Davante Adams Injury Latest Blow to Packers’ Receiver Corps

First, it was Jordy Nelson. Then, it was Ty Montgomery. Now, it's Davante Adams. That's a lot of firepower on the bench for Saturday night's playoff rematch vs. Arizona.

Heading into their biggest challenge of the season, the Green Bay Packers might have been dealt a serious blow with the news that receiver Davante Adams could miss Saturday night’s playoff game at Arizona with a knee injury.

The Packers lost to the Cardinals two weeks ago by 30 points. Not having Adams, who had turned in strong performances in back-to-back weeks, certainly won’t help the Packers’ chances of turning the tables and punching a ticket to the NFC Championship Game.

Due at least in part to a watered-down passing attack, Green Bay’s offense has struggled throughout most of the season. The Packers entered the playoffs ranked 15th in scoring, 23rd in yards and 25th in passing yards. They were dealt an early blow with Pro Bowler Jordy Nelson suffering a torn ACL in the preseason. Ty Montgomery, who had an excellent training camp and was earning more of a role, sustained an ankle injury in Week 6 that cost him the rest of the season. And now, it’s Adams, meaning three of the team’s top four receivers are on the sideline.

The passing attack showed signs of life during Sunday’s playoff victory against Washington. Green Bay scored on a season-high five consecutive drives and tallied its most points since Week 3. Adams played a role in that success with four catches for 48 yards and one touchdown before he was injured on Green Bay’s first snap of the third quarter. Late in the first half, he made an impressive leaping grab on the sideline for a gain of 20 before scoring a 10-yard touchdown.

“The importance of practice, practice habits, how you practice -- and no different in this situation,” offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett said on Monday. “It’s shown up the last couple weeks, actually. He’s had tremendous practices. Went out there and made the best of his opportunities, fine-tuning his craft from a route-running standpoint.  Again, it’s attention to detail, all the little things and he has -- he’s put together two really good weeks of practice. And you go back and you look at the last two games that we’ve played in, he’s truly had good weeks. You go back and look at the third-down conversion he had, he goes up and high-points the football and comes down and makes the play. It’s little things like that that we’ll continue to need (and) he will continue to need to do as we move forward.”

There were high hopes surrounding Adams entering this season, spurred by coach Mike McCarthy calling Adams a “preseason MVP” and quarterback Aaron Rodgers predicting Adams would emerge as a “star.” That never happened, though, as his road to stardom was detoured by an ankle injury sustained during the second quarter of the second game of the season. Adams missed most of the next four games and never looked like the player who had big games against New England and Dallas last season.

Through the Week 16 game against Arizona, Adams had caught only 52.3 percent of the passes thrown his direction with six drops and an average of 39.0 yards per game. However, Adams caught 8-of-10 passes against Minnesota and Washington with no drops. He had 54 yards vs. the Vikings and 48 yards and the touchdown in two quarters-plus-one play vs. the Redskins. That prompted Rodgers to call Adams “Mr. January” after the Washington game.

“He made a couple plays,” Rodgers said on the Wednesday before the Washington game. “This is the time of year where he starts to take off. He’s had some difficulties with his body this year with some injuries. Obviously, we put a lot of expectations on him and talked a lot about how he played in training camp. He gets a chance to bring it all back home during this run and be the player that we expect him to be.”

That chance to reach his immense potential might have to wait until next year. Beating Arizona would have been hard enough at full strength. Now, the Packers will have to solve the Cardinals’ excellent defense without the player who might have been a real X-factor if he could have continued his late-season surge.

Bill Huber is publisher of 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 www.twitter.com/PackerReport.

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