Aaron Rodgers sent a strong message about the future of Sammy Watkins Get Whole Detail

Aaron Rodgers sent a strong message about the future of Sammy Watkins
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Getty Aaron Rodgers thinks Green Bay could lead to good things for Sammy Watkins.

The Green Bay Packers are still figuring out their new team that gets just two games into the 2022 season, but Aaron Rodgers is already starting to see how the stars can align for Sammy Watkins’ NFL future.

Watkins put on a stellar performance for the Packers in their home opener against the Chicago Bears in Week 2, catching three of his four targets for 93 yards and a 55-yard touchdown pass that helped seal the 27-game winning streak. – sports. The 29-year-old NFC North rival has served as the centerpiece for Rodgers as the Packers begin to bring in their inexperienced receiving corps, and he heads into Week 3 as the leader in receiving yards (111) and tied for most. the most. reception (six).

A leadership role wasn’t guaranteed for Watkins when he joined the Packers in mid-April after All-Pro Davante Adams was traded to the Las Vegas Raiders. At the time, it seemed likely that the Packers would target receivers in the 2022 NFL Draft (they drafted three) and had a new candidate that Rodgers backed up as WR1 legend Allen Lazard.

With so much uncertainty, the four-time MVP quarterback said he didn’t really have any expectations for Watkins to arrive, but the veteran wide receiver made an early impression on Rodgers in training camp and quickly proved himself. A fantastic “friend” was ready to take advantage of his “special opportunity” in Green Bay.

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“I knew Sammy and I watched him a little bit, but I didn’t really know him, so there was no expectation or projection when he was coming in,” Rodgers told reporters on Sept. 21. “I just came in and I was a friend.” wonderful and a great man who is really deep and thoughtful and an interesting man who is interested outside of football and very talkative and interesting, just a fantastic man. I loved our conversation. He loves football, he cares. He realizes how special this opportunity is for him, and we want him to succeed and make this a tie for the second half of his career.”

Watkins could be a springboard to his career’s resurgence

Watkins was something of a wild card during his first eight seasons in the NFL. The Buffalo Bills selected him No. 4 overall in the 2014 NFL draft with high expectations and he only saw those expectations grow after catching 65 passes for 982 yards and six touchdowns in his rookie season. Watkins followed up his first career 1,000-yard, nine-touchdown season in 2015 despite missing three games, but things started to go downhill after his sophomore year.

Watkins missed half of his third season with the Bills and finished with fewer than 30 receptions despite maintaining a receiving yardage average of over 15 yards. He was later traded, along with a 2018 sixth round pick, to the Los Angeles Rams for cornerback EJ Gaines Jr. and a 2018 second round pick that will later be used as a package to trade current starter Josh Allen.

Watkins would continue to play well for the Rams in 2017, with a 106-yard, two-touchdown performance against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 3, but he never reached the level he played in the first two seasons with the Bills. His best performance since leaving Buffalo was his second in three seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2019 when he caught 52 passes for 673 yards and three touchdowns. He also played a supporting role in Baltimore 2021.

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Watkins is approaching 30 years old, but he could still build on a strong season in 2022 with Green Bay for a few more years as an NFL pass-catcher if he can stick around and make an impact on a team with playoff aspirations. It’s unclear whether Watkins will continue to be a top receiver throughout the season, especially as his rookies develop next year, but the opportunity is there for him.

Watkins’ status is uncertain for Week 3 against the Buccaneers

If there’s one thing that could force the Packers to stop Watkins in 2022, it would be his health. The former No. 4 overall draft pick missed a combined 27 games and split his time with four different teams over his first eight seasons due to injuries. Now, he could be in line to miss Game 28, the Packers’ first, this week while recovering from a hamstring injury.

Watkins was unable to participate in Thursday’s practice without the Packers’ protection after being added to the injury report and limiting Wednesday’s first session. He’s not alone, as rookie Christian Watson (hamstring), Allen Lazard (ankle) and Randall Cobb (soreness) also missed the same amount of time before the Week 3 trip to face the Buccaneers, but his long injury history makes him a flag bearer. red. heading into the weekend.

The Packers will provide more details on Watkins’ status when they release their final injury report for Week 3 around 5 p.m. his injury, but the Packers did not provide details about his hamstring injury, so it is unclear how much trouble he is expected to cause.

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