Green Bay Packers: Time to scale back Davante Adams


Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams continues to underwhelm, and with the heightened importance of the coming weeks, it’s time to scale him back

All arrows pointed towards Davante Adams this past August. After making his name on the national stage against the Dallas Cowboys last season, Adams was expected to be the main benefactor of a season-ending injury to Jordy Nelson. Even heralded by many as a top-25 fantasy wide receiver at the time, it’s been a long four months, tumbling slowly downward.

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Outside of two extremely high-usage games in weeks nine and ten against Carolina and Detroit (32 combined targets), Adams has been fairly pedestrian. Normal, if you will, which wasn’t the intention. Hindered by an ankle injury and a still-developing chemistry with quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the second-year pro has caught just 43 of his 82 targets for 387 yards and a touchdown.

His catch percentage was an area I was expecting improvement in following a rookie year in which Adams caught 38 balls on 66 targets, but it hasn’t been there. Rodgers isn’t blame-free here, of course, but with games of nine and 11 incomplete targets under his belt since mid-November, something is off. At this point, Adams and the Green Bay Packers might be better suited finding it in the offseason.

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By no means is this a closing of the book on Adams. Of course not. In fact, I’m of quite the opposite opinion. His skills still profile as a plus outside receiver, but much like teammate James Jones, it will take time to fine-tune his game and build a stronger rapport with the quarterback. A season closer to 100% health won’t hurt, either.

Adams continues to see the field in a starting role to open games, earning 29 targets over his last four games which he’s turned into just 13 receptions. While his longterm potential remains immense, he continues to be force-fed a role that he has not, and frankly is not earning

Several times over the past month, we’ve seen the Packers slowly move away from Adams as the game goes on. This is good in a sense, especially considering how hesitant the Packers can be to exercise in-game adjustments. They’ve been forced to cycle in receivers ahead of Adams with some level of consistency, however, so why not get out ahead of that issue by adjusting the strategy entering the game.

All three of Jones, Jared Abbrederis and Jeff Janis have their limitations. Undoubtedly so. But deploying them more aggressively in situational roles from the first snap of the game, sometimes ahead of Adams, could help to kickstart Green Bay’s still out-of-sync offense.

Nelson’s absence and the curiously light usage of Janis seem to suggest that the deep passing game is on ice for this season, but above all else, it’s Adams’ struggles to be reliable in the simplest sense that limits his value. In that light, even Rodgers has lobbied for an increased dose of Abracadabra.

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“He can get open,” Rodgers told ESPN’s Rob Demovsky following their win over Oakland. “He’s a good route runner. He needs to be on the field more.”

The 2014 pick out of Wisconsin grabbed three key passes for 33 yards on the day while James Jones put up six for 82 and a score. So while a full-swing decision in either direction isn’t needed, Abbrederis and the rest should no longer be held on the sidelines until Davante Adams fails to produce by mid-game. Again.