Davante Adams: Overhyped and Overrated
By Brian E Murphy, PackersInsider.com senior editor
~All off-season, we heard about the big jump that the team expected from second year receiver Davante Adams.
From ESPN to FoxSports and NFL.com, Davante Adams was going to break out.
Then in training camp, even coach Mike McCarthy proclaimed that if there was an Off-season MVP, it was Adams.
“Davante, if you wanted me to pick an MVP or an all-star [of the offseason] he would definitely be atop the list,” McCarthy said after a minicamp practice.
“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,” McCarthy said. “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.”
Aaron Rodgers doesn’t throw around compliments loosely so when he said this Spring that Adams has a “humongous upside and he’s starting to reach that upside,” people took notice.
“It means a lot,” Adams said. “It means that my work and my approach to practice and meetings and everything is not being ignored. They’re taking note of everything I’m doing, which means a lot to me. I want it to be more than that. That’s the first step. Now, I want to be the MVP of the minicamp and training camp and then go out there and do some damage.”
At the end of preseason, when Jordy Nelson was lost for the year with the fluke torn ACL, Adams was proclaimed to become a star.
He was a top-10 or top-15 draft pick around the Fantasy League stratosphere.
Today, he was targeted an unbelievable 21 times. He responded by dropping a few big passes, and catching only 10 for a pitiful 79 yards total and no touchdowns.
He doesn’t run by people like Jordy did, and like Janis does when given the chance. When Adams does get one step on guys, which is rare, it’s either a poor pass, or a drop. Today, late in the game against the Lions, he dropped this (below) perfect pass up the left sideline.
Luckily, the next play Jared Abbrederis got a step on the right sideline and he made the catch, only to take a wicked hit that knocked him out of the game. Still, Abbrederis made the catch, unlike Adams.
Without Nelson, the Packers need someone who hits some deep passes. They need a guy who defenses have to respect deep. In Adams, as well as Randall Cobb and James Jones, and all the tight ends, the Packers do not have any of those guys. Well, in Janis, they actually do have one of those guys, but Rodgers or McCarthy, for some reason, refuse to utilize him.
But what about Adams?
He doesn’t beat people deep, run past safeties. He’s never had a deep touchdown over the top of the defense as we’ve seen three or four from Janis in his very limited time in preseason and the regular season.
Remember how many 70+yard touchdowns Nelson had? It was more than anyone in the NFL over the past four seasons. That’s what the Packers need at least occasionally, and that’s the potential that Janis has. Not Adams. At least he’s not shown it yet, which is what needs to happen to loosen up defenses, as well as put points on the scoreboard for the Packers, something they aren’t doing much of anymore.
Adams also showed today how he’s able to take a lot of screen passes and turn them into two or three yard gains. He’s had two nice games in his career on big stages. One was last year vs New England, and the other was the playoff win against Dallas.
But even then, in New England, he dropped the biggest pass of the game, which would have been a huge game-clinching touchdown on a 3rd and goal, which was a perfect pass.
There are a lot of second-year wide receivers putting up big numbers around the National Football League.
From Odell Beckham Jr. in New York, to Jarvis Landry in Miami, Brandin Cooks in New Orleans, Jordan Matthews in Philly, Mike Evans in Tampa Bay, Sammy Watkins in Buffalo, Martavis Bryant in Pittsburgh, Kevlin Benjamin last year as a rookie, we’ve seen plenty of big playmaking from the 2014 NFL Draft Class.
Adams was supposed to take that leap this year, especially when Nelson was lost for the year.
If the Packers are to ever get back on track, this year, someone is going to have to do it. Cobb is not that guy. Neither is old man Jones. It also isn’t Abbrederis.
Janis could and perhaps should be the guy, but it seems that the Packers want Davante Adams to be a star. With 21 passes thrown to him today, it’s clear they want to hitch their wagon to second-year Adams and not second-year Janis.
So if the 2015 Packers are going to go anywhere, and if Rodgers and this passing attack are going to start to resemble their former selves more than a typical Browns, Rams, or Chiefs passing attack, then Davante Adams is going to have to start producing.