The Green Bay Packers aren’t fooling themselves. They know that everyone else knows just how dangerous Davante Adams can be within their offense.
So, rather than disguise his talent, the Packers are planning to keep him on the move against the San Francisco 49ers when the two teams clash this Sunday night in the NFC Championship Game. He figures to be the No. 1 priority in the passing game for the 49ers defense after having a career game against the Seattle Seahawks in last week’s divisional round, catching eight passes for 160 yards and two touchdowns in the 28-23 victory.
In that case, Adams could spend most of the night contending with All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman — as long as the 49ers are willing to keep him on the move like last week’s win over Minnesota.
“We’re not exactly sure what they’re going to do if they’re going to move Sherman around,” Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers told reporters during Friday’s media availability. “It seemed like they did that with him with (Adam) Thielen a little bit and rolled some coverage at times to (Stefon) Diggs. Their defense is so talented and savvy. It’s not a super complex scheme where they’re going to throw a number of crazy blitzes. … They’re so good in their base coverages, they’ve been able to dominate at times during just that. I’m not sure if they’re going to move Sherm around, but we’re definitely going to move Davante around.”
Adams finished the regular season as the Packers leading receiver with 83 catches for 997 yards and five touchdowns in just 12 games, missing the second quarter of the season with a turf toe injury that took even longer to fully heal. Seven of those passes he caught against the 49ers during their Week 12 matchup, including one for a touchdown and another for a two-point conversion, but he was held to just one for seven yards when lining up against Sherman.
“People have said a lot about whether he’s fallen off or whatever, and I don’t see that,” Adams said of Sherman. “I see that he’s still the same guy, still making plays and a respectable corner, but the way I attack it is just like every other guy. I don’t try to change anything because you’ve got a little bit more talent than the next guy. I just try to play my game and make you play my game, and then hopefully that changes the way you go about your business.”
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Adams’ Obsession Only Benefitting Packers
After Adams made a couple of crucial catches in the win over the Seahawks, Rodgers compared his connection with his top passing target to the one he had with Jordy Nelson, which is some high praise considering the prolific history between Rodgers and Nelson.
Some of that surely comes down to Adams’ obsession over being one of the league’s top route-runners, whether it is working in new packages during the offseason or making midseason adjustments to sharpen his craft against defenders.
“I’d say obsession is a good word for it,” Adams told reporters on Wednesday. “It’s something that I’m working on every day. If I come back and Jaire (Alexander) got a hand on me on a certain release, I’m coming back and reworking on the release, trying to figure out how I can do it better. That’s just the mentality because, like I said, if I can get ready early it’s going to make it a lot easier on me.”
Rodgers has certainly taken notice and believes “the word is getting out with him with how talented he is at the line of scrimmage,” but he also recognizes there is a timing to their relationship now that mirrors what he had with Nelson. That timing was key to Adams’ 40-yard touchdown catch against the Seahawks.
“It’s the timing of when he takes his head back and the burst, so it’s a combination of the burst, making it look like a deep over, and the timing of the head back to breaking out of it at the proper time,” Rodgers said Friday. “If you were able to have a camera on him and a camera on me, it would just tell you how perfect the timing on his part was because when I was ready to throw and my feet set, he was coming out at the proper angle.”
The Packers will lean on that timing and connection again for a chance to reach the Super Bowl this Sunday, but it will take strong contributions from the rest of the offense — at the top of the list, Aaron Jones and Allen Lazard — to keep from suffering the same fate as their last trip out west.