Romeo Doubs

Packers WR Romeo Doubs Suffers High Ankle Sprain

The Packers have received another set of updates regarding more of their injured players from yesterday’s loss to the Lions. Wideout Romeo Doubs is the latest at that position to be headed for an extended absence.

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The fourth-round rookie suffered a high ankle sprain on Sunday, reports NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (Twitter link). While more testing will be needed to confirm an exact timeline for his return, the news is likely to keep him sidelined for between four and six weeks. Assuming that is the case, the Packers will be even more shorthanded at the position.

Green Bay was already without veteran Randall Cobb, who is currently on IR. He, like nearly every other Packers receiver, has missed at least some time during the season, one in which the team’s offense has struggled mightily to find a rhythm in the passing game. Doubs had been the only WR who suited up for every game prior to this injury.

The 6-2, 200-pounder put himself on the NFL draft radar with consecutive 1,000-yard seasons to close out his college career at Nevada. Part of an infusion of young talent at the position alongside Christian Watson, Doubs has managed 314 yards and three touchdowns in his rookie campaign. He ranks second on the team in receiving yards amongst wideouts, and third overall.

Given the team’s struggles on offense, Green Bay was involved in discussions to bring in notable additions at last week’s trade deadline. They offered a second-rounder to the Steelers for Chase Claypool, but found themselves runners-up to the Bears on that front. It was reported yesterday that they also tried to land tight end Darren Waller, and put a first-rounder on the table for the Panthers in their attempt to acquire wideout D.J. Moore. With nothing materializing, though, the team’s shorthanded group of in-house options will continue to be relied on.

In more positive news, running back Aaron Jones appears to have avoided any major injury. Testing on his ankle – which required him to wear a walking boot after the game – came back negative, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link). As a result, he should be able to practice this week and play on Sunday against the Cowboys. A strong running game will be crucial moving forward, with another key piece of Green Bay’s passing attack unavailable.

Development Of Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs Will Influence Aaron Rodgers’ Retirement Decision

It seems likely that the playing future of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will once again be a prominent storyline when the calendar turns to 2023. Although the extension he signed this offseason is effectively a three-year, $150MM accord, Rodgers is not necessarily guaranteed to play out the life of the contract.

Indeed, as Jason Wilde of the Wisconsin State Journal writes, the development of rookie wideouts Romeo Doubs and Christian Watson will be instrumental in Rodgers’ decision-making process. Green Bay has not drafted a receiver in the first round since 2002, and that fact is frequently mentioned in reports discussing Rodgers’ sometimes strained relationship with the club. After the Packers traded Davante Adams this offseason — a trade made necessary when Adams, noting Rodgers’ uncertain future, declined to sign an extension with Green Bay — it stands to reason that the progress made by Rodgers’ young weapons will factor into his 2023 plans.

It appears that the Packers missed the mark when they selected Amari Rodgers in the third round of the 2021 draft. The Clemson product appeared in only 103 offensive snaps in his rookie year and has seen just four offensive snaps thus far in 2022. He is floundering at or near the bottom of Green Bay’s WR depth chart, and even his kick return duties may be in jeopardy. As of the time of this writing, the Packers are in the midst of their Week 5 contest against the Giants in London, and Watson has been handling kickoff returns (Amari Rodgers is still back deep for punts, but he has fumbled a punt return).

Doubs and Watson, though, offer more hope. Doubs, selected in the fourth round of this year’s draft, has been targeted 16 times over the past two games and has reeled in 13 catches for 120 yards and two TDs. Watson, a second-round pick, has not seen as much action, but Rodgers was effusive in his praise of both players.

“I think both guys can be ‘dudes,'” Rodgers said during his recent appearance on The Pat McAfee Show. “It’s going to be, how does their confidence progress? How many plays can they lock and anchor into their mind as places to go back to and think about when they’ve maybe had a stretch where they haven’t played their best ball or maybe they need some inspiration? … But I think they both have opportunities to be really, really good players in the league.”

If Doubs and Watson progress as Aaron Rodgers hopes, they could find themselves as the team’s top WR options in 2023. Indeed, Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, and Sammy Watkins are all out of contract at season’s end, and Amari Rodgers’ hold on his roster spot seems tenuous at best. In a scenario where Doubs and Watson have proven themselves worthy, Aaron Rodgers may want to stick around for at least one more year to reap the rewards.

