GREEN BAY – Those three yards stuck with Davante Adams this offseason.
Not that the gap diminished what the Green Bay Packers receiver did in 2016. Adams recovered from his sophomore slump in a big way, silenced the doubters. He had 12 touchdown catches, tied with All-Pros Antonio Brown and Mike Evans for second most in the league.
He also had 997 yards. A nice number, but he knows it sounds different than 1,000.
“I’ll put it this way,” Adams said after being asked about the three-yard gap for a second time Thursday. “I would much rather have 1,000 yards than 997, but it doesn’t really matter at the end of the day. It’s just a matter of saying I got 1,000 yards versus nine hundred and whatever, because that’s what people look at it as — 900 yards versus hitting the 1,000-yard mark.
“But it doesn’t put a damper on my season because I didn’t get it. At the end of the day, I would definitely rather have it, but I’ll live.”
No, nine feet weren’t going to change how Adams felt about his third NFL season. Much better to have to answer about almost reaching 1,000 yards than drops, something that plagued him in 2015. Adams made a big jump last fall, surpassing the 929 combined yards he caught in his first two seasons.
The question now is how much better can he be. Adams isn’t setting a limit for himself.
“The jump to me,” Adams said, “is just expanding on all the positive things that I did last year. Obviously there’s a lot more production. I can’t predict numbers, but as far as what my film will consistently look like, what I’m able to go out there and contribute to the team, whether it’s having more respect on the field and taking away from having Marty (Bennett) open or Richard (Rodgers) or Jordy (Nelson) or Randall (Cobb) — just being a bigger part of the offense.
“I can’t go out there and tell you that I’m going to have 1,500 yards and 20 touchdowns, but I’m going to go out and try to do that.”
A big year would come at the right time. Adams’ rookie contract expires in March, when he’ll enter free agency. There’s sure to be a big market for receivers who can catch double-digit touchdowns.
Of course, there’s also plenty of demand for 1,000-yard receivers. Even if it’s just cosmetic, Adams would benefit from gaining nine more feet this season.
Adams said he’s trying not to think about his contract situation.
“That’s definitely not the type of focus you want to go into a season with,” he said. “I’ve seen so many guys come into that way and lose focus and lose sight of what they’re actually playing for. You play to get a ring, so I’m not out here thinking about the money. I’m just trying to play ball and do what I can to help this team out.
“All that stuff will take care of itself at the end of the year, or whenever it does. We’ll let it happen then.”