Packers’ wide receiver Davante Adams, by all accounts from Green Bay’s first open practice last night, had a strong showing – reeling in one-handed grabs and soaring over proven defensive backs like Sam Shields.
It appears that Adams is finally blossoming into the wideout we all pictured he would become.
But the early sentiments regarding the third-year receiver out of Fresno State seem to echo what was said about Adams last year before the season kicked off.
If you all remember this quote from Packers’ head coach Mike McCarthy last year…
“Davante, if you wanted me to pick an MVP or an all-star [of the offseason] he would definitely be atop the list.
“If you want a clear illustration and example of a first-year player taking a jump in his second year, you just saw it here the last four weeks. I think he’s been tremendous throughout the OTAs, and he’s got more in front of him, too, so I think that’s what’s exciting. I think Davante has done a great job in the strength and conditioning. He’s been really, really good in practice throughout this deal.”
Before anyone gets too excited about the projected third receiver, Adams is simply repeating last year’s storyline.
On top of that, after showing blips of greatness early on in the Packers’ Family Night practice on Saturday, he struggled shortly thereafter – misjudging the height of a would-be touchdown pass, and completely dropping what would have been another first down.
Packers No. 1 receiver Jordy Nelson, who missed all of last season after suffering a torn ACL in the preseason, said to reporters after Sunday night’s practice that “you can see his confidence back.”
But is it? Or even if it is, will it make a difference?
Here is an excerpt from an article I wrote earlier this year, looking at the historically bad year Adams experienced in 2015:
According to Football Outsiders’ advanced metrics—Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement (DYAR) and Defense-Adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) – Adams’ overall rating in 2015 was second-last among receivers who qualify (targeted at least 50 times), and better only than Tavon Austin of the St. Louis Rams.
In layman’s terms, DYAR ranks a wide receiver’s overall value, while DVOA ranks a wide receiver’s value-per-play. Of the 87 receivers targeted 50 or more times, Adams was No. 86 in DYAR and No. 84 in DVOA.
Adams’ yard-per-catch average (9.7) exceeded only Austin (9.1) and the Lions’ Golden Tate (9.0), and was the worst the Packers had seen since 1951.
Adams had just one touchdown reception in 2015 – a number that seems nearly impossible for a receiver that was healthy most of the season and the reigning NFL MVP throwing him the ball.
Can these wildly inefficient numbers be directly linked to a lack of confidence? And if so, can that confidence ever actually be restored?
With a receiving corps that is much denser than last season, Adams’ margin for error is much smaller.
I can’t decide whether I envy or pity those with who maintain faith in Adams. My ambivalence is regarding Adams is not shared by the organization (not outwardly at least). They’re not ready to give up on their second-rounder from a few years ago.
Maybe they should be.