The Green Bay Packers have had an intense offseason so far and aren’t even close to being done with it. Even though free agency and the 2021 NFL Draft have come and gone, there are still a lot of questions about what the Packers will look like in Week 1. Mainly, will Aaron Rodgers be the starting quarterback or will he sit out the season like he threatened or get traded?
No matter what the situation is with Rodgers, the Packers have to prepare for the upcoming season. If he plays, Green Bay will once again be a Super Bowl contender and have a chance to be one of the best teams in the NFC. On the other hand, if he chooses to skip the season, the keys to the offense will be turned over to second-year signal caller Jordan Love, which is a scary thought.
Matt LaFleur has a tough job ahead of him. However, even amid the Rodgers drama, there is one major X-factor already standing out for the Packers ahead of the 2021 NFL season.
That X-factor would be young wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Whether Rodgers or Love is playing quarterback, they are going to need their weapons to step up. MVS has the potential to be a big-time playmaker, but he has not been able to put everything together consistently quite yet.
During the 2020 season with the Packers, Valdes-Scantling racked up 33 receptions for 690 yards and six touchdowns. Those numbers average out to an impressive 20.9 yards per reception. Obviously, he can make a big play anytime he touches the football.
All of that being said, let’s take a look at why Marquez Valdes-Scantling is the biggest X-factor for the Packers even with the drama surrounding Aaron Rodgers going on.
Why MVS Is The Packers’ Biggest X-Factor For 2021
Quite simply, the Packers need the explosiveness that Valdes-Scantling brings to the field on a much more consistent basis. He has the ability to take the ball to the end zone every time he touches it. Opposing defenses have difficulty stopping him down the field as well.
If Rodgers is the starting quarterback, he thrives on taking big shots down the field. Time and time again, he found MVS for a deep pass or a touchdown. There were quite a few opportunities that Valdes-Scantling failed to capitalize on as well that would have given him even bigger numbers.
Speaking of the failed opportunities, the biggest issue that the Packers need Valdes-Scantling to fix would be his issue with drops. He is prone to beat defenders deep and then drop a wide-open pass that would have led to a touchdown. If he can fix that problem, he will be one of the most dangerous deep-threat wideouts in the entire league.
However, if Love ends up being the quarterback, he will need wide receivers to step up and make plays for him. Having a threat like Valdes-Scantling could be extremely valuable for him. Love isn’t as good of a deep thrower as Rodgers, but he still has a good arm and could make some plays with the 26-year-old receiver.
Green Bay did go out and draft Amari Rodgers in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft. They also have Allen Lazard on the roster. Both of those guys are quality players, but no one on the roster has the speed or playmaking ability that Valdes-Scantling has.
He may not be the player who powers the Packers to the Super Bowl, but without him playing at a high level, making their way to that goal would be much more difficult. Marquez Valdes-Scantling is the biggest X-factor on the roster this season. If he plays well, the Packers’ offense is going to be elite once again.
Expect to see Valdes-Scantling come out with a chip on his shoulder looking to prove that he can consistently be the Packers’ No. 2 wide receiver. If he can do that, Green Bay will be feeling really good about its chances once again to be a top-three NFL offense.