“After that dunk he did (that is) on the Internet that everybody talked about, if we can put it up there 10 or 11 feet, there’s not going to be anybody who can jump with him,” Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said last week.
With so many known commodities on the Packers’ offense, it could be argued that Adams is the X-factor that will determine whether that unit can play at a championship level against championship-caliber defenses. The offseason was a good sign, with Adams called the Packers’ spring MVP by coach Mike McCarthy.
Adams has made some splash plays during training camp, including this incredible one-handed catch on Family Night, but the opportunities have been fleeting. With Adams always lining up with Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson, there are so many balls to go around.
“Aaron knows what he’s doing out there,” Adams said on Family Night. “I think I’ve been getting the ball a pretty good amount — maybe not all the deep balls and things like that but I’ve been able to get work and get open. I’m just worrying about doing what I have to do. If the ball comes my way, that’s a plus.”
It’s no wonder Adams was taking it all in stride. Last season, he caught 46 passes in 18 games, with 31 of those coming coming in five games and 15 in the other 13 games. Six of those receptions (for 121 yards) came in last year’s showdown against New England — the team the Packers open the preseason at on Thursday.
The dunk, however, served as a reminder to Rodgers of Adams’ explosive potential.
“He brought it up to me,” Adams said. “We’ll see what the year’s looking like when it comes to that, but he’s definitely brought it up before. He’s known all along. But that was like, you said, a little eye-opener for him.”
Adams and Derek Carr made a living on jump-ball passes while starring at Fresno State. During his final season at Fresno, Adams set a Mountain West Conference record with 24 touchdown receptions.
“He recognized I could jump a little bit,” Adams, who had a 39.5-inch vertical at the Scouting Combine, said matter-of-factly.
Just a little. That was evident on Thursday, when Rodgers threw a jump ball to Adams near the goal line. Adams skied over Ladarius Gunter to score the touchdown — no small feat considering Gunter is 6-foot-1 1/2.
“It’s about him feeling comfortable and taking a step,” Rodgers said after that practice. “It was good on the fade ball because we had been talking a lot about giving him an opportunity on some of those jump balls. ...
“It’s just giving him opportunities. You watch the film last year and he was open a lot on the backside of stuff and it just depended on matchups whether the ball went his way a couple times in a game or 10 times. And when he had the 10 targets, you saw the production he had. It’s about matchups in this offense. We had two guys who caught over 90 balls. And as teams start to tilt even more to them, Davante’s going to get more opportunities.”
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at 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.