It might be Sunday at Minnesota. It might be next week vs. New England. It might be a playoff game in January.
Whenever it is, the time is going to come when Adams will be asked to be so much more than just the anonymous third member of the Packers’ passing attack. There will be a time when the Packers face either a really good pair of corners capable of at least slowing the weekly 15-catch, 200-yard, three-touchdown assault provided by Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, or an opposing defensive coordinator is going to be hellbent on taking at least one of them out of the game.
Is Adams ready to jump into that role?
“Absolutely. I’m ready tomorrow,” Adams said.
Receivers coach Edgar Bennett sees a player who is ready for more — if and when more is asked of him.
“It starts with the classroom environment, then it goes out to the practice field,” Bennett said on Thursday. “Once we get to game day, each of our guys are ready to step out there and make the most of your opportunities. Davante has certainly shown what he’s capable of doing. We’ve just got to continue to grow and be consistent on a daily basis.”
Adams has handled his quiet rookie season like a pro. In just two seasons at Fresno State, Adams caught 233 passes — including an unfathomable 131 in 2013. During his final three collegiate games, he caught 31 passes for 506 yards and five touchdowns. In 10 games as a rookie, he’s caught 27 (of 39) passes for 286 yards and three touchdowns. He’s been busy at times, including seven catches for 75 yards at New Orleans before the bye. In the two games since the bye, he’s caught three passes (four targets) for 23 yards.
Adams isn’t pouting. He’s running his routes and getting open. With Nelson and Cobb putting up such huge numbers, he understands why they’re getting the ball.
“I can’t control where he’s throwing the ball,” Adams said. “I just control if I’m open or not. That’s what I try to stick to.”
One of receivers Bennett’s favorite phrases is “taking advantage of your opportunities.” Adams has made the most of his limited chances.
“I feel like I definitely have,” Adams said. “I try to catch every ball he’s thrown to me and try to get in the end zone as much as I can and continue to show my coaches, him and the rest of my teammates that I’m worthy of having the ball in my hands.”
The learning curve for a rookie receiver is steep. The cornerbacks are better. The defenses are harder to solve. The offenses are much more complex. Whether it’s turning a first-quarter catch into a touchdown, like he did on Sunday against the Eagles, or practicing well on Wednesday and Thursday, Bennett said Adams is ready for whatever will be asked of him.
“The mind-set is just do your job,” Bennett said. “Each and every guy understands that. It’s always and it always will be about the team, not the individual accolades and things like that. He certainly understands that coming in here, but he also understands from a preparation standpoint that he will be ready, he will respond when he gets those opportunities and just do his job.”
Just doing his job is Adams’ focus. All he can do is run his route. If he is open but the ball goes to Nelson, then Adams has done all he can do. And if Adams is open and the ball comes his way, he’s ready to show the playmaking ability he showed against the Jets, Dolphins and Saints.
“I’m always going to continue to do what I can do,” Adams said. “If ‘12’ feels like I’m the guy he should be going to for that, then I’m going to keep being open and I’m going to keep doing what I have to do and that’ll continue to build that trust with him even more and he’ll know that Davante’s going to be open. If the other options aren’t available, I’ll be there.”firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.