A generous fan base, hundreds of Green Bay Packers fans would gladly give up a toe to star receiver Davante Adams if it meant he could play this week against the Dallas Cowboys. Sadly, the science and legality isn’t there yet, and with Adams missing practice, it seems unlikely he will play Sunday.
Without Adams, surely the Packers’ offensive takes a hit. But thankfully, Adams’ injury is not believed to be severe, and he likely doesn’t miss much time. Even if it were, the Packers would be wise to roll with who they already have. Trading for a wide receiver, while a fun idea, isn’t the right move for this team.
There are attractive options available, of course. Denver’s unfortunate start may make them consider rehauling their roster and getting rid of veterans like Emmanuel Sanders. The Fish Tank, once known as the Miami Dolphins, is having a fire sale, and every player is available for the right price, including DeVante Parker. A few other big names exist but have a less than zero chance of ending up in Wisconsin, including Dez Bryant (a free agent, but still) and Stefon Diggs.
But the NFL isn’t like Madden. Teams can’t just trade for a numerical upgrade. Culture, scheme, and chemistry are so important to teams. Maybe Emmanuel Sanders makes a few sexy plays, but that takes playing time away from Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Jake Kumerow, Allen Lazard, and Darrius Shepherd. These young players need live reps with Aaron Rodgers in meaningful situations to grow as players.
These men are who the Green Bay Packers front office decided were the future of this team. Gutekunst had plenty of opportunities in both the draft and free agency to add receiving options, and he chose not too. We’ve seen flashes from MVS and Geronimo Allison, who have improved in every game this season. Live reps are the only way to get these increments of improvement and are more important than a marginal upgrade from a player who might not be part of Green Bay’s plans next season.
Adams’ injury isn’t ideal, but it provides a big opportunity for the next guys up. MVS and Allison will start, but who is WR3? This is the ideal opportunity to get Jake Kumerow involved in the offense, something Packers fans have been wanting since his beautiful offseason highlights. His chemistry with Rodgers was growing mightily, and how divine would it be if Whitewater Jesus was the reason for a win in JerryWorld?
This doesn’t only affect the wide receivers, either. Matt LaFleur can get creative in his personnel sets; we’ve seen multiple 21 and 12 formations so far, and this will only increase. Marcedes Lewis and Rob Tonyan will likely see significant field time, and Aaron Jones likely sees more action in the passing game. Keep in mind, his breakout game as a rookie came against Dallas.
Perhaps more so than any other player, this game could be huge for Jimmy Graham. Graham’s tenure in Green Bay has been controversial, but he can use this Sunday’s time in the spotlight to show his skills and why he’s still valuable as a red zone threat. Jared Cook was spectacular against the Cowboys in the playoffs in 2016; maybe this game can be such as important to a different Packers tight end.
There’s no denying the Packers will wish they had Davante Adams this Sunday, and maybe by some spooky magic, he’ll be able to play, but Adams not being available isn’t the end of the world. Green Bay bet on its young players, and its time to let that ride, not switch bets.Matt Hendershott is a Packers fan and Miller High Life enthusiast from Northwest Ohio. He has a Master of Arts in Media and Communication from Bowling Green State University. You can follow him on Twitter @MattHendershott.