GREEN BAY - For the first time in his career, Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams will head to the Pro Bowl as an original selection.
Last season, Adams replaced the injured Julio Jones at the event. Adams finished the 2017 regular season with 74 receptions for 885 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Adams long ago surpassed those numbers this season, with 100 receptions for 1,315 yards and 12 touchdowns.
And he still has two games ahead of him.
“Obviously last year, it meant enough just being voted by my peers, fans and coaches as well to just be mentioned with those guys,” Adams said. “But, to get the initial selection this year means a lot. Especially, I look at the fan vote before and they said that I was ... I would've been an alternate then. And then to get the players and the coaches input and to be bumped up like that, it means a lot to me.”
Earlier this season, Adams spoke to Packers News about the lack of respect he has received throughout his career around the league. Last week, Adams appeared on the NFL Network’s "Good Morning Football" and reignited the topic.
Adams cited several factors he felt contributed to the perceived disrespect, including the fact that he plays with Aaron Rodgers, who will also head to the Pro Bowl. Adams acknowledged he wasn’t a breakout star in his first couple of NFL seasons, which may be a contributing factor to his slow-elevating reputation.
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“I think people they don't really, they can't grasp the concept of a person getting better that quickly,” Adams said. “So, I think they just stayed glued to the whole mindset of 2015 when I wasn't playing the way I should, and they just associate that with the way I play the game, which is obviously not the case now. So, with the Pro Bowl, hopefully they start to clue in on what's going on, watch the film and really dissect and see the type of player I am.”
Adams is 13 receptions away from breaking Sterling Sharpe’s single-season franchise record of 112, which was set in 1993. He’s also nearing Jordy Nelson’s 2014 receiving yards record of 1,519.
“I would love for him to break some records,” Rodgers said. “The fact that he’s put up these numbers already – 100 catches and over 1,300 yards – is fantastic. I’d love to get him over those records because we’ve been around for a long time.
“I’m really happy for Davante. We’ve been saying it all year, whether or not – people have been debating, I think – on whether or not he’s an elite player, a No. 1 receiver and all this garbage. He’s had a fantastic year, and he deserves it.”
Offensive line injuries
Last week, the Packers had to prepare to take on linebacker Khalil Mack and the Bears’ defense without right tackle Bryan Bulaga (knee). The team also placed tackle/guard Byron Bell (knee) on injured reserve.
This week, the offensive line saga continues.
Both offensive tackle Jason Spriggs (concussion) and guard Lucas Patrick (illness) did not participate in practice Wednesday. Spriggs started at right tackle for Bulaga in Sunday's loss to the Bears and Patrick beat out Justin McCray for the first-string right guard spot.
Additionally, rookie offensive lineman Alex Light was suspended without pay Monday for one game for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. In turn, left guard Nico Siragusa finds himself in the third-string spot behind Lane Taylor and McCray with the possibility of seeing a few snaps come Sunday against the New York Jets.
“Potentially, it's cool, but I'm just here, I'm learning,” Siragusa said. “There's a big learning curve with this offense compared to the last offense, so just getting everything down. I mean, the guys are cool, they're helping me out every day. But, we'll see. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, it doesn't.”
The Packers signed Siragusa on Dec. 12 after they placed Bell, who went down in-game against the Atlanta Falcons and did not return, on injured reserve. Siragusa spent the entire 2018 season on the practice squad of the Baltimore Ravens, who originally drafted him in 2017. He remained on injured reserve through his rookie season after he sustained a knee injury during training camp.
“Well, I think he has an opportunity,” interim coach Joe Philbin said. “Again, he's a guy I remember evaluating, I think it was San Diego State a couple years back. He's a big, physical guy. I think he had an injury early in his career that he's overcome. So yeah, it's certainly possible, he's a bright kid, a hard worker, like what we've seen so far, and we'll see how the week unfolds.”
On the positive side, the Packers welcomed back Bulaga to practice Wednesday as a limited participant after he missed the last two games with a knee injury. While his return was significant, his status for Sunday’s game is in question.
“I feel pretty good about it,” Bulaga said. “Still taking it day by day and kind of worked today and see how it feels tomorrow and work again tomorrow and see how it feels Friday and work again Saturday.
“I want to get back out there with my teammates and help the team win. Bottom line. I enjoy playing football as well, so, I want to be out there and play.”
Clark still awaiting word
As of Wednesday afternoon, Kenny Clark was playing the waiting game.
Despite a report from the NFL Network on Tuesday that he was going to be placed on season-ending injured reserve, Clark said a sprained ligament in his elbow wasn’t quite bad enough to end his season just yet.
“It was a miscommunication,” Clark said of the report. “Definitely a miscommunication. I talked to the people and it was definitely miscommunication.”
That said, Clark acknowledged it’s a serious injury that he has to be careful with, so he did not practice Wednesday and said he isn’t sure if he’ll play Sunday in New York. But Clark also said there hasn’t been any discussion about putting him on IR.
“They haven’t told me anything,” Clark said. “I haven’t even spoken to them about going on IR. I don’t know. Every day I’m going in the training room and talking to (Dr. Patrick McKenzie), he’s doing tests on my triceps and my elbow, just showing the strength and taking MRIs every three, four days almost trying to see how it’s healing. It’s one of those deals. I just have to keep doing that stuff and see how it goes.”