What's next for Davante Adams? Packers receiver ready for encore

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Encores come at the end. But when it comes to Davante Adams, this might only be the beginning.

Yet whenever anyone talks about the Packers receiver, all they ever want to know is what Adams will do after last year's breakout season. It's perhaps the biggest question about the Packers' offense that has nothing to do with the running game.

In his third NFL season, Adams set career highs in every major category -- catches (75), yards (997) and touchdowns (12).

"I told him before this year he still has a lot more to show," said former Packers receiver James Jones, who has served as a mentor to Adams.

What that means statistically (and, of course, for fantasy football purposes) is anyone's guess. Adams could face more double coverage. He could draw an opponent's No. 1 cornerback more often. Or targets could simply go to the myriad weapons at Aaron Rodgers' disposal. All the key receivers from last season have returned, and there are two new tight ends in Martellus Bennett and Lance Kendricks. The running game, with Ty Montgomery as the opening-day starting back, is perhaps the biggest unknown on offense.

Adams dazzled Green Bay's coaches in training camp this summer -- he beat cornerbacks deep, he made leaping catches and he refined his ball skills -- and he appears to be in the best shape of his career.

"He's a guy who now has three years under his belt playing and playing a lot of snaps," said receivers coach Luke Getsy. "Something that we talked a lot about last year was that part of his game growing, his leadership role. And I think the successes that he had last year, he came into the offseason with that approach. He had Jordy [Nelson] and Randall [Cobb] kind of help him, and I think he's kind of seeing to it now that, OK, that's kind of your responsibility to guide these young guys and kind of teach them the ropes. He's grown tremendously through that. He's been awesome. I've said that before. His communication with those young guys has been fabulous."

And his chemistry with Rodgers is at an all-time high, perhaps even approaching Jordy Nelson level.

"I think he had a great camp," Nelson said. "He continues to grow -- if it's within the routes, the releases, taking some of the coaching that Luke's brought into us with our footwork, making us more efficient with what we're doing at the line and in and out of our breaks. You can see him build confidence in that and with his ability; for how explosive and as quick as he is, if he continues to do that, he's very hard for someone to try to get their hands on. Because he's got a very special ability for as quick as he is, as explosive as he is, at the line and at the top of the break. Him just building confidence in that and trusting in that. Hopefully, it will carry over into the game."

Adams said earlier this offseason that he did not obsess over the 3 yards that kept him from his first 1,000-yard season. He also vowed not to let his contract status -- he's in the last year of his rookie deal -- cloud his mind. Sunday's regular-season opener will be a mental test by itself, considering he's bound to match up against the Seattle Seahawks' standout cornerback Richard Sherman, who is among the best at covering (and rattling) a receiver.

"I feel like with where my game is at right now," Adams said, "it's going to be a great test."

And it might offer a glimpse at where Adams is headed.

"The kid is ridiculously athletic," said Jones, who announced his retirement from the NFL this week. "He has speed. He has size. His quickness off the line is probably the best in the National Football League. I tell him every day to show those people who you really are, because he's a special player. Being his big brother, I was extremely happy for him, and seeing him take off with the year he had. But he has a lot of work to do, and he knows that. I believe he's going to have a better year this year."