Why Was Adams Returning Punts?

Special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum was peppered with questions about that decision on Wednesday.

One of the more bizarre sights of Saturday night’s preseason game at Tennessee was that of rookie receiver Davante Adams serving as punt returner in a driving rainstorm.

Adams hadn’t taken a single punt return in an 11-on-11 setting in training camp, special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum said on Wednesday in confirming Packer Report and other outlets’ tracking of special teams reps.

“If I think back about it, no,” Slocum said. “He had caught a lot of punts, though. Since he’s been here, he’s caught a lot of punts and he’s caught them very well, and he caught a bunch before the game in pregame.”

He didn’t catch them very well in the game, though. He muffed both of his opportunities, and injured his thumb while trying to recover the second flub. Adams missed the first two days of practice this week but returned to action on Wednesday.

All of which leads to the obvious question: Why was Adams put in that position against the Titans?

“It’s a tough game played by tough men,” Slocum said. “You’ve got to step up and respond. ... Guys have to step up and play and have to do things sometimes without practice, particularly on special teams.”

Adams, who returned two punts during his two seasons at Fresno State, will remain in the punt return mix, Slocum said. At Wednesday’s practice, Micah Hyde, Tramon Williams and Randall Cobb were the three players used on returns.

“Found out that I was going to be catching them pretty late (on Saturday) but I’m a receiver, so I pride myself on having good hands,” Adams said earlier in the week. “Obviously, the weather wasn’t in my favor for catching the ball, but Coach, if he thinks that highly of me to go back there and catch punts in weather like that, then I’ve got to step up and catch ‘em.”

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

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