In the third part of this ongoing series, we will take a look at the players that make up the wide receivers room for the Green Bay Packers, including three important areas to focus on and expectations for this group for the 2019 NFL season.
Can Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams really increase their targets?
In the first part of this running series, quarterbacks were focused on, and a topic of conversation were the public comments that Aaron Rodgers made about his connection with Davante Adams, specifically about their up and down 2018 season.
For Adams, his 2018 season was his best by far, as 111 receptions and 1,386 yards culminated in 13 touchdowns, all career for the former Fresno State Bulldog receiver. To show how dominant Adams was, he was tied for sixth in the NFL for receptions, second (behind Julio Jones) for targets with 169, seventh in yardage, fifth in yards per game with 92.4 and tied for second for touchdowns.
Ranking in the top seven in the entire league in all major categories is huge for Adams, as his career trajectory projects for him to end up in the realm of some of the all-time greats, although he needs to have a lot more of the 2018-esque seasons to make that dream become a reality.
While Adams is the clear-cut no. 1 receiver on this team, the supporting cast has grown a bit in terms of development and capabilities, which hopefully will go a long way for making Adams job easier. The likes of Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Geronimo Allison, among others, look to be primed for a breakout or at least an increased role, leading to the potential for more targets for Adams.
In short, targeting Adams more is tough, especially with how high he was focused on in 2018, and with how much of an importance opposing defenses are putting on him. However, with a smart play caller like head coach Matt LaFleur now at the reigns, the possibilities are endless for the AR – DA combination.
Who should be the realistic no. 2 option behind Adams?
Being able to shore up the receiver ranks has been one of the biggest issues plaguing the Packers ever since the departure of Jordy Nelson. Couple that with Randall Cobb signing with the Dallas Cowboys this past offseason, and now the ranks look to be a bit low on the big names.
Alongside Adams are other upstart players like MVS and Allison, who seem to be the most likely combination of receivers that would comprise any three-receiver sets. Equanimeous St. Brown came on late last season and became more of a trusted weapon for Rodgers, especially with his sticky hands and improving game knowledge.
J’Mon Moore, Jake Kumerow, Allen Lazard and even Trevor Davis have realistic shots at making worthwhile contributions this year, although they all have a ton of work to do, starting in training camp, to justify that the coaching staff should give them those opportunities.
The receiver depth chart should resemble something like this:
1 – Adams
2 – MVS
3 – Allison
4 – St. Brown
5 – Kumerow
6 – Lazard
7 – Davis
Keeping seven wideouts seems likely, as both Davis and Lazard can become key contributors in the punt and kickoff coverage schemes.
Does Trevor Davis look to have a role outside of the return game?
A hot button topic for fans seems to be the role that Davis has for himself in 2019, especially since people see him as only a returner and not a good one at that.
In 2017, Davis ranked in the top six for both punt and kick return yardage, only matched by the Los Angeles Rams’ Pharoah Cooper. 707 kick return yards and 289 punt return yards put Davis a mere four yards short of the century mark, which is quite an impressive feat.
While 2018 saw Davis not see a lot of the field due to injuries, the return game was lacking, needing that spark to get it moving. The likes of Aaron Jones and Jaire Alexander, among others, have been seen fielding return opportunities alongside Davis, which hopefully brings a sense of competition to the grouping.
Outside of the return game, Davis is the perfect subject for the gadget guy for LaFleur, as his blend of quickness and speed is a perfect match for someone like Adoree Jackson of the Titans, a defensive back who was used in gadget-style offensive plays like end arounds and sweeps to get the defense on its heels.
MVS seems to be one of the few offensive players that can compete with Davis on the speed front, so Davis would be a perfect plug for those types of plays. While not a huge role in the offense, being successful in these types of schemes would go a long way for LaFleur’s confidence in including Davis in more offensive sets.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