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We’re Watching a Star at the Peak of His Powers

It would be foolish to try to read a lot from the outcome of Thursday’s game – in all of my considerable years I’ve never seen an NFL game in which the two teams were so devastated by injuries. Still, halfway through this season, we are continuing to learn more about this resilient group. Though flawed in many ways, they have a propensity for winning.

More thoughts about the team’s prospects will come later. For now, I think it’s an appropriate time to start to compare Davante Adams with the best Green Bay receivers in the modern era – the incredible Don Hutson is in a league of his own.

It’s true that Davante’s “numbers” aren’t yet comparable to the annual totals of such greats as James Lofton, Sterling Sharpe, Jordy Nelson, and Donald Driver. His best yards-gained season to date is 1,386 in 2018 – the only time he has surpassed 1,000 yards.

Lofton had six 1,000-yard seasons, including three seasons of 1,294 yards or more, and with a top season of 1,381 in 1984. Sharpe, whose career spanned only seven years, had five 1,000 yard seasons, with the best being 1,461 in 1992. In his nine years with Green Bay, Jordy had four 1,000-yarders, with his best being a spectacular 1,519 in 2014. In his 14 years, Driver had a surprising seven 1,000-yard seasons, the best being 1,295 in 2006.

As to career yardage, two players are well ahead of the rest: Driver accumulated 10,137 yards, all with the Pack, while Lofton wound up with 9,656. Adams, who will turn 28 next month, stands at 5,869, which ranks tenth best in team history at the moment.

The only questions about Davante breaking the team’s all-time yardage record are: will his health allow it, and will he remain a Packer for many more years. Davante, who was a starter even in his first game as a rookie, has missed 5, 4, 1, 2, 1, 4, and 2 games in his six and a half years as a pro. The majority of his missed time has been due to hamstring ailments, which have also had an affect on games he has played at less than full strength. Davante is signed up through 2021. His four-year deal, at an average of $14.5 million, has been a bargain.

Packers WR Davante Adams

November 5, 2020; Santa Clara, California, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams (17) runs the football against San Francisco 49ers safety Marcell Harris (36) during the third quarter at Levi’s Stadium. Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Over his last three games, Davante has gained 422 yards, an average of over 140 yards per game. He’s also caught six TD passes in that time. He leads the league by a wide margin in receiving yardage per game played, at 112.5 yards. He is at the peak of his abilities – and for once the Packers are getting nearly full utilization out of one of their stars.

Seldom has there been a better example of symbiosis in the NFL. For Vikings fans, here’s the definition: interaction between two different organisms living in close physical association, typically to the advantage of both.

We all know that Davante isn’t exceptionally fast. Back at the 2014 NFL Combine, his 40-yard dash time was no better than average, at 4.56 seconds. His talent, however, lies in his unparalleled burst, acceleration, and ability to change directions.

This is where Aaron Rodgers comes into the picture. When Davante makes his cut and bursts into open space, it’s for a relatively brief time. Rodgers has the quick delivery, arm strength, timing, and full confidence in his receiver to hit him as soon as he breaks into open space.

We watched the duo hook up twice Thursday night on their classic connection: Davante races about twenty yards downfield, then does a stop-and-go, or sometimes more of a stutter step, and propels himself downfield. This invariably gets him, briefly, from a half-step to a full stride clear of the defender, and Aaron hits him, perfectly, 30 to 35 yards downfield. Though these plays result in long gains, Aaron typically launches these passes in under three seconds, well before pass rushers can reach him. Such plays require tremendous precision, and they are a thing of beauty for Green Bay fans to savor.

Time will tell how far the Rodgers-to-Adams connection can take this team. Despite the lack of a strong supporting cast of receivers, Matt La Fleur and his offensive coaching staff are slowly but surely strengthening the passing game. The team is getting good returns on passes to the running backs – though there remains untapped potential in that regard. Though they just had a quiet night, the same is true of the Pack’s three capable tight ends.

Tyler Ervin made a nice contribution of four catches for 48 yards against the Niners. Marquez Valdes-Scantling again displayed his best (getting open deep) and worst (dropped passes) traits against San Francisco. When Allen Lazard returns from injury, likely following this mini-bye week, enough pieces should be in place for the Packers to have a highly productive passing game.

Nov 5, 2020; Santa Clara, California, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams (17) reacts after catching a pass for a touchdown against San Francisco 49ers cornerback Emmanuel Moseley (41) and free safety Jimmie Ward (20) during the first quarter at Levi’s Stadium. Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Final thought. Despite watching Green Bay’s pass attack consistently weaken over the past five years, I steadfastly maintained that it was within Aaron Rodgers’ power to reverse the trend – his “decline” was due to “bad habits,” and unrelated to aging. I never thought, however, that he could turn things around so abruptly and dramatically.

Aaron’s passer ratings from 2016 through 2019 were 104.2, 97.2, 97.6, and 95.4. Over the first half of 2020, however – and despite an unimposing receiving corps – Aaron stands at 117.5, second only to Russell Wilson (and his great group of receivers). Quite simply, Aaron is back to being his All-Pro, MVP-quality self. Such a comeback is a tremendous achievement, and it dictates that anything is possible as the team heads into the second half of the campaign.

