GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Whatever has prevented Davante Adams from blossoming into the playmaking star the Green Bay Packers thought they had going into 2015, when coach Mike McCarthy called him the MVP of the offseason, the second-year receiver insists it’s not mental.
So does his offensive coordinator.
“It always goes back to fundamentals, doing it the right way every single time,” Packers offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett said. “And it always goes back to how we practice. The opportunities that he gets at practice, we practice how we play. That’s the bottom line. We’ve got to continue to do it on a daily basis on the practice field and it will show up on Sundays.”
Bennett and McCarthy can drill the fundamentals all they want, but if a young player like Adams loses confidence, the mental aspect of the game can be overwhelming.
“A lot of it has to do with confidence,” Adams said.
But in the same breath, Adams says that’s not a problem.
“I’m a confident player,” Adams said. “I’m confident in my ability, confident in my team, my quarterback, so I think we’re in a good place.”
Nevertheless, Adams has more than doubled his dropped-pass total from last season, and he still has two games to go. When Adams dropped what would’ve been a 14-yard touchdown in the third quarter Sunday against the Oakland Raiders, it marked his ninth drop of the season in just 11 games, according to ProFootballFocus.com (Note: ESPN Stats & Information has charged Adams with only five drops this season, including the one against the Raiders). He dropped only four all of his rookie 2014 season, according to PFF and ESPN.
Sunday's outing wasn’t as bad as his three-drop game in the rain on Thanksgiving night against the Chicago Bears -- he caught five passes for 32 yards on another wet day in Oakland -- but it continued a pattern.
“I’d say this to you whether or not you were recording this or not, I would say this to anybody: The biggest thing when you have games like I did against Chicago, it’s just bouncing back from things like that,” Adams said. “You can make all the excuses and say it’s the weather, which it had a whole lot to do with it, you’ve just got to have the [defensive back] mentality, which is a short memory, so we tried to do that.”
It was two big games late last season that had the Packers so excited about Adams’ potential. The second-round pick from Fresno State caught six passes for 121 yards against the New England Patriots and then had seven for 117 in the playoffs against the Dallas Cowboys.
It’s no wonder McCarthy and quarterback Aaron Rodgers were so high on Adams heading into Year 2.
Even before his Week 3 sprained ankle that kept him out of three games, Adams was off to a slow start. He caught just nine passes for 92 yards before his injury Sept. 28 against the Kansas City Chiefs.
In his 11 games, Adams has 43 catches for 387 yards and one touchdown. The high point was a two-week stretch in which he had seven catches for 93 yards against Carolina on Nov. 8 and 10 catches for 79 yards against Detroit on Nov. 15. He has 16 catches for only 115 yards in his five games since.
“There’s some things that he can do better, and he’s working on it,” McCarthy said. “He obviously had the situation earlier in the season with the injury. But this is how these seasons go. These games aren’t played on paper. They ain’t played on draft reports and how opinions of people [are] and how we think they’re going to do. It’s something you have to go out and earn it every week, and frankly this business is if you don’t do something well one week, you’re going to be challenged in that particular area every single week until you change it. And we’re having some of that. To me, those are normal challenges of any NFL season.”