Packers excited about Adams' big-play potential
Davante Adams has provided the Green Bay Packers with the consistency they've needed from their third receiving option behind Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb.
While that's the role Adams is filling at the moment, that's only the ground floor of what many of his teammates and coaches believe is possible for the rookie second-round pick.
Adams, who slid past Jarrett Boykin for the No. 3 job in September, has 27 catches on 36 targets for 286 yards and three touchdowns with one dropped pass, according to Pro Football Focus.
The only thing that's been missing from his rookie ledger is an explosive play. Randall Cobb caught a 32-yard touchdown in his NFL debut and nabbed a 61-yard gain three games later. Nelson's first NFL catch was a 29-yard score, which turned out to be his longest reception of his rookie season.
Adams' longest gain is a pair of 24-yard receptions with 21 of his 27 catches (80.8 percent) coming within 10 yards this season. Still, that reliability has been an asset to an offense that lost receiver James Jones and Jermichael Finley last offseason.
The opportunities haven't been as plentiful as his days at Fresno State where he caught 233 passes in two seasons, but the Packers believe they'll come soon enough. The key is shedding defenders, which Adams already has proven he can do.
"He does a really good job as far as creating separation and he certainly has the burst and the speed to win on a deep ball," receivers coach Edgar Bennett said. "I know we're making reference to a deep ball but any route – a deep ball, a post and things like that – there are techniques that you've got to use to basically combat what the defender's going to try to do to you. I'm not going really going to go into great detail, but I think he's ready."
Adams has taken it all in stride. He knows the 75- and 89-yard gains he had in college aren't going to just appear out of thin air in the NFL. It takes time, opportunity and a little luck.
In the Packers' last two victories, Chicago and Philadelphia have stayed true to their defenses. Against single-high safety looks, Aaron Rodgers has gashed defense with big plays to Cobb and Nelson, who have combined for 24 catches for 462 yards (19.3 yards per catch) and four touchdowns since the bye.
Adams has three catches for 23 yards in the same span, including a 6-yard touchdown catch off a slant in Sunday's 53-20 win over the Eagles. Although he hasn't been the primary target, the Packers know how valuable Adams could be to the stretch run, especially if teams look to take Nelson and/or Cobb away.
He's already shown how useful he can be in last month's comeback 27-24 win over Miami where he caught six passes for 77 yards and made a heads-up play on Rodgers' fake spike on the game-winning drive.
Whether the opportunity comes this Sunday against Minnesota or next week against New England, Adams is confident he can contribute if more passes are being thrown his way.
"I'm ready tomorrow," said Adams earlier this week. "Whenever the time comes, that's what we're practicing. All the work I've been putting in since I've been here, I feel a lot more comfortable since I've been here."
The Packers have two established receivers on a record-setting pace. As long as Cobb and Nelson are healthy, there's no question where the Packers will be turning their offensive attention.
As was the case for both receivers, they developed in the shadows of established veterans like Greg Jennings, Donald Driver and Jones.
Soon, they feel you'll be able to add Adams to that list.
"If it came down to it, he'd be ready to go out and make the plays," Nelson said. "He's made the most of his opportunities and that's all you can ask him to do."
-- firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @WesHod