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Rob Born

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

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12 Comments

  1. PF4L November 7, 2020

    And to think back in time when some were calling for Adams to be cut.
    .

    Reply
  2. PF4L November 7, 2020

    For that special someone, who tells everyone in here that i think Rodgers can do no wrong, etc. The one who likes to speak for me….Eat a dick.
    ………………….
    PF4L
    09/18/2016 at 9:39 pm
    I don’t know what Rodgers was thinking on that pick he threw. That throw was lofted and ended up on the inside of Adams, when it should have had more velocity and thrown to Adam’s outside shoulder.
    ……………………………………………………..
    PF4L November 30, 2015
    Although it pains me to say this, a lot of Rodgers passes haven’t exactly been on point lately, some throws behind receivers, a lot of low throws, forget thinking about interceptions, and let that thing fly like you use too. The line also has to step it the fuck up. Giving Rodgers 2.1 seconds to make a throw doesn’t exactly give the receiver a lot of time to get open, or downfield, hence why most passes are dink and dunk, and the receiver gets tackled immediately after the catch.
    …………………………………….
    Maybe we’ll examine some quotes from Packer fans years back during Adams “struggles”, including mine.

    Reply
  3. PF4L November 7, 2020

    Because it’s funny….that’s why……
    ……………………………………………
    ANONYMOUS….10/19/16
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    “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.” – Anonymous

    “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.” – Anonymous
    .
    In related news….Cooper has a tire special going on. Buy 3, get one free.

    Reply
    1. PF4L November 7, 2020

      Mordecai Jones August 31, 2018……
      .
      The Green Bay Packers let receiver, special teams ace, outdoorsman and cult hero Jeff Janis walk as a free agent this year. Maybe to the surprise of some, but certainly not me.

      Janis signed a one-year, $1 million deal with the Cleveland Browns. He will not be collecting that money.

      The Browns released Janis on Friday.

      Reply
      1. Stiggy November 7, 2020

        Janis problem is he was no begelton. That cfl experience is the difference maker

        Reply
  4. PF4L November 7, 2020

    PF4L June 10, 2016
    We don’t know the how or the why’s, we aren’t there. I’ll trust Rodgers judgement as i think he might know more about receivers than we do. Janis has caught 9 passes in the NFL. Lets see what happens before busting a nut.
    …………………………………………..
    Anonymous…Packers June 8, 2016
    Bust Davante Adams should be cut before Abby.
    ………………………………………….
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    Empacador January 25, 2016
    Since everyone is replacing Chuck Norris with Jeff Janis;

    Jeff Janis was on “American Idol”. He won using sign language.
    Jeff Janis tears can cure cancer. He has never cried.
    Jeff Janis counted to infinity. TWICE.
    When the Boogeyman goes to sleep at night, he checks his closet for Jeff Janis.
    Jeff Janis does not sleep. He waits.
    Jeff Janis can sneeze with his eyes open.
    Jeff Janis can divide by zero.
    Hand sanitizers kill 99.9% of all germs. Jeff Janis can kill 100% of whatever he wants. Seems fitting.

    ^^lmao^^
    ……………………………………….
    Just for entertainment…..
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    ay hombre February 13, 2018
    I look forward to Janis being a star somewhere else.

    PF4L February 13, 2018
    I look forward to watching McCarthy be a success without Aaron Rodgers.
    Looks like were both going to be disappointed.

    Reply
    1. PF4L November 8, 2020

      Whatthefuckever…that was funny, and accurate. KMA.

      Reply
  5. PF4L November 7, 2020

    OK…last one…
    We miss your expert opinion and intelligence L B…lol
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    KILLER August 27, 2017
    PF4L IS Monty. This site depends on users. Interest in the Packers depends on Rodgers. There you go.
    .
    Monty even launched a campaign (ongoing) of various “is Rodgers dating person X, person Y, etc. — basically ANY female he happens to be seen with within 10 feet — in order to mask Rodgers’ true sexual preferences.
    .
    This propaganda is to make Rodgers look better and thus Monty’s web site more successful.
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    In conclusion, PF4L/Monty is, like too many, a sell out.
    .
    .

    PF4L August 27, 2017
    He’s on to me/us.

    Reply
  6. PF4L November 8, 2020

    Well fuck me Charissa Thompson…it’s Game Day!!
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    For the NFL purist…Can’t miss
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    There is a lot to watch in the NFC South match up tonight!

    Reply
    1. PF4L November 9, 2020

      There was something to watch alright….The slaughter, wow.

      Reply
  7. PF4L November 8, 2020

    Well fuck me Jane Slater…Duh Boys are on TV today.
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    Another can’t miss….”How bout dem Cowboys!!”
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    I know we still have some old school McCarty fans in here.
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    For those who don’t know….Mike McCarty, he now coaches the Cowboys. I think we all remember McCarthy…Highly successful NFL coach, innovator, