Matt LaFleur takes practice seriously
The Green Bay Packers are bringing along some youthful wide receivers this season. With Sammy Watkins on injured reserve and the Packers wide receiver corps banged up in the early season, head coach Matt LaFleur is asking his young players like Amari Rodgers, Romeo Doubs, Christian Watson, and potentially later in the season Samori Toure to adjust to life in the NFL quickly. LaFleur is now suggesting that his receivers pick up the pace at practice to have more game opportunities.
Doubs responded well to the chances he had in Week 3. His eight catches for 73 yards and one touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were a breakout game. The rookie is now in company with only two other NFL rookies in history with as many receptions, yards, and touchdowns through three games. Doubs is getting the job done in games. He’s quickly outpacing another player the Packers had high hopes for, Amari.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been complaining about his wide receivers’ practice since training camp. LaFleur was also noticing issues at practice. LaFleur understands the importance of how fundamentals that are shown in practice translate to games. In Monday’s press conference, he sent a clear message that Amari needs to improve his performance in practice.
Per Zach Jacobson, LaFleur commented on Amari’s practice Monday:
“It always starts with practice first and then you get those opportunities in the game.”
Trying to read between the lines here. On Amari Rodgers, Matt LaFleur said this at the end of his answer today: “It always starts with practice first and then you get those opportunities in the game.”
— zach jacobson (@itszacharyj) September 27, 2022
Amari needs to have better practices
Amari has been helpful as a special teams returner, but not much else this season. He has no catches heading into Week 4. Those are disappointing stats from a former third-round draft pick. Amari has said he needs to build trust with Aaron. One of the ways he said he could do that was by doing well against a good Packers defense in practice. That doesn’t appear to have happened in the early season.
Amari needs to up his practice game soon if he wants to play more this season. Matt LaFleur has given Amari only four offensive snaps in the regular season. That number is even more shocking, considering that injuries so deplete the Packers’ wide receivers that they elevated Juwann Winfree again in Week 3. Winfree has 22 snaps on the Packers offense through Week 3.
Aaron hinted at how he feels about Amari following the Week 1 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. He appears to agree with LaFleur that Amari’s practices show he’s not ready to play more in games yet. One wonders how Amari will respond in practice this week now that LaFleur’s stern message has been sent.