Davante Adams lobbying for Packers to test double coverage more often
GREEN BAY - It’s a no-no in Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur’s scheme to force the ball into double coverage, but wide receiver Davante Adams said double teams have become so commonplace for him that it might be worth ignoring that rule from time to time.
The Packers faced a soft New Orleans Saints defense that was positioned throughout the game to prevent Adams from running anywhere on the field and keep everyone else from getting deep. It was a good scheme against which to run the ball, but the Packers only had 17 first-half plays and never got a chance to emphasize the ground game.
Once they got down 24-3 in the third quarter, they had no choice but to throw.
Adams was targeted seven times and caught five passes for 56 yards. His lone big play – a 31-yard catch late in the first half – was a difficult catch against two defenders.
“That's something me and Aaron (Rodgers) have talked about, just like, ‘Look, you know, they're going to play this way,’” Adams said. “'So, it may be just certain opportunities where you just got to say, I like my guy.’ If there's a window to throw the ball, it’s like just getting some opportunities.
“It's forcing them to play honest, and then if I'm getting off from that, then it's just going to continue to open up stuff for the rest of the guys.”
Adams said he isn’t suggesting Rodgers continually force the ball to him, but he pointed out how Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes said he will sometimes give his top receiver Tyreke Hill the chance to make a play against double coverage because he knows Hill will find a way to get open.
If the Detroit Lions play it Monday night the same way the Saints did, leaving both of their safeties deep to help double Adams, then he thinks they need to test them in certain situations.
“I like to think that with a double team, not every double team is going to be successful,” Adams said. “You know, I ran a slant shake I think in 2019 in Detroit – it was the touchdown I had in the back of the endzone – where that was a double team.
“So, you know, there's different ways to do it. We’ve just got to execute.”
Steady course ahead
Just as he was in his postgame press conference after the Saints loss, Rodgers was not overplaying the relevance of the Packers’ terrible performance.
He said it was important for him to lead by example to show that there is no reason to panic over one loss and that in his many years of experience, panicking isn’t helpful. The team spent Tuesday going over all the corrections from the game, but he said the process that has been established here hasn’t changed.
“We won a lot of games around here,” Rodgers said. “We've lost a few but you move on. It doesn’t matter if you play incredible and put up 50 or you get blown out, you move on to the next opponent.
“There shouldn't be some big, drastic change and alteration, the way that we do things, the way we practice, the way we prepare. If it's good enough to get you to this point, then it's good enough from this point forward. So, I haven't changed any stuff that I've been doing.”
Rodgers said it’s a given the Packers can’t accept that as a standard of play.
“But if we're starting to freak out after one week, we're in big trouble.”
The back injury outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith has been fighting since the start of training camp had him on the sideline for practice Thursday.
Smith practiced twice last week and was given the go-ahead to play against the Saints. He took part in 18 snaps and registered one tackle. His quarterback knockdown on Jameis Winston was ruled unnecessary roughness, so he did not get credit for the hit.
LaFleur didn’t give an indication that Smith wouldn’t play this week, but he said at best he will be in a modified role like he was against the Saints.
“We’re not going to play him as much as we'd like to until we know he's healthy enough to do that,” LaFleur said. “And so, until he can practice on a daily basis, it's hard to say that he's 100%.”
LaFleur said before practice he would give safety Darnell Savage (shoulder) the entire week to prove he’s ready to play and Savage showed he intended to play by taking part in practice.
He was listed as a limited participant, so it’s not clear if he took part in 11-on-11 drills. The Packers practice in pads Friday and that will give LaFleur a better idea of whether he’ll be ready to go.
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Tight end Josiah Deguara and left guard Lucas Patrick are in the concussion protocol after suffering head injuries Sunday. They were on the sideline during the stretching period, which is usually a good sign since they must clear several hurdles to be allowed anywhere back on the field.
If they practice Friday or Saturday, there’s probably a chance they can play Monday.
Safety Vernon Scott returned from a hamstring injury that had sidelined him the past two weeks. Nose tackle Tyler Lancaster was limited with ankle and back injuries. He had previously been on the report just for his back. Center Josh Myers (finger) was a full participant.
Fourth and let’s go for it
Rodgers said he was surprised that coach Matt LaFleur decided to go for it on fourth and 1 at the Packers’ 34-yard line on the first drive of the game.
LaFleur was the one who didn’t go for it on fourth and goal from the 8 late in the NFC championship game, which Rodgers said after the game he would have preferred. Against the Saints he went for it three times, converting twice.
“When he said, ‘Let’s go for it,' I wasn’t going to argue with him at all. I was excited about it. Now, we made something happen there because the play we drew up, the execution wasn’t perfect. But Marquez (Valdes-Scantling) was able to adjust his route and make a catch there.”