“Look, my decision, when it comes down to it, will be, obviously, the physical part, the mental part, seeing where the team is at,” Aaron Rodgers said. “There’s some moving pieces that’ll factor in, for sure. But seeing the development of [Doubs and Watson] can’t help but be a part of the decision.”

After a Week 1 dud against the Vikings, the Packers have won three in a row. Aaron Rodgers has completed 69% of his passes and has thrown six TDs against three interceptions.

NFC WR Notes: Isabella, Turpin, Doubs, Turner

Andy Isabella came to the Cardinals in 2019 with plenty of expectations. The 2019 second-rounder has yet to live up to his potential, though, which has led to his name being involved in plenty of trade speculation.

Arizona was shopping the 25-year-old speedster in the run-up to free agency, after his first three seasons in the league resulted in just 31 catches and three touchdowns. Given that they granted Isabella permission to seek a new destination, it seemed inevitable that a swap could be coming, but nothing materialized.

Immediately after the draft – during which the Cardinals acquired Marquise Brown – the UMass alum was again available to outside teams. However, Isabella has impressed the team during training camp and preseason, and he appears to have increased his chances of finishing his rookie contract in the desert. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler tweets that he has “had as good a camp as just about anyone,” which should strengthen his grip on a roster spot. Aside from Brown, the Cardinals also have DeAndre Hopkins, Rondale Moore and A.J. Green ahead of Isabella on the depth chart, but he could be in line for a career-year in 2022.

Here are some other WR notes from around the NFC:

  • The Cowboys took a flier on the USFL’s leading receiver, KaVontae Turpin, late last month. After the TCU alum enjoyed a two-touchdown preseason contest against the Chargers in the return game, HC Mike McCarthy was asked about whether or not Turpin would handle the team’s kick return duties come Week 1. “I think there is a great chance he will be returning kicks against Tampa Bay,” he responded (Twitter link via Clarence Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram) – a rather ringing endorsement of the five-foot-nine, 153-pounder looking to turn his spring success into a full-time NFL role.
  • Aaron Rodgers was publicly critical of the young receivers the Packers are incorporating into their offense last week, but one of them has established a noteworthy rapport with the reigning MVP. Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer notes that Romeo Doubs has “really” earned Rodgers’ trust this summer, something which could pay dividends for Green Bay’s offense. The Nevada product put up back-to-back 1,000-yard campaigns to finish his college career, and has seen first-team reps in training camp. He could be in line for a productive rookie season in a WR corps featuring plenty of unknowns.
  • 49ers wideout Malik Turner received a fine of $5,750 for unsportsmanlike conduct during the team’s preseason win over the Vikings, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero tweets. The 26-year-old split his first four seasons evenly between the Seahawks and Cowboys, playing primarily on special teams. He is likely to have a similar role in San Francisco, though the league’s discipline won’t help his impressions with the team in the build-up to the season.

WR Notes: Packers, Brown, Agholor, Bucs

The Packers have had a more eventful offseason than nearly every other team in the league. One of the results of their moves is a decided lack of proven commodities at the receiver position, something which sparked quarterback Aaron Rodgers recent comments about the improvement which needs to be made amongst some of their new pass-catchers.

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“The young guys, especially young receivers, we’ve got to be way more consistent,” the reigning MVP said, via PFF’s Doug Kyed“A lot of drops, a lot of bad route decisions, running the wrong route. We’ve got to get better in that area.”

Per Kyed, Rodgers has stated they he wants Allen Lazard to operate as the “top option,” something which doesn’t come as much of a surprise given his NFL resume. Rodgers’ preference would be for Lazard to be joined as a starter by veterans Sammy Watkins and Randall Cobb – a trio which would include, by far, the most experience available. However, rookies Romeo Doubs (who has seen first-team reps) and Christian Watson (whom the Packers traded up to select in the second round) could unseat Watkins and/or Cobb, leaving the team with more upside – but less certainty – at an important position as they look to contend for a Super Bowl.

