The Green Bay Packers are in desperate need of wide receivers who can get open on a consistent basis. As the numbers from their 24-10 loss to the Minnesota Vikings show, Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs just aren’t getting it done. The two wideouts combined for a paltry 51 yards on a whopping 17 total targets — that’s exactly three yards per target — as they struggled to make any of a series of contested catches, a sign that they’re not getting open.
Enter Dontayvion Wicks, the 5th-round rookie receiver who seems to be open consistently. Wicks looks like a player who, based on his tape, deserves more looks. But Wicks continues to be limited to playing a third of the team’s offensive plays or less, while the second-year receivers soak up a massive number of snaps.
It’s frustrating to see the players who are playing well (or at least better than their peers) not being rewarded with more playing time. Will that trend change?
Here’s a look at all of the playing time numbers from Sunday’s loss.
OFFENSE (68 total snaps)
Jordan Love 68
Love threw an interception in his fifth straight game on Sunday, though that pass was ripped away from a receiver and was not entirely his fault. Still, he completed less than 60% of his passes for the fifth time in seven games and posted his lowest net yards per attempt in any game this season (4.36). His accuracy still leaves something to be desired, but his stat line was hurt significantly by drops, as the Packers were charted with six or more, depending on your strictness as a grader. Love did add another 34 yards on four rushing attempts, but many of those yards came on third-and-long scrambles with no receivers open.
AJ Dillon 35, Aaron Jones 35
The Packers continued to gradually ramp up Jones’ playing time, as he crept up to about 50 percent of the offensive snaps. He and Dillon also split carries and pass targets about equally; each had five targets while Jones carried the ball 7 times to Dillon’s 6. But neither player was much of a factor with the offense entirely unable to get moving in the first half.
Romeo Doubs 56, Christian Watson 56, Jayden Reed 53, Dontayvion Wicks 23, Samori Touré 4
The Packers were in 11 personnel on something like 80 percent of their offensive snaps in this game, which makes sense since they were behind by double digits early in the game. But it remains frustrating why Wicks cannot cut farther into the other receivers’ playing time when he is the one getting open most consistently.
Wicks was targeted four times, catching two passes for 28 yards and dropping one, but he was open on more than one other occasion when Love either did not see him or chose not to throw the football. Meanwhile, Doubs and Watson combined for just seven receptions and 51 yards on a whopping 17 targets. Reed was probably the team’s lone bright spot, with 4 grabs on 6 targets for 83 yards, but even he had a moment of disappointment as he had a pass ripped out of his hands for an interception.
Luke Musgrave 49, Tucker Kraft 19, Josiah Deguara 5, Ben Sims 5
Musgrave did not practice for much of the week, but returned to play about 75 percent of the offensive snaps as the team’s primary tight end. However, he caught just two passes for 9 yards amid his ankle injury. With the team abandoning the run early on, Deguara saw little playing time as a blocker, the same going for Sims.
Elgton Jenkins 68, Josh Myers 68, Jon Runyan 68, Zach Tom 68, Yosh Nijman 50, Rasheed Walker 18
After a few abysmal series and immediately following his allowing an awful sack, Walker got the hook in favor of Nijman, who played much better until he had to leave the game late with an injury, bringing Walker back on for the very end of the game. That was one of four sacks that the line allowed in this game, with D.J. Wonnum picking up a pair.
DEFENSE (72 total snaps)
Kenny Clark 55, T.J. Slaton 47, Devonte Wyatt 35, Karl Brooks 23, Colby Wooden 13
Stop us if you’ve heard this before: Clark played pretty well early, then seemed to tail off a bit later as the game went on. Still, he did pick up his 4th sack of the season, though it was on the play on which Kirk Cousins tore his Achilles tendon. Slaton, meanwhile, had one of his best games as a pro, with two tackles for loss and nine total tackles.
While Wyatt recovered a fumble on a sack-strip of backup Jaren Hall, Brooks was the team’s other bright spot as he blocked a Greg Joseph field goal early in the fourth quarter.
Preston Smith 47, Rashan Gary 46, Lukas Van Ness 26, Kingsley Enagbare 25
The Packers have a pretty clear substitution rotation here: Van Ness for Gary and Enagbare for Smith, and they often sub out both veterans at the same time for a full line change on the edge. Smith had a solid game rushing the passer, getting credit for one sack to clean up a pressure from Gary and forcing a fumble on backup QB Jaren Hall for a second sack. That gives Smith four sacks in the last three games after he did not have a single one over the first four weeks.
Quay Walker 72, De’Vondre Campbell 67
Each of the Packers’ inside backers picked up double-digit total tackles, but Walker was unable to set the tone early when he dropped an interception of a Cousins throw over the middle. That came on the second defensive snap of the game and could have been a pick-six — or at least would have set up the offense in field goal range. Although Campbell logged 14 tackles in his return, he struggled to keep up with receivers in zone coverage and to fly to the football in run support.
Jonathan Owens 72, Rudy Ford 72, Anthony Johnson, Jr. 4
With no Darnell Savage, Owens got the start and played every snap, despite going to the locker room for some stitches around his eye late in the first half. Johnson got a couple of reps in dime with Ford dropping down into the slot. Neither player seemed to be much of a positive factor, and the Vikings had receivers open at all levels of the defense throughout much of the game.
Jaire Alexander 72, Rasul Douglas 72, Keisean Nixon 44
All of the Packers’ corners had rough days in coverage against the likes of K.J. Osborn, Jordan Addison, and T.J. Hockenson. Each of those players had six or more receptions and more than 80 yards, with Addison and Hockenson each scoring a touchdown on Alexander and Douglas, respectively. Alexander is still dealing with a back injury that looked like it kept him somewhat limited, which will be worth monitoring moving forward.
SPECIAL TEAMS LEADERS
Deguara 15, Nixon 14, Corey Ballentine 13, Enagbare 13, Dallin Leavitt 13, Isaiah McDuffie 13, Eric Wilson 13, Kraft 11, Slaton 10, Kristian Welch 10