If I were to tell you the Packers were down Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Geronimo Allison in the same game, I’m sure you would expect Rodgers to struggle. Rodgers threw for 283 yards, which is the second most this season, and tied his season-high with 2 touchdowns (Jones and Graham both dropped touchdowns). Valdes-Scantling eventually returned to the game, but the top receiver was not him, it was an undrafted free agent who initially did not make the 53-man roster. Allen Lazard came up big for the Packers.
Allen Lazard had a strong showing in the preseason for the Packers. In the three games played with the Packers he had 6 receptions on 11 targets, 114 yards, and one touchdown. Lazard went from a training camp body to a roster hopeful, but unfortunately he was released from the 53-man roster and signed to the practice squad. Lazard did not spend much time on the practice squad and was promoted before the season opener after Jace Sternberger was placed on IR after an injury in the final preseason game.
Lazard started the season as the 6th receiver on the depth chart behind Adams, MVS, Allison, Davis, Kumerow, and Shepherd. Even as the 6th receiver Lazard stayed ready. We know how the NFL goes though, no matter where you are on the depth chart, there is always a chance for you to step up. Injuries to Adams, MVS, and Allison combined with Davis being traded and Shepherd struggling allowed Lazard to have a chance to show off his hard work.
Rodgers mentioned in his post game interview after their 23-22 win over the Lions that Lazard’s work ethic was unmatched. He would take notes in the meeting room and Rodgers took notice. So much so that Rodgers looked to the receiver’s coach and said he wanted Lazard in the game. Lazard went into that game having only 1 catch for 7 yards, but that did not affect his confidence.
“I may have put in a good word there in the fourth quarter to get him some opportunities,” Rodgers told the media after the game. Rodgers loved Lazards confidence. “A guy basically his second time playing telling me what routes he wants, I felt pretty good about where he was at confidence-wise.” Lazard saw his opportunity and took full advantage.
The first play Lazard was in Rodgers targeted him with a jump ball that Lions defensive back Justin Coleman broke up, but Rodgers knew the opening would be there. The very next play Rodgers launched a perfect time to a tightly covered Lazard for a 35-yard touchdown.
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) October 15, 2019
Lazard finished the game with 4 receptions on 5 targets and led the team with 65 yards. With Adams’ return still questionable next week against the Raiders and Allison likely in concussion protocol, Lazard has most likely earned himself a bigger role in week 7. Even with Adams’ return, the Packers are still struggling for playmakers at wide receiver. Allison has struggled with drops and neither Kumerow nor Shepherd has had a standout game.
Lazard has a chance to become a consistent weapon on the Packers offense. It is up to him to seize the opportunity again next week against the Raiders.