It looks like Jordan Love might feel the same way.
Not that the dynamic, deep threat of Christian Watson won’t have as big an impact -- or perhaps bigger -- on the new-look offense in the post-Aaron Rodgers era, but if anything can be gleaned from the three OTA practices that have been open for viewing this spring, it’s that Love believes he can rely on Doubs.
Doubs has been on the receiving end of target after target.
Last week, Love completed seven passes during the two-minute drive, and four of them (for 45 yards) went to Doubs.
On Tuesday, Love threw Doubs’ way twice in that drill, completing a crosser for 14 yards and a comeback route for six yards before the drive ended with a goal-line interception on a poorly thrown ball late over the middle to Watson.
When Love isn’t throwing ducks -- and there have been more than a couple of wobblers so far in OTAs -- he’s throwing to No. 87.
Earlier in the practice, Love and Doubs combined for perhaps the best throw and catch in any of the open OTAs with a 9-yard touchdown on a fade to the left corner of the end zone against tight coverage during a red-zone-centric 11-on-11 period.
“When in doubt, you can throw it out there and you know he's going to make a play, and he's done a great job of going and getting the ball wherever it's at,” Love said of Doubs. “He's made some really tough catches, and it kind of just builds everybody's confidence. It builds my confidence in him, just being able to throw the ball out there and know he's going to make a play.”
That’s not to say Doubs will be to Love what the likes of Davante Adams or Jordy Nelson was to Rodgers at different periods in their careers, but every great quarterback needs to have that connection with a go-to receiver -- to a point.
“You always got to be careful,” Love said after Tuesday’s practice. “That's the biggest thing, and especially for me, just try not to force the ball. We had a couple today. I tried to squeeze it in to him on the goal line. But at the same time, you kind of got to push those boundaries because he made some great plays. So it's just kind of finding that in-between.”
Doubs, a fourth-round pick out of Nevada in 2022, finished his rookie season fourth on the team in catches (42), receiving yards (425) and touchdown catches (3). Much of that was before his Nov. 6 ankle injury that kept him out of four full games.
It was shortly after Doubs’ injury when Watson began to make big plays and connect with Rodgers on deep balls. Love has yet to show he can consistently throw the deep ball, admitting that he has thrown “a couple tight wobblers out there,” which could be why Doubs has gotten more action on short and intermediate routes in the offseason practices.
“I just know that coming into this year, I will have a huge role in this room,” Doubs said, “whether it’s with clicking with Jordan or having some of the rookie receivers that I’ll have to guide through, as well.”
Doubs, Watson and fellow 2022 draft pick Samori Toure went from newbies to the most experienced wide receivers on the team following the departures of Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb, both of whom followed Rodgers to the New York Jets.
The Packers added three more wide receivers in this year’s draft, led by second-round pick Jayden Reed out of Michigan State, so there is plenty of competition for targets. General manager Brian Gutekunst and coach Matt LaFleur have not ruled out adding a veteran wideout between now and the start of the season.
While No. 1 receivers aren’t crowned during OTAs, they are sometimes built then.
“I think that 'Rome' has done a nice job of really making that next step,” LaFleur said. “Now, he’s got to go out and do it in games, what we’ve seen from him in practice, just how deliberate he is with what he’s trying to work on. He’s done a great job of really getting his feet in the ground, running violent routes, violent cuts, being aggressive with his hands. I think he’s shown a lot of progress. Just the rapport that those two guys have shown throughout eight practices has been pretty solid.”