Packers receiver Davante Adams not 'quite there yet' in return from toe injury
GREEN BAY - Davante Adams said Wednesday there were “no setbacks” with his big right toe Sunday, even though it was sore after he played for the first time in more than a month.
The Green Bay Packers' top receiver played 45 snaps in the 26-11 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, an 83 percent clip that’s a little less than before the injury, but not by much.
“It gets beat up a little bit,” Adams said, “but it’s definitely no setbacks. Nothing like that. We just want to be smart so I can heal up and continue to get better and better.
“I’m obviously healed at this point, but as far as being a thousand percent back to myself, I wouldn’t quite say I’m quite there yet.”
Regardless, Adams was a big part of the Packers' offense in his return. He led all players with 11 targets and seven catches, while his 41 yards were just three behind Allen Lazard for the team high.
Meanwhile, running backs Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams combined for just seven catches, with six of them coming from Williams.
“We’d love to get Davante going,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said, “but we can’t get away from what’s got us to this point, especially the last three, four games before last Sunday.”
For his part, Adams isn’t publicly demanding the football. He’s watched the offense’s success in the four games he missed, how the Packers grew as others received opportunities.
That’s not to say Adams will be anything less than the Packers' top receiver. Still, he said, team success is more important than his stat line.
“We’ve been able to move the ball since I’ve been out,” said Adams, who was a limited participant at practice. “So the focus shouldn’t change on how we’re trying to do things. Obviously, me being a big part of the offense, I’m going to get more looks here and there, and I’m going to do what I can with that, make the biggest impact I can for the team. It’s not about me being back.
“So nothing should change as far as how we try to beat teams. It’s not going to be some crazy air attack and have 15 targets every game. If that happens, I’ll do what I can with it. but other than that, we’ll let everybody else do what they’ve got to do to get that victory.”
Packers take it outside
Matt LaFleur has a relatively healthy roster heading into Week 10, so the Packers head coach decided to get his team outdoors on Ray Nitschke Field in their first day of work since the loss to the Chargers.
“I think it’s beneficial to have a similar schedule each and every week,” said LaFleur, whose team had held Wednesday walk-throughs since the week after hosting Detroit on Monday, Oct. 14. “When you look at the way we are right now health-wise and everything, I thought it was important we get out there and get on the grass on Wednesday, and get a good practice in. We need it.”
The team began inside the Don Hutson Center with stretch and individual work, during which tight end Jimmy Graham, safety Adrian Amos and cornerback Tramon Williams warmed up off to the side. Williams, Graham and right tackle Bryan Bulaga were limited with veteran rest while Amos did not participate because of a hamstring injury.
Outside linebacker Preston Smith began with a wrap on his left hand but was a full participant in the practice.
Other limited participants were cornerback Kevin King (groin), tight end Robert Tonyan (hip) and wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling (ankle/knee).
Sternberger makes debut
Jace Sternberger played in his first NFL game Sunday as the rookie tight end out of Texas A&M was activated off injured reserve after suffering an ankle injury in the preseason finale. The third-round pick had traveled with the team for each of its previous road games to learn the routine and had been practicing the last few weeks, but he learned on Instagram that the club had officially moved him off IR.
“That’s just this business — you gotta prepare every week like you are (playing),” he said with a smile. “That’s where it really hit home. I was like, man, even though as cliché as it sounds you really do gotta be ready."
Once it was determined Tonyan would not be able to play, Sternberger was on the active 46-man roster and played 11 snaps on special teams.
“It was more a relief,” Sternberger said. “It was exciting, too, but at the same I’ve been training this whole time for this moment.”
He did run out for one offensive play as part of a three tight-end set, but a penalty negated the play. That was the only opportunity he had offensively but said it was a very important one.
“You can do so many mental reps and watching reps and stuff, but unless you’re in the huddle with ‘12’ and hear ‘12’s’ voice, I don’t care, you can study all you want but he’s been doing this for a really long time so he has his ways of doing things,” he said. “You can’t just show up, hey, I’m fresh off injury, let me just hop (in).
“My friends are like ‘are you ready for the game?’ and I’m like, I’ve got bigger things to focus on. I’m focused on this huddle and how this procedure (works). It was good being out there for that. I got to hear the whole play call and went up to the line. The play never happened but it was good to get that out of the way.”
Campbell ready to step in
The Packers felt they would need safety Ibraheim Campbell at some point this season, so that’s why they signed him in August even though he was at least a month away from being ready to play football again.
Now, here it is early November and Campbell is about to fill an important need.
“I think I can help this defense,” Campbell said. “I look forward to when that opportunity presents itself. When Raven (Greene) went down I kind of knew why I was here, to be able to fill in with worst-case-scenario kind of thing.
“So, I’m looking forward to when the time comes.”
It almost certainly will come Sunday against Carolina.
The hybrid safety/linebacker position in the dime package was actually Campbell’s before it was Greene’s. Campbell was picked up off waivers last year, and because he had experience in defensive coordinator Mike Pettine’s defense took on a major role with the Packers.
But on Dec. 2, in his third game and first start on defense, he tore his ACL and was lost for the season. In three games, he had 20 tackles, a forced fumble and a pass broken up, which is why he finds himself in position to play again.
He was activated off the physically unable to perform list Tuesday and will have had four weeks of practice under his belt when he takes the field Sunday.
“I feel great physically,” he said. “I don’t even feel a difference when I’m out there running around. So, I’m playing as fast as I’ve ever played. I feel good out there.”