Allen Lazard has doubts about it: Davante Adams is in a league of his own when it comes to current NFL wide receivers.
Lazard lauded the Green Bay Packers‘ top wideout during his Monday guest appearance on The Pat McAfee Show after being asked about his growing reputation as one of the league’s elite pass-catcher. Adams was named a first-team All-Pro for the first time in his career in 2020 and set numerous franchise records in the process, giving his name more weight than ever in conversations about the NFL’s current bests.
To Lazard, there is no conversation about who should be considered the NFL’s No. 1 wide receiver at the moment, and the evidence comes in Adams’ tape and technique as route-runner. Here’s how he justified his answer to McAfee while also making a bold declaration about Adams’ weaponized feet:
“If you really watch his tape and receiver technique, the intricacies of the game and everything are something he does at an elite level. No one on this planet can stay with him. I’ve said before his feet should be registered as weapons just like some boxers and MMA people have their hands registered as weapons. What he does on the football field with his feet is unbelievable. That’s why he’s not (top two), but in a category of himself.”
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Lazard Trending in Right Direction for Playoffs
Lazard’s third season with the Packers hasn’t quite gone as expected after he rose from the practice squad and locked down a place on the active roster in 2019. While he began the season in a more prominent role and led the Packers in receiving through the first three weeks (13 receptions, 254 yards, two touchdowns), a core-muscle injury undermined his fast start.
Lazard was injured after catching six passes for a career-high 146 yards and a touchdown in Week 3 against the New Orleans Saints, landing on injured reserve the next week and undergoing surgery that kept him out of the lineup until Week 11 against Indianapolis. He stayed involved and caught no fewer than two passes in each game for the rest of the season, but he seemed to struggle with fully regaining his step down the stretch.
Don’t forget, Lazard had sustained the same type of core-muscle injury that essentially cast Robert Tonyan — who scored 11 touchdowns this season — into the background of the 2019 season as he worked his way back to 100% again.
The silver lining, however, was the way Lazard moved Saturday night during his 58-yard touchdown grab against the Los Angeles Rams. He blazed past two Rams defenders, made a perfect adjustment to secure a rare off-target throw from Rodgers and helped the Packers put away their divisional win without any lingering signs of pain or slowness.
Certainly not a bad time for him to be finding his stride again.
How Will Adams’ Role Change in Tampa Rematch?
The Packers’ first loss of the season was a doozy, a 38-10 spanking in Tampa Bay coming off their bye week, which means they will no doubt be looking for redemption when they host the Buccaneers for the NFC championship game. Will an effective offensive attack include more or less of Adams this time around, though?
Adams caught six of his 10 targets for 61 yards in his first matchup with the Bucs, his welcome-back game after missing two and a half games with a hamstring injury, but the Packers offense sputtered the entire night. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw two interceptions — including the third pick-six of his career — in the worst performance of his MVP-caliber season. Aaron Jones gained just 15 yards on 10 rushing attempts. And none of that even accounts for the Packers defense giving up 158 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
Suffice it to say Matt LaFleur and his coaching staff will have a different game plan coming into Sunday’s rematch, and that could mean less of an emphasis on Adams. While ignoring their No. 1 receiving weapon is never a deliberate strategy, using him to generate more creative openings for other targets, such as Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling or tight end Robert Tonyan, has reaped rewards in the past.
It can also depend on how they feel about the rushing matchup. They attacked the Rams with a three-headed establishment of Jones, Jamaal Williams and AJ Dillon out of the backfield, using it to set the tone for the passing game, but the Bucs finished as the league’s No. 1 rushing defense. They also had no trouble shutting down the same three rushers in Week 6’s game when they gained just 94 yards on 21 attempts.