There will be no trophy presentation, but Davante Adams is thrilled with being coach Mike McCarthy’s offseason MVP.
“It means a lot,” Adams, the Green Bay Packers’ impressive second-year receiver, said after Tuesday’s minicamp practice. “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 (during the season).”
Adams is coming off a solid rookie season. As a second-round pick, he supplanted Jarrett Boykin as the No. 3 receiver with 38 receptions for 446 yards and three touchdowns. In the playoffs, he added eight receptions for 124 yards and one touchdown – better across-the-board numbers than Jordy Nelson.
The production, however, was sporadic, because it took Adams time to earn the trust of quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Rodgers has been singing a different tune this offseason. Last week, he touted Adams’ “humongous upside” and excellent approach. McCarthy jumped onto the bandwagon on Tuesday.
“I would say Davante Adams for someone if, 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. Davante, if you wanted me to pick an MVP or an all-star, he would definitely be atop the list.”
Adams has been part of Year 1 to Year 2 jumps before. After redshirting in 2011, he burst onto the national scene with 102 receptions in 2012 – 32 more catches than any other player in the Mountain West Conference. Rather than running 40-yard dashes in January, February and March to boost his draft stock, Adams was starring in a playoff game this past January and then honing his craft this past February and March.
The difference has been obvious.
“Once you start getting comfortable in the system and knowing your place on the team and things like that, that’s when things start jelling,” Adams said. “You don’t really have time to think about it. You just go out there and play. That’s when you do your most damage.”
Adams did plenty of damage at times last season. He caught five passes against the Jets in Week 2, six against Miami in Week 6, seven against New Orleans in Week 8, six against New England in Week 13 and seven in the playoffs against Dallas. That’s 31 receptions in five games. In the weeks prior to those big games, Adams caught just three passes.
It could have made for a trying season, considering Adams caught 131 passes in 2013. Instead, he stayed involved mentally and delivered big games when the opportunities arrived.
“It’s not going to be easy but you can’t be selfish,” Adams said. “You’ve got to know, coming from college, you’re not going to come in and always rip it up right away. You’ve got to be patient and that’s part of the maturity. That shows a lot to the coaches, my quarterback and everybody else that I’m not going to be discouraged. Just because it doesn’t happen one week, that doesn’t mean you can’t do it the next week.”
If Adams continues on this path, he could be the latest consistent playmaker on a high-powered offense.
“I’ve taken my job really seriously and paying a lot of attention to detail to make sure that I’ll be able to keep taking steps in the right direction,” Adams said. “Obviously, nowhere near where I want to be. I’m just trying to start out strong.”
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