After being shut down for more than a month, Romeo Doubs 'fully expects' to play against Rams
GREEN BAY − Romeo Doubs is notoriously quiet. He doesn’t raise his voice, he doesn’t speak just to fill a void. It's not rare for the rookie to defer attention elsewhere. But there were times, in the days following his ankle injury versus the Detroit Lions in Week 9, that the Green Bay Packers receiver folded too far into himself, trying to make sense of the fluke play that would keep him off the field for six weeks.
“There was days where I just might not say anything,” Doubs said Tuesday, speaking with media for the first time since his injury.
“It was tough because the way it had happened, it wasn't like I purposely did something. It was just out of my control. And I've had to continue to tell myself that every single day up to this point. The way everything happened, just wasn't in my hands. Go out, run around, catch the ball. Very first play the game and I get an ankle sprain.”
The Nevada alum never had an injury of the sort in college, one that would take him away from the game for such an extended period of time. After starting the season with such promising performance’s (Doubs had 31 receptions for 314 yards and three touchdowns through eight games and one play), the jolting stop was a hard lesson in the reality of the NFL.
As Doubs worked his way through recovery, slipping into those quiet days, those in the receivers room made sure to speak up.
“Some of them may notice,” Doubs said, "and say ‘Everything will be alright. It’s the NFL. Regardless of how you prepare, if something unfortunate happens and you get hurt, that’s just the way of the game.'
“Obviously it's new for me. It's just an experience of, you know, how should I prepare myself, God forbid, for next time, if something happens and I'm out for X amount of time. But it's just the mental process and how you got to cope … sometimes you just got to figure out ways to get through the day and deal with it. Have small goals. It was tough.”
As the Packers geared up for a game against the Chicago Bears in Week 13, there was talk of putting Doubs back on the field. At the time, it would’ve been a little less than a month since his injury. Ultimately, coaches and staff elected to give Doubs the Week 14 bye to fully recover and let him return to the game during the upcoming Monday night matchup with the Los Angeles Rams.
It was a great decision, Doubs said, and one that made all the difference in his confidence to get back on the grass.
“I feel great. Coming fresh off the bye. Getting everything back together, back to work,” Doubs said. “I thought it was a great decision. I made sure I did everything throughout the week, tried to see how the ankle felt.”
On Tuesday, the rookie was able to go full speed in practice, testing the ankle. Afterward he said he was able to plant his foot, generally the biggest hurdle when coming back from such an injury. It was an encouraging sign not only for Doubs, but for his teammates.
"It’ll be great to have everyone healthy and have him back out there,” Allen Lazard said. "Obviously coming off the win two weeks ago, hopefully we can keep this thing going."
Added Christian Watson, “I feel like since the moment he's got back out there, I've seen Romeo. I think we've all seen who he is and then the potential that he has out there when he gets opportunity. So I've seen exactly what I've been seeing the whole time. So I'm excited for him to get back out there.”
In Doubs absence, Watson has flourished. After drops and injuries marred his early season, Watson has spent the past four weeks dominating with eight touchdowns.
“He deserves it,” Doubs said of Watson. “He comes to work day in and day out. He figures out what to do to get better every single day. I know it was a pretty rough start for him so just to see what he’s doing now, it’s amazing.”
Doubs and Watson have played 65 snaps together this season. The opportunities that Watson presents downfield, coupled with what Doubs can do along the edge and Lazard over the middle, means the chance to see them on the field at the same time opens up new possibilities in Matt LaFleur’s playbook.
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“We can do a lot of things. I just feel like we’ll see what happens up till game day,” Doubs said. “But it’ll be really exciting to get back on the field with Christian.”
Added Watson, “I think just our wide receiver room as a whole, just having all of us there. You know, obviously, you know me, Rome, Sammy (Watkins), Cobby (Randall Cobb), Lazard, Samori (Toure) if he’s out there, too.
“I mean, that's a lot of playmakers and a lot of people with a bunch of different skill sets that are able to make plays. I think just having all of us out there will be huge for, you know, spreading things out, giving guys opportunities, and should open even more stuff up for us.”
The chance to see the receiver corps at full strength could come as soon as Monday. Doubs told reporters he “fully expects” to play against the Rams.