On paper, Marquez Valdes-Scantling’s second year was broadly similar to his rookie campaign. He played in all 16 games, starting exactly the same number (10) as he did in his first year. His catches and yards were down slightly, but he averaged more yards per reception and scored the same number of touchdowns.
Outside the box score, though, things were entirely different. Though he started the season as a regular part of the wide receiver rotation, by the end of the year, Valdes-Scantling saw his playing time dwindle to virtually nothing, including a grand total of six postseason snaps on offense. In the Packers’ season-ending loss to the 49ers, the fastest Packers wide receiver was off the bench for a grand total of one play.
Speaking to reporters after the Packers’ first padded practice of the 2020 season, Valdes-Scantling chalked his disappointing year up to injury.
“That was the first time in my career that I’d ever really been injured,” he said. “I was able to play the whole season, fortunately, but I wasn’t myself and it played a part in how I played”
It was actually two injuries — problems with a knee and an ankle — that hampered Valdes-Scantling throughout the 2019 season, and of the two, the ankle was more bothersome, lingering throughout the latter portion of the Packers’ schedule. But now, fully healthy, Valdes-Scantling is ready to put his disappointing year behind him.
Thanks to an offseason JUGS machine purchase, the third-year receiver was able to get in plenty of work, pandemic notwithstanding. And though it’s still early, he’s made a few noteworthy catches according to reporters on the ground, including a connection with Tim Boyle on a beautiful deep ball. Just don’t expect him to get too excited about it just yet.
“The ball was thrown up, so I have to go make the play,” he said. “It doesn’t give me any confidence in that regard, because that’s what I’m expecting to do whenever the ball is in the air.”