1 player the Packers need to step up in 2021

Sports

Matt LaFleur’s club has won two straight division titles and reached the NFC Championship Game each time. But the Green Bay Packers need a little more.

Perhaps the biggest thing that needs to step up in “Titletown” would be the relationship between the organization and the reigning league MVP (see Zach Kruse of PackersWire.com). It’s a different topic for another time although it seems to be a daily subject when it comes to the immediate future of the defending NFC North champions.

Wide receiver Davante Adams has been nothing short of sensational for the Green Bay Packers for the last few seasons. And he and quarterback Aaron Rodgers have done some amazing things together. In 2020, Adams hauled in 17 of his field leader’s 48 touchdown passes. But the latter could still use another reliable wideout.

Yes, tight end Robert Tonyan is an emerging star and finished with 52 catches and 11 scores this past season. Pro Bowler Aaron Jones is a sure-handed option out of the backfield. But the leader in yards per reception for Matt LaFleur’s club this past season (20.9 average) was three-year pro Marquez Valdes-Scantling.

Can the Packers rely on Marquez Valdes-Scantling to break out in 2021?

A fifth-round draft choice in 2018, he has appeared in every one of the Packers’ 52 overall games (including playoffs) since he entered the league. His six touchdown grabs in 2020 was two more than he managed in his first two seasons combined. His regular-season resume reads 97 catches for 1,723 yards and 10 score.

But he’s been targeted a combined 192 times over that span, a hit-or-miss reception percentage of 50.5. All told, that is a highly disappointing showing and progress must be made as the three-year pro enters the final year of his rookie contract.

Who knows what the season holds for this franchise as Rodgers recently skipped a mandatory minicamp. That means 2020 first-round pick Jordan Love, one of five quarterbacks on the roster (see Ourlads) is getting plenty of work. Regardless of who’s throwing the ball in 2021, it’s important that Valdes-Scantling take a big step forward.

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