Green Bay Packers rookie wide receiver played 28 snaps, ran 15 routes and received seven targets during his NFL preseason debut on Friday night in San Francisco. Doubs caught three of the seven targets for 45 yards and one touchdown.
Let’s break down his seven targets to help evaluate his debut:
Target No. 1: Doubs, lined up on the perimeter, beats Ka’dar Hollman with an inside stem release and then stacks the cornerback vertically to maintain downfield separation. Jordan Love’s throw is a bit overdone and inside, and Hollman’s contact midway through the route slows Doubs just enough. It was a big play missed. But Doubs was open.
Target No. 2: Nothing missed about this one. Doubs wins against press coverage from the slot, this time earning an outside release before using pure speed to run past Tavaris Moore on the fade. Love sees it, throws a good ball and the Packers have their first six points of the preseason. Pretty release, excellent deep speed. Note: this is a concept/throw Aaron Rodgers loves to hit.
Target No. 3: Simple slant/flat concept. Doubs works inside the coverage, the linebacker vacates the area to cover the running back and Love has a simple completion. Good route here. He worked upfield enough to get the corner to turn his shoulder/hips, creating the inside release.
Target No. 4: A quick 5-yard out route from the slot against off coverage. Easy pitch and catch for a few yards.
Target No. 5: Once again, Doubs creates some separation on a vertical, this time getting behind cornerback Ambry Thomas (who was playing with outside leverage) with an outside move. He stacks and fights through contact (using a subtle little arm bar) but Love’s throw is a little undercooked this time. Doubs attempts to work back and make the play but there’s contact at the catch point and it falls incomplete. If Love had led him out front, Doubs might’ve scored. He had a yard and a half of separation as the ball is thrown.
Target No. 6: Love’s second interception. Doubs ran a delayed, five-yard out route from a stacked alignment. The concept works well, and Doubs releases well against inside leverage. However, Love’s throw is high and inside, forcing Doubs to attempt a spinning catch with the cornerback in his hip pocket. He originally appears to make the contested catch. Upon further review, officials deemed Doubs lost control of the ball, ruling the play an interception. Doubs needs to finish the play. Love also needs to throw a better ball.
Target No. 7: Deep comeback route off play-action. There’s not enough separation, and Love’s throw missed a little inside and didn’t give Doubs much of a chance to make the play. Doubs could have been more physical at the catch point to shield the defender, who worked inside and broke up the pass.
Doubs also dropped an uncontested pass on an action-keeper play that was eventually negated by penalty.
Overall, there was a lot to like here, especially in terms of Doubs’ ability to win at the line of scrimmage and stack cornerbacks vertically. He’s going to create big plays early in his NFL career down the field because he understands how important the release is to creating downfield separation and then how to use angles and leverage to keep the corner trailing. It was only one half of preseason football but Doubs looks physically ready to play at this level. And his speed is a legitimate asset.
However, there is this to consider. Doubs’ run blocking? Questionable in the debut. It’s an important area for Matt LaFleur in this offense, and Doubs must be better. From Ben Fennell:
#Packers rookie WR Romeo Doubs is turning a lot of heads with his receiving ability… but there's still plenty of room to improve in other areas!
LaFleur will be on his ass about blocking – assignments, eyes, angles, effort, leverage… You CANNOT be the liability pic.twitter.com/dDDsCdPKBp
— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) August 13, 2022
The hype for Doubs looks legitimate. He’s a fourth-round pick with a real chance to play important snaps for the Packers offense early in his career. Can he keep beating up on better cornerbacks? We’ll see, starting next month. But he’s off to a terrific start, both in terms of practice performance and his preseason debut.