But the way Adams played in Sunday’s wild-card win over the Washington Redskins, the news that he’s unlikely to play in Saturday’s NFC divisional playoff game at the Arizona Cardinals hurts the Packers much more.
Indications are that Adams sustained a sprained MCL in his right knee when tight end Richard Rodgers landed on top of him in the third quarter of Sunday’s game. Although Adams said the initial examination showed he avoided a major injury, the follow-up tests showed partial damage to his MCL. It’s an injury that does not require surgery but takes a few weeks to a few months to heal.
Adams was injured at the end of a 9-yard catch on the first play of the Packers’ opening drive of the third quarter. He limped off the field and did not return. In essentially one half, Adams made his biggest impact in more than a month with four catches for 48 yards and a touchdown. It was his first touchdown since Dec. 3 at Detroit.
The catch before his touchdown might have been his most impressive of the season. On third-and-2 from the Redskins’ 30-yard line, quarterback Aaron Rodgers lofted the ball down the left sideline and Adams made a leaping catch against tight coverage from cornerback Quinton Dunbar.
“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,” Packers offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett said Monday. “I mean, it’s little things like that that we’ll continue to need [and] he will continue to need to do as we move forward.”
In what was expected to be a big year for Adams, he finished the regular season with 50 catches but averaged just 9.7 yards per catch and had only one touchdown. He came into the game tied with Randall Cobb for the team lead in drops (10), according to ProFootballFocus.com.
Adams made a major contribution in the playoffs last year, when he caught seven passes for 117 yards and a touchdown in the divisional-round win over the Dallas Cowboys. After Sunday’s performance in Washington, Rodgers called Adams “Mr. January.”
“This is the time of year where he starts to take off,” Rodgers said leading up to the playoffs. “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.”
It’s too soon to tell if Adams could return later in the playoffs should the Packers advance.
Without Adams, the Packers likely will elevate Jared Abbrederis to the No. 3 spot behind Cobb and James Jones. Abbrederis has played ahead of Jeff Janis as the No. 4 wideout recently. If the Packers feel like they need another receiver active, the most likely addition would be Ed Williams off the practice squad. Williams is a speedy receiver who had an impressive training camp.