Rookie wide­outs fight to be con­sis­tent

Packer Plus - - News - Pack­ers Tom Sil­ver­stein Mil­wau­kee Jour­nal Sen­tinel USA TO­DAY NET­WORK – WIS.

Green Bay — Fol­low­ing the Green Bay Pack­ers’ 31-17 vic­tory Thurs­day over the Ten­nessee Ti­tans at Lam­beau Field, the home locker room at Lam­beau Field was a telling place for the team’s three drafted wide re­ceivers.

At the end of the row of lock­ers where the re­ceivers dress, fifth-round pick Mar­quez Valdes-Scantling was sur­rounded by re­porters an­swer­ing all kinds of ques­tions about his break­through per­for­mance (five catches for 101 yards and a touch­down). Two days ear­lier, after drop­ping a per­fectly thrown deep ball from quar­ter­back Aaron Rodgers in prac­tice, he had sat alone at his locker.

“It was def­i­nitely a great day for me, but it’s all about con­sis­tency,” ValdesS­cantling said after the game. “That’s what this league is about. There’s a lot of great tal­ent in this league and so you just don’t want to be not do­ing it all the time. You want to keep build­ing on it, keep gain­ing trust from every­body.”

Mid­way down the row of lock­ers sat fourth-round pick J’Mon Moore, in full uni­form, with head­phones cut­ting him off from the rest of the world. When a re­porter asked to talk to him, he shook his head and waved him off. He ig­nored other re­quests to in­ter­view him. Only after a pub­lic re­la­tions staffer sug­gested to him it would be in his best in­ter­est to talk after good and bad per­for­mances did he speak.

Moore was the leader in the club­house among the rook­ies at the start of camp, but of late he has been in­con­sis­tent and against the Ti­tans he dropped a sure touch­down pass from fel­low rookie Tim Boyle. He caught just three of the seven passes thrown his way for 27 yards.

“Just got to put it be­hind me,” Moore said. “Go on out there, dig­ging deeper, putting this be­hind me. That's it.”

A cou­ple of lock­ers away from him, sixth-round pick Equanimeous St. Brown was en­cour­aged but try­ing to keep his emo­tions in check after a four­catch, 61-yard per­for­mance that came on the heels of his best week of prac­tice. Pass­ing game co­or­di­na­tor Jim Hostler said ear­lier in the week that after a slow start to camp, St. Brown was start­ing to show some of the po­ten­tial the per­son­nel de­part­ment saw in him.

When asked if he had fi­nally gained some foot­ing after a slow start, St. Brown ac­knowl­edged there had been a learn­ing curve for all the rook­ies when they ar­rived in the spring but seemed to in­di­cate that was a long time ago.

“I think the whole camp I’ve been do­ing good,” he said.

Wide re­ceivers, in gen­eral, are a tem­per­a­men­tal bunch and over the years it hasn’t been un­com­mon for vet­er­ans – apart from maybe James Jones, Jordy Nel­son or Da­vante Adams – to dress quickly and leave the Pack­ers locker room be­fore re­porters en­ter after a lousy per­for­mance.

It’s hard for play­ers with such a high skill level to ac­cept fail­ure. But those who do it the best usu­ally stick around the long­est.

The Pack­ers are learn­ing a lot about their three rookie re­ceivers – all three of whom are prob­a­bly go­ing to make the 53-man ros­ter and at least one of whom will be ex­pected to play an ac­tive role this sea­son.

Be­sides t he 4.37-sec­ond 40-yard dash he ran at the com­bine, the 6-4, 206-pound Valdes-Scantling of­fered some­thing the Pack­ers re­ally liked com­ing out of South Florida, which is a good tem­per­a­ment. His com­ments after the game were re­flec­tive of the way he’s ap­proached things since the day he ar­rived.

It was ob­vi­ous from his per­for­mance vs. the Ti­tans that his mis­takes dur­ing prac­tice have been learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ences and not death blows to his con­fi­dence.

“We’re hu­man,” Valdes-Scantling said. “There’s go­ing to be good days and there are go­ing to be bad days. No­body ever is go­ing to be per­fect. I think I learned that a long time ago. Learned that from my dad: Never get too high, never get too low.

“Even on the great­est days or the worst days, you can al­ways come down and al­ways go back up.”

Moore’s per­for­mance and re­ac­tion, mean­while, should be of con­cern to the Pack­ers. Dur­ing his ju­nior year, he was benched be­cause of a dozen drops. He re­gained his start­ing po­si­tion and had a much bet­ter se­nior sea­son, which helped him re­store some of his draft value.

The Pack­ers will be watch­ing closely to see how he han­dles his cur­rent tough spell. Re­sist­ing in­ter­views after a poor per­for­mance isn’t a char­ac­ter flaw, but it can speak to the play­ers’ will­ing­ness to view the game with a wide-an­gle lens.

Moore was ob­vi­ously crushed by his per­for­mance, so now it’s crit­i­cal for him to bounce back and have a good week of prac­tice. In the NFL, there’s no time to dwell on a drop be­cause an­other op­por­tu­nity could ap­pear at any time.

”This game can be changed in one or

BENNY SIEU / USA TO­DAY SPORTS

Pack­ers rookie re­ceiver Mar­quez Valdes-Scantling had a big game against the Ti­tans with five catches for 101 yards and a TD.

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