A short memory is a big deal for a young player in the NFL. One bad play can’t shatter a player’s confidence.
It appears Green Bay Packers rookie Christian Watson has the type of short memory and enduring confidence necessary to get past the play he missed on his first NFL snap from scrimmage on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium.
After roasting veteran corner Patrick Peterson with a double move, Watson got a few yards beyond the nearest defender and would have coasted into the end zone for a 75-yard touchdown had he caught Aaron Rodgers’ perfectly-thrown deep ball on the Packers’ first play Sunday.
Shaken confidence after a missed opportunity? Nope. The rookie took responsibility for the drop and made it clear he’s confident he’ll get the next one.
“I just know it’s a play that I’m going to make 99 times out of 100,” Watson said. “Going forward, I’m going to make that play every single time.”
The Packers are banking on it. Watson, standing 6-4 with elite speed, looks like the team’s best deep threat, and the Matt LaFleur offense requires a field-stretcher.
Drops happen. It’s a slight concern given some of the issues Watson had at North Dakota State, but there’s an obvious bright side here: The Packers were confident enough in the rookie to dial up a play specifically for him on the first play of the regular season, and his unique athletic ability – especially his speed – created an ideal big-play opportunity.
Rodgers said he lobbied for the deep shot on the first play and complimented Watson for running a “great route” against Peterson.
Now, it’s about finishing the play.
Despite the early drop, Watson still ended up playing the second-most snaps among Packers receivers in the opener. He’s going to be on the field, and he’s going to get more opportunities to beat corners vertically and create chances for Rodgers to attack deep.