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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!

Rob Born

Smart drafters don’t select the best available players, they fill a team’s positions of greatest need.



  1. Gravy Copter 2600 October 19, 2016

    “Obviously, we’d like to see them out there a bit more. We had some match ups that we liked. Perillo did some nice things. But it comes back to fundamentals those guys. Its a process. We know can they can do some good things out there too but at the end of the day, its a numbers game. Right now we’re focused on the Falcons.”
    – Mike McCarthy, at his future Friday morning press conference, trying explain why Janis, Abbredaris and Davis didn’t play in the Packers loss to the Bears.

  2. PF4L October 19, 2016

    Good article Rob…

    But i gotta say, Janis’s future success in the league is more a hopeful prediction or belief, than a certainty as you stated.

    Its about time that we get a look at more receivers. Adams hasn’t exactly earned holding on to the #3 spot imo.

    I believe the player with the highest ceiling is Montgomery. Of course he has to stay healthy. But his catch percentage is off the charts, 25 catches from 30 targets. When given the opportunity, this guy can ball. He seems like a great possession receiver and seems to have the rare ability of getting open. He’s only 23 and i see him as a future #2 and right now, a real strong #3 with Abby a 4. Gotta hang onto the rock though. I also see a bright future for Abby if he can get on the field and stay away from concussions.

    At the end of the day, like the rest of you, i scratch my head wondering why Adams has such a lock on his #3 status. This offense needs some new energy.

    1. Robster October 19, 2016

      My belief in Janis is largely based on his metrics. There is only one active receiver in the league with a comparable combination of size, speed, agility, acceleration, and strength: Julio Jones and Janis are metric clones. I’ve gone back to the 90s, and can’t find anyone at his level of athleticism who hasn’t had solid success in the NFL.

      1. PF4L October 19, 2016

        Yes, a belief….i’m not really a nfl player metric studying kind of guy. I just know he’s caught 13 passes in the NFL so far in his 3 years.

  3. Pack Attack October 19, 2016

    I felt that losing montgomery last year hurt. Guy looks beastly. Can understand the fumble. Hadn’t played in forever and then dum dum hadnt used him all that much. If he has another one Thursday then thats different. Can we get an article about how this may be one of the last times we get to face or at least see the great Cutty!!

  4. Howard October 19, 2016

    Janis will get to see the field. The question is will he have any passes thrown his way unless there is no other option. Janis, Abby, and Davis just need to make plays when given the chance. The last time Davis had a chance he dropped the ball. Not good if your trying to impress. Abby in the short time he had on the field appeared to be limping. Janis had 2 throws and 2 catches. Just build on your opportunities when they come around and you will be provided more chances. Montgomery has proven he should be targeted more. The problem is Montgomery has not really produced as a wideout. Montgomery has produced in the slot or out of the backfield. I am skeptical of Montgomery as a running back but as a second or third down back in passing situations, or slot receiver thumbs up. Montgomery’s size and running style reminds me a lot of Sterling Sharpe. He is not there but he has a lot of tools if he builds on his last weeks success.

    1. Zwoeger October 19, 2016

      “Janis will get to see the field. The question is will he have any passes thrown his way unless there is no other option.” Exactly . I can’t remember what happened aterwards but I remember , because it was so obvious, AR looking at a free Janis and looked away immediately .

  5. Empacador October 19, 2016

    Janis and Abby are both gonna leave town once their “obligation” is complete. Who could blame them?

  6. Icebowler October 19, 2016

    The Packers need to locate the best optometrists in the country, especially ones specializing in depth perception, and get Aaron three or four appointments.

  7. kal kloth October 19, 2016

    davante adams is the problem with the packers, he is slow 4.59 or slower in the 40 yard dash ,,and was projected as a 4th ,or 5th round person in the nfl draft.ted Thompson drafted him and wants to prove he is worthy but he is not. he gets no separation even from linebackers. play jeff Janis and give him a chance, just like someone gave you a chance to coach…

  8. Scotty158 October 19, 2016

    It is apparent that Aaron is not letting the ball go to lead his receivers. If they practice together why do they still have timing problems and will someone tell him to remind the receivers where the 1st down markers are on third downs. Otherwise I have to blame the coach for his bad pass routes and play calling.

  9. Ted Hawthorne October 19, 2016

    As I said last year, Janis runs with the ball like a man who has
    just escaped from a mental institution. When going up for a
    pass he “clears” the area around him with his large frame, arms
    and legs. His stride is enormous, and uncatchable once started.
    Rob, your article is absolutely accurate. Thank you.