Davante Adams’ Injury Affords Rare Chance for Backup Receivers
Davante Adams is expected to remain in the NFL’s concussion protocol through Thursday, meaning he is expected to miss the Green Bay Packers’ game with the Chicago Bears. That will force coach Mike McCarthy to give one of the team’s reserve receivers a chance to show what he can do.
Of the infinite number of examples McCarthy has given of his stubbornness and resistance to making changes, none has been more vexing, to fans and critics alike, than his refusal to give four promising receivers a chance to help out his reeling team and sickly passing game.
Jeff Janis and Jared Abbrederis are now well into their third year of waiting. Ty Montgomery is in his second year and Trevor Davis is the rookie in the group.
How many chances has McCarthy given to the group – and by chances I mean a half game or more of being part of a game plan, not a few token snaps here or there?
Here’s that count: Janis and Abbrederis got real playing time in the Cardinals’ game last postseason, and Montgomery got a half game (some lined up as a running back) on Sunday against the Cowboys. In each instance McCarthy was forced to play them, and did so only due to injuries to his favored receivers.
How did they do? Abbrederis had a fine outing, four receptions, 55 yards, no drops or turnovers. Janis had a sensational game, with seven catches, 145 yards, two touchdowns and no drops or turnovers. Montgomery’s line against the Cowboys was 10 catches, out of 12 targets, for 98 yards – six of them for first downs. He did lose a fumble.
Montgomery and Janis each were thrust into their role due to a mid-game injury, so they presumably came in without the benefit of taking first-team snaps during practice. Despite playing well, Abbrederis and Janis have not been afforded significant playing time since. Will Montgomery suffer the same fate?
By denying these players their chances, McCarthy is doing enormous damage to their careers and their pocketbooks. If Abbrederis and Janis don’t get significant playing time this year, one-third or so of their expected careers will have been squandered. The difference between starter pay at a skill position and special teamer pay is millions of dollars per year.
Here’s my prediction – and I wonder if McCarthy has given any thought to it. If Jeff Janis, with his enormous potential, is not made a starter this year, by the end of his four-year contract he would be crazy to stay with the team and coach who didn’t value him and who have already done irreparable harm to his earning potential. Janis is a very loyal guy, but the team has not reciprocated with loyalty or fairness.
Fortunately for Janis, the rest of the league got one fleeting glimpse of what he can do, but it should be enough. It helps Janis that other GMs and head coaches by now know that McCarthy is clueless when it comes to putting the best personnel on the field.
Continuing the scenario, Janis will get a nice incentive-laden contract with another NFL team in 2018, and he will capitalize on it. He’ll consistently have 1,000-yard receiving seasons for the remaining five or more seasons of his career. He will become the league’s leading big-play threat, and he will add punt returning to his set of skills – at which he’s more of a natural than at kickoff returns.
It would serve McCarthy right if Janis signs with the Vikings.
Am I being overdramatic? Maybe, but this is what I think is on the line if there is an available spot at WR3 on Thursday, and if Janis is not picked to fill it. His time is now!