169 targets, falling one short of leading the NFL in targets, must not have been enough for the Aaron Rodgers – Davante Adams combination. Stemming from comments made by Rodgers in a media session during the offseason workouts, the intent is clear: incorporate Adams more into the offensive gameplan, which in turn means more work for the other pass catchers too.
Lacking a true second fiddle, Adams is expected to shoulder the vast majority of the pass-catching load for the Green Bay Packers, which was quite evident last season too. While Adams is quite a generational talent that requires a heavy dosage of plays in his favor, the fact of the matter still remains that this team needs to develop other weapons around him.
Even with the second-most targets in 2018, it is not like Adams was left open by the opposing defensive unit. Press and zone corner coverages, underneath linebacker help and over the top safety help were seen in constant doses last season, which Adams seemed to burst through and bust out of on a constant basis.
Through what the media has been able to see so far in offseason workouts, second-year man Marquez Valdes-Scantling has taken up the starting spot opposite Adams, which seems to lead thoughts of an Adams – Valdes-Scantling starting duo to begin the 2019 season.
For MVS, his rookie season held a lot of promise, as his ability to earn the trust of Rodgers from an early point in OTAs and the preseason was a good penchant for how his season went. 38 catches, 581 yards, and two touchdowns is a good start for the USF rookie, especially since his spot on the depth chart was a bit hazy early on in the year.
Having been the second of three wideouts drafted in last year’s draft, MVS was expected to contribute but not necessarily as much as he was able to, although his physical stature speaks to why he had such a big impact from day one. Six-foot-four, 206 lbs with a tall stature and sticky hands, MVS is a superb complement to Adams and his speed is a great tool to help take the top off the defense and open it up underneath for Adams.
Other players, like Geronimo Allison, Equanimeous St. Brown, (cult hero/new Jeff Janis) Jake Kumerow, J’Mon Moore and Trevor Davis, all come into this offseason with varying time under their belts with this GB team, hoping to ease the adjustment into a new offensive playbook.
Newbies, like Teo Redding and Darrius Shepherd, all are looking to make enough of an impression in the preseason to make the roster, although that will be a very tall order with the amount of returning receivers ahead of them in the pecking order.
More responsibilities fall onto the tight end unit as well, as Jimmy Graham needs to pick up the slack and improve upon his lackluster 2018 season. Rookie Jace Sternberger is a hopeful offensive tool that can be effective in a Matt LaFleur offense, and second-year man Robert Tonyan looks to improve upon his high snap count, low-impact 2018 season.
Finally, the running backs need to understand that their impact will be felt much more in the passing game than in the past, as LaFleur asks a lot more of backs than just running between the tackles. Aaron Jones, who seems to be the team’s bell-cow, will need to expand his pass-catching abilities to stay ahead of Jamaal Williams and draftee Dexter Williams, another Notre Dame product joining the offense.
Spreading the ball and effectively carrying out an offensive game plan are two vastly different things, but the Packers can efficiently take care of both in one fell swoop this season. By feeding their top receiver while also making his life easier through the usage of his offensive counterparts, this offensive unit has a ton of potential to be ran like a well-oiled machine.뿓뿓뿓
Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23