Marquez Valdes-Scantling has spent much of his career so far frustrating people — coaches, fans, his quarterback, and himself. His role portends to big swings and Sunday was no different. But Sunday’s game between the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings was actually the perfect MVS performance.
No, it was not without errors. That is all part of the MVS experience though. He has bad hands. He doesn’t track the ball particularly well. His routes are not good. He has the one thing that plays in spite of all that though, and that’s speed. For the Packers’ offense to keep rolling, they’ll need him to fulfill this role.
Just by the nature of MVS’ role — the deep threat — he’s going to be prone to big swings. One catch or drop will decide whether or not he had a good game. Except on Sunday. Too often when MVS inevitably made a mistake, either the coaching staff or Aaron Rodgers would eliminate him from the offense. Not on Sunday, though. Despite two noteworthy drops, MVS still had a very good game.
The Packers used him exactly how you would hope. It seems obvious, but it’s important to use players in roles that they can succeed in. The Packers should not be asking MVS to run precise routes or to be a high-volume target guy. Where his speed can play is on deep routes, crossing routes, and quick outs. And that is how Green Bay used him.
And despite dropping a third down conversion and what looked like a certain touchdown, MVS was the Packers most impactful receiver against Minnesota, leading the team in total receiving EPA.
This is what an MVS game is supposed to look like. He is going to make mistakes. He is going to drop the ball. But his physical gifts are rare and he will get open if you make his role simple and well-defined. It is vital in those situations that Rodgers continues to give him chances, as he did on Sunday. The frustrations are understandable, but the payoff is significant.