MVS Goes From Game-Time Decision To Big-Time Playmaker
On Monday night against Detroit, Marquez Valdes-Scantling went from blocking to being doubled over backward and dealing with ankle and knee injuries.
On Friday, Valdes-Scantling spoke hopefully – but not optimistically – about being available this week.
On Sunday against the Raiders, he caught two passes for 133 yards in a 42-24 romp. A reception of 59 yards set up the Packers’ first touchdown of the second half and his second was a 74-yard touchdown that put the finishing touches on the blowout victory.
“Marquez didn’t look great early in the week, especially Monday night game, came in Tuesday, not feeling good, Wednesday, not feeling good. Something kind of turned Thursday, I think,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. “I felt like he might give it a go. I was teasing him on sidelines in the fourth quarter there, ‘Bet you’re glad you played.’ He had two catches, 100-some-odd yards and a touchdown. But that’s what it means to be a professional. That’s what it means to be a pro and I’m proud of MVS for stepping up and playing.”
Valdes-Scantling said he showed up at Lambeau Field at about 9:30 a.m. and was a game-time decision. A pregame workout was the determining factor.
“We watched him running with our athletic trainers and they thought he was moving pretty good, so they gave him the green light,” coach Matt LaFleur said. “I know he was battling through it. I know he’s not feeling 100 percent but that’s a lot of guys in this league right now. That’s what it’s all about. I loved the grit that he showed and the determination that he showed, and he came up big for us because he had two huge receptions in this game.”
The first of Valdes-Scantling’s catches, a deep pass on the first play of the second half, was Green Bay’s longest play from scrimmage this season. That mark didn’t last long, though. Midway through the fourth quarter, he caught a short pass, broke a tackle from cornerback Gareon Conley and sprinted 74 yards for a touchdown.
Neither Valdes-Scantling nor Geronimo Allison (concussion and chest) practiced this week but both played. Allison was listed as doubtful on Friday but passed through the concussion protocol and upgraded to questionable on Saturday. He caught four passes for 33 yards, including third-down conversions on Green Bay’s second and third touchdown drives.
“It’s always good to get guys playing, especially battling through some injuries and stuff but also give other guys opportunities to go out and produce and play,” Valdes-Scantling said. “Allen (Lazard) played well, Jake (Kumerow) played well, and just have those guys out and have the opportunity to go out and be good is good for us. We’ve got depth and we all can play. It’s not just one guy goes down and we can’t do it.”
They came up big with star receiver Davante Adams missing a third consecutive game with turf toe.
“I really feel like whether it’s expressed or not, one reason that Marquez played today was because he knows how important it is to the guys in that room,” Rodgers said. “He knows how important it is to me. He knows how important it is to Davante because Davante played damn near a whole season on a terrible ankle. That’s what you do. You go out and perform and play, and I’m really proud of that room.”
Green Bay is 3-0 without Adams. Without him on Sunday, Rodgers shared the wealth. Eight players caught at least two passes, with Allison, tight end Jimmy Graham and running backs Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams contributing a team-high four catches apiece.
“Yeah, I can promise you we need him, and we’re a better offense with 17 on the field,” Rodgers said. “We’ve just been spreading it out a little bit more and guys have been stepping up. I think it’s given everybody a chance to see the talent that we have with Jake Kumerow and Allen Lazard – guys who don’t get a lot of playing time when our first three are healthy. Those guys are talented players. They can really play. And I thought Jimmy had his best performance today, which was great to see. So it’s given guys more opportunities. You know, 17 is so dynamic. He’s open on so many plays, and I think without him there, we’ve had to scheme up plays for other guys, and guys have made plays when their number’s been called.”