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With Eight Catches, Doubs ‘Starts Climbing’

No Packers rookie receiver in the Super Bowl era caught more passes than Romeo Doubs did vs. the Buccaneers on Sunday.
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – Green Bay Packers receiver Romeo Doubs caught eight passes at Tampa Bay on Sunday. The only rookie in franchise history to catch more passes in a game? The legendary Max McGee in 1954. That was 68 years ago. Not only was that before there was a Vince Lombardi Trophy, that’s before Vince Lombardi had arrived in Green Bay.

“It was a great moment to be in, with me being the first in my family to play at this level,” Doubs said on Wednesday. “It’s big for not just myself but I like to think outside and see the kids that are inspired by me watching, my family watching, friends watching. It’s bigger than just playing football for me.”

Doubs is about as even-keeled as they get, a trait that probably came in handy as he made his first NFL start on Sunday against one of the NFL’s powerhouse defenses. Doubs caught three passes on the opening series, including his first career touchdown, en route to what he and the team hope will be the first of many big days.

“I don’t think the stage was too big for him on any of the plays,” passing game coordinator/receivers coach Jason Vrable said after Thursday’s practice. “He wasn’t nervous. You guys who’ve got to know him, he’s calm, cool and collected. That’s how he plays out there.”

Vrable called Doubs a “workaholic.” As he spoke at about 5 p.m., he figured Doubs might be catching passes from a JUGS machine inside the Don Hutson Center.

“He loves ball. Since I met the kid when he came on his (pre-draft) visit, that’s the one thing I knew from him,” Vrable continued. “I’m like, ‘This kid truly loves football, above everything else.’ He prepared, he had a great offseason. I know you guys always talk about how he's making some plays in practice, and it was the truth. You could see it, you could feel it from him. I told him it was only a matter of time before you start climbing.”

A fourth-round pick from Nevada who put up monster numbers against lesser competition by catching a barrage of screens and bombs, Doubs has been impressive from Day 1. He got plenty of playing time the first two weeks. With Sammy Watkins on injured reserve, Doubs moved into the starting lineup against Tampa Bay.

Obviously, it’s just one game. But if Doubs keeps building, he might be a fixture in the starting lineup for years to come.

“He’s going to be one of the guys,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. “There’s going to be four, five guys who are going to get a lot of opportunities. …

“He’s making enough mistakes to learn from them, and he does, and he’s making enough positive plays to have those anchor points of positivity where he can think back about the plays that he made that were really solid plays in the game. He’s a great kid, cares about it, catches the ball with his hands, and I think this is just starting to see the possibilities. There’s a lot of growth for him to come.”

There were some mistakes. Doubs fumbled his first catch of the day. Vrable pointed to a couple poor releases and “maybe one” mental error. Otherwise, Doubs graded “extremely well” against one of the best teams in the NFL.

“He made some big plays which we know he’s capable of, and we’re very excited about him moving forward,” offensive coordinator Adam Stenavich said on Thursday. “He has great hands and he can do some good things once he catches the ball. Yeah, it was really encouraging to see that and hopefully there’s a lot more of that to come.”

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Doubs was the 19th receiver selected in April’s draft. Through three games, he trails only first-round picks Garrett Wilson of the Jets (18), Chris Olave of the Saints (17) and Drake London of the Falcons (16) in receptions. Of all rookie receivers targeted at least three times, he is No. 1 with a catch rate of 87.5 percent.

On the field before the game, Rodgers said he told Doubs it would be a good day to score his first touchdown. He did that on the first drive when he caught a short pass and powered through two defenders at the goal line.

For years, Rodgers has talked about the trust that must be earned to get on the field and get the football. Catching eight passes in an early-season showdown is a sign of their early connection.

“As long I feel the trust go up by a percent every day,” Doubs said, “then only good things can happen.”

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