GREEN BAY, Wis. – Green Bay Packers receiver Allen Lazard went from bottom of the depth chart to favorite target for Aaron Rodgers last season. He helped save the day twice against Detroit, made a diving catch through the snow against the Giants and finished second among the team’s receivers in receptions despite barely playing the first five games.
Lazard, however, said he’d rather deliver a big block than make a big catch. It’s a mentality that started at an early age.
“I would say it stems from, one, my dad, who really taught me the game of football,” Lazard said in a Zoom call on Sunday. “He was a DB and he was a pretty aggressive DB; at least that’s what he tells me and all his friends.
“Going back into high school, I originally started playing safety my freshman, sophomore year. I just like contact. I like hitting. I like making the big hits. I knew consequently that they would lead to big plays and help our team win. Playing safety helped me go into taking that mind-set of filling the C-gap and flipping it to the other side of the ball where now I’ve got to block the safety. So, it’s the same mind-set and just trying to dominate, trying to impose my will upon my opponent.”
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For what it’s worth, of the 125 receivers to participate in at least 100 run-blocking snaps, Lazard ranked 16th in ProFootballFocus.com’s blocking grades. Coach Matt LaFleur, speaking earlier in the day, said defenders had “better put in their mouth guard and buckle up their chin strap” when Lazard is on the field. At 6-foot-5 and 227 pounds, he brings overwhelming size to the battle. Lazard is more than just a big guy, though.
“Big block, for sure. I’m a giver, I would say, more so than a taker as a person,” Lazard said. “So I get more excited seeing Jamaal (Williams) or Aaron (Jones) bust open for a 30-, 40-yard run off a key block that I know if I didn’t make this block, it would not have been able to be such a huge play. I find way more satisfaction. As far as improving, it doesn’t take too much to block. I think that’s a common misconception as far as wide receiver goes is that it’s all about positioning, hands getting inside. For me, it’s all about one, knowing what the defense is trying to do, knowing what we’re trying to do and just kind of getting in the way. I’m very obviously fortunate to be a very large human being, especially for the wide receiver position. That definitely helps a lot but I think it’s all about attitude and effort.”