Here are some more WR notes from around the league:

  • Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was asked about the possibility of signing Antonio Brown yesterday. The former All-Pro hasn’t generated much interest since his colorful exit from the Buccaneers in the middle of a game last season, but would add experience to a banged-up Dallas receiver room. Instead, Jones replied “we want to give these young guys a real chance to make this team” (Twitter link via Jon Machota of The Athletic). A number of inexperienced wideouts are competing for depth spots behind the likes of CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup, James Washington and Jalen Tolbert, and will be allowed to continue doing so for the remainder of the preseason.
  • Kyed tweets that one of the surprise omissions from the Patriots’ depth chart, according to some, could be Nelson AgholorHowever, he notes that cutting him would not be financially viable (doing so would incur a dead cap charge of $10MM), and adds that teams which could be interested in trading for him are not willing to do so at his current salary of $9MM. More to the point, the team’s new offense could allow the 29-year-old to enjoy a bounceback season from the underwhelming 37-473-3 statline he produced last year.
  • The Buccaneers are set at the top of their depth chart, but also have a number of intriguing wideouts competing for rotational roles. As a result, veterans like Scotty MillerCyril Grayson and Breshad Perriman could find themselves on the roster bubble. Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times notes that a trio of UDFAs – Jerreth SternsDeven Thompkins and Kaylon Geiger – have stood out in camp so far, to the point where head coach Todd Bowles said “those guys are making a case” for spots on the 53-man roster. Several noteworthy cuts will be made in Tampa by the end of August, but who will be among them remains very much up in the air.

Packers Notes: Rodgers, Bakhtiari, Jenkins

The Packers are hoping a pair of rookie wideouts will help replace the production of former receiver Davante Adams. Second-round pick Christian Watson and fourth-round pick Romeo Doubs will be expected to contribute during the 2022 campaign, and while the duo obviously doesn’t have the expertise of a veteran wideout, quarterback Aaron Rodgers understands GM Brian Gutekunst‘s decision to pivot toward youth.

“We’re still a draft-and-develop team,” Rodgers told SI.com’s Albert Breer. “I know we say that a lot; that’s most of the league, they’d like to be like that. There are less teams like the old Washington [teams] when they were trying to buy a team in free agency in many years. You’d like to draft guys and develop them and give them second contracts in-house. But there are needs and there are opportunities. I’ve always felt like adding one or two veteran guys at or around the minimum can really pay huge dividends in important spots.

“We’ve relied on young guys for much of my career. There are pros and cons to both those things. But I like Brian and his staff, and I think everybody in the building, myself included, has tried to focus on growing a little bit more and communicating a little bit more.”

Rodgers mentions a team’s need for cheap veterans, and Breer notes that the Packers are still open to adding another receiver. Once Watson returns to the practice field, Green Bay’s young duo will join Allen Lazard, Sammy Watkins, and Randall Cobb atop the depth chart.

More notes out of Green Bay:

  • With Tom Brady turning 45 last week, Rodgers was asked if he could envision himself playing in the NFL until that age. “No, I don’t,” Rodgers answered definitively (via Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com). Rodgers is set to turn 39 in December.
  • During a recent podcast appearance, Rodgers admitted to using a psychedelic called ayahuasca. According to Peter King of Football Morning in America, the NFL won’t be retroactively punishing Rodgers for use of the plant, especially since he didn’t test positive for a banned substance. Both the league and the NFLPA confirmed to PFT’s Mike Florio that ayahuasca is “neither a prohibited compound under the substance-abuse policy nor a PED.” As Florio notes, there is some precedent for the NFL going after a player who admits to using “a given substance,” with the league previously attempting to put Randy Moss in a drug-test program after he admitted to smoking marijuana “every blue moon.”
  • Some good news on the injury front for the Packers. Gutekunst told reporters that he’s hopeful offensive linemen David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins will both return from their respective injuries early on during the 2022 campaign. “They are both doing really, really well. I think they both have a shot to play early in the season,” Gutekunst said (h/t to Zach Kruse of PackersWire). “They are progressing very well.” Bakhtiari tore his ACL in December of 2020, and he was active for only one January contest during the 2021 campaign. Jenkins tore his ACL during Week 11 of the 2021 season. Both offensive linemen were placed on PUP to begin training camp, and there’s probably little chance we see them during the preseason.
  • The Packers had in a handful of RBs for a workout earlier this week. According to ESPN’s Field Yates (on Twitter), Dexter Williams, Kalen Ballage, Jaylen Samuels, Stevie Scott, and Calvin Turner auditioned for the team. Green Bay ended up signing Williams earlier today.