Over the years, Aaron Rodgers has seen receivers make the same progression.
Improvement comes in phases. Before there are highlights on Sundays, they must show they're ready from Monday to Saturday. The practice field is their proving grounds. It worked that way for Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb.
Now it's the same for Davante Adams, the Packers' latest second-round receiver.
"He's doing a really good job," Rodgers said on his weekly ESPN Milwaukee radio show Tuesday afternoon. "He's practicing better. The jumps that we've seen all of our receivers make around here coincide with playing better in practice. James Jones did it, Greg did it, (Jarrett) Boykin, Jordy, Randall. When those guys start making plays in practice, they start making plays in the games."
On the surface, it's been a slow start for Adams. The rookie had no catches – and no targets – in the Green Bay Packers opener last month against the Seattle Seahawks. Since then, he's only reached the 50-yard mark once, in the Packers home opener against the New York Jets.
Adams has 10 catches and 90 yards in his first five games. It might not seem like much, certainly far behind the pace Jennings set when he caught 20 passes for 364 yards and three touchdowns in the first five games of his 2006 rookie season.
Still, Adams' stats through his first five games are similar to the beginning of Cobb and Nelson's careers.
Cobb had nine catches in the first five games of his 2011 rookie season, while Nelson had 10 catches in the first five games of his 2008 rookie season. Both had more yards – 174 for Cobb, 116 for Nelson. Both also had one touchdown catch.
Adams caught his first score on an 11-yard pass from Rodgers during the Packers home win Thursday against the Minnesota Vikings.
"The more film you watch of us, the more times you're seeing No. 17 being open," Rodgers said of Adams. "He's doing a nice job of running his routes. He's just got to know that this might not be his year to catch 100 passes around here, but at some point he's going to be one of the top options and get some more balls coming his way.
"He's just got to continue running his routes to win, and he's going to be a contributor for a while."
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