur said. "I think that affected him. It affected all of us. It's good to see him kind of pick up where he was at, at one time. Very encouraged by his progress and his overall knowledge."

Big picture, as tough as it was to handle, Doubs is trying to view the timing of the injury as a blessing in disguise. The whole ordeal kept him grounded as he moves forward, healthy again, with so much more responsibility thrust upon him now.

"I'm glad it happened last year and not, God forbid, takes me away from the game and I'm going into Year 3 or Year 4 and I don't know how to cope with it," he said. "Some things happen for a reason specifically.

"Just got to stay 10 toes down. You've just got to learn to take care of it and become even stronger afterward. I took care of it. I did exactly what the trainers needed me to do, if not more, and beyond."

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