Davante Adams is the best wide receiver on the Green Bay Packers.
One year ago at this time, it would have been asinine to think that statement would be possible. Adams was in the midst of the most disappointing season by a Packers’ wide receiver since the days of Robert Ferguson.
Adams was deemed the offseason MVP by his head coach and quarterback. The praise he received made the blow of losing Jordy Nelson for the season seem softer.
Instead of backing up the praise, Adams fell flat on his face. He struggled all season with injuries and inconsistent play. Instead of becoming a star, Adams became the top scapegoat among the fan base.
There were calls for Jeff Janis or Jared Abbrederis to replace him. Those calls extended into this season. The hope was with Nelson back, the offense would return to form. The other hope among the fans was that someone other than Adams would be catching passes on the opposite side of Nelson.
Adams suffered through an up and down training camp that caused some experts to speculate his roster spot was in jeopardy.
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Instead of miring in mediocrity like he did all of last season, Adams got better every week. He began the season with an improbable touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
While the throw by Rodgers was absurd, it’s a ball that Adams likely would have dropped last year. Instead, he caught the ball and gave the Packers a lead just before halftime.
Adams has continued to build since that first game. Yes, he has had some issues throughout the season. The Packers offense as a whole is not what it has been. In fact, for awhile, Adams was one of the team’s lone bright spots.
His most recent game against the Philadelphia Eagles showed off all of the improvements he made from a season ago. Adams ran his routes with precision. He caught the ball when it was thrown to him. He made plays after the catch.
More importantly, Adams showed how he has become the team’s best wide receiver.
Jordy Nelson is back, but he is clearly not in the same form he was in 2014. While he is still a good option, as his chemistry with the quarterback is unparalleled, he still does not look as explosive as he used to be.
Randall Cobb appears to be a shell of his former self. He simply has not been an impact player since signing his new contract following the 2014 season. Whether that is because of a lack of a true deep threat on the boundary, or eroding skills is up for debate.
Adams has been the player that has been most consistent throughout the season. At the conclusion of this week, Mike Evans, Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr, and Jordy Nelson are the only receivers in the NFL with more touchdowns than Adams.
Touchdowns certainly are not everything to a receiver. Those numbers can be misleading. There’s nothing misleading about Adams’ development. He is second only to Nelson in receptions. He leads the team in receiving yards and yards after the catch.
More importantly, he looks like a healthy, confident player. Adams has a swagger about him when he makes plays after the catch. He’s a much better version of himself when that swagger is present.
Adams is unlikely to ever be the star that his coach and quarterback proclaimed him to be in the summer of 2015. He’s unlikely to be seen as one of the top players at his position.
Bad reputations are a hard thing to break. It’s likely that he will continue to be seen as an inconsistent player due to his horrendous 2015 season.
Reality is different from perception in this case. Adams not only is much better than he was in 2015, he’s better than any option the Packers have.
If the Packers are going to continue their turnaround on offense, they should continue to run their passing game through him. Using the other receivers as a supplement will open up opportunities down the field.
Adams’ development into the team’s best receiver is a surprise nobody could have seen coming. It is reality, however, and something the Packers should continue to work with as they enter the most important stretch of their season.