Romeo Doubs winning over Packers' offense with consistency

Rookie receiver could have key part to play after Sammy Watkins’ injury

WR Romeo Doubs

GREEN BAY – From the spring to the summer and now into the fall, Romeo Doubs just keeps making plays.

The Packers' rookie receiver pulled the biggest assignment of his young NFL career on Sunday and factored heavily into Green Bay leaving Raymond James Stadium with a 14-12 road victory over Tampa Bay.

Doubs caught all eight targets that came his way for 73 yards against the Buccaneers, including a 5-yard touchdown to end a 10-play, 75-yard opening scoring drive for the Packers.

His eight receptions were the most by a Packers rookie in 42 years and ranks second in franchise history behind only Max McGee's nine catches against the Los Angeles Rams on Dec. 12, 1954.

"I thought he did an outstanding job," said Head Coach Matt LaFleur of Doubs on Monday. "He's got the body movement skills. He's got the explosiveness. He plays on his insteps, gets both feet in the ground, and that allows him to get off bump coverage. And the game is certainly not too big for him."

Doubs has been a consistent performer for the Packers since his arrival as a fourth-round pick in April's NFL Draft. As the former Nevada standout has grown as a player, LaFleur and quarterback Aaron Rodgers have been complimentary of the rookie's poise, athleticism, and sure hands.

All of that was put to the test Sunday, as Doubs took on more responsibility with the offensive game plan with both Sammy Watkins and Christian Watson out with hamstring injuries, and Randall Cobb not practicing all week due to an illness.

The rookie's workload spiked from 60 offensive snaps in Green Bay's first two games to 55 against the Bucs. Of Doubs' eight catches, three came on the opening series in which he scored – including his 21-yard reception that moved Green Bay into Tampa Bay territory.

By doing so, Doubs became the first Packers rookie in 28 years to catch at least one pass of 20 or more yards in each of his first three NFL games.

"Just repetition," said Doubs about the key to his start. "Whether it's just going over plays, knowing how to run whatever route, working on a release, a block, weak-side, front-side, I just took a lot of reps. I'm just grateful for this staff we have here, awesome staff, and it feels good."

Through three games, Doubs' 137 receiving yards rank fourth among rookie receivers. He trails only Chris Olave, Drake London and Garrett Wilson, who were all first-round selections.

But more than just the production, what intrigues LaFleur most about Doubs is the number of positions the rookie can already play in the offense, whether it's as the X (split end/far wide), Z (flanker/off the line of scrimmage), Y (slot) or F (off-set).

"(He's a) young player, not even close to his ceiling," LaFleur said. "He tries to be his best every day and there's going to be a lot of learning along the way. I think these next few weeks are going to be just critical to his growth."

The Packers are going to need him, too, after the team placed Watkins on injured reserve Saturday. The move sidelines the veteran until at least Week 8 against the Buffalo Bills.

Watkins led the Packers with three catches for 93 yards against Chicago in Week 2 before injuring his hamstring during Wednesday's padded practice.

LaFleur said he and his staff are looking into the rash of soft-tissue injuries the Packers currently are dealing with and is prepared to make whatever adjustments are needed to ensure "we have everybody available for Sundays."

"I feel awful about that because I feel like we probably pushed our guys a little too hard in that regard in coming off a physical game, a night game," LaFleur said. "(Watkins) has done everything in his power to be in great shape, and he is in great shape. You look at the volume and the workload and always trying to look at yourself critically in thinking about what we could've done better."

As disappointing as it is to lose Watkins, Doubs should be in line for even more opportunities to established himself in Green Bay's offense. But don't expect any victory laps.

In the postgame visiting locker room in Tampa, Doubs wasn't basking in the glory of his eight-catch game and first NFL touchdown. The 6-foot-2, 204-pound receiver already had his attention turned to next Sunday.

"I'm just ready to move forward from whatever's happening," Doubs said. "I understand it was a big game, but that's just part of it. Whatever performance – if it was a bad performance, I'd be the same way. Just making sure I stay true to who I am, not just as a player but as a person."

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