Going deep with MVS: More of the rookie WR could help Packers

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The two questions produced simple answers.

The first one, posed to Marquez Valdes-Scantling, went like this: Were you always good at tracking deep passes?

"Yeah," he said.

The second, presented to fellow Green Bay Packers receiver Davante Adams, was this: What makes Valdes-Scantling so good on deep balls?

"Speed," Adams replied.

Sounds simple enough. So simple that perhaps the Packers’ offensive struggles can fixed with just three letters: MVS.

That’s what the rookie fifth-round pick has become known as around the Packers’ locker room. And for his big plays, of course. By no means has he established himself as a volume receiver, but when there’s a deep throw to be made, it’s no wonder Aaron Rodgers has looked his way.

While Rodgers said after Sunday’s loss at New England, one that dropped the Packers to a panic-inducing 3-4-1, that perhaps the best way to turn the offense around is to "keep feeding Davante in those clutch situations," he might be wise to include Valdes-Scantling more, too.

He already has a pair of 100-yard games to his credit. Each one required only three catches -- three for 103 yards against the 49ers on Oct. 15 and three for 101 on Sunday in New England. All three against the Patriots came in the second half, including grabs of 24 and 26 yards on consecutive plays in a tie game (17-17) before running back Aaron Jones’ game-changing fumble on the first snap of the fourth quarter. His 51-yard catch, which was the Packers’ longest play of the game, set up the touchdown that tied the score in the third quarter.

"He’s good at tracking and obviously Aaron’s placement is going to be where it needs to be," Adams said of MVS.

But even Rodgers suggested the 26-yarder on third-and-1 was all the rookie’s doing.

"When the ball left my hand, I thought it was not a great throw," Rodgers said. "He came down with it, both feet inbounds, fantastic, moving to the No. 2 [receiver] spot on the left side, and he made a fingertip catch in tight coverage the next play. So those are plays that you love. He dropped one early, but I told him at halftime, 'I'm going to come back to you.' And sure enough on that first drive, they brought empty pressure, we picked it up and hit him for a big play that kind of got us back in the game, went on to score a touchdown."

In the same breath, however, Rodgers lamented the lack of consistency on offense. Rodgers’ own completion percentage (60.6) is on track for the lowest of his career and his passer rating (98.9) is nearly five points lower than his career average.

"The frustrating thing is that we -- it's a great drive -- [but] sputter, spin our wheels, great drive, three-and-out," Rodgers said. "No consistency."

Valdes-Scantling’s opportunities aren’t likely to lessen, especially with Geronimo Allison facing surgery for his injured groin. But he knows part of his production has been a product of the defensive attention paid to Adams and tight end Jimmy Graham.

"They’re going to draw a lot of double-teams," Valdes-Scantling said. "You can’t double everybody. You’ve got good players around and it opens up other players, and I just took advantage of my opportunities."

Among receivers with at least as many catches as Valdes-Scantling, who has 17, only DeSean Jackson has a better average per reception (22.4) than Valdes-Scantling at 21.1, which is not all that far off from the Packers’ single-season record held by the legendary Don Hutson, who averaged 24.88 yards on 34 catches in 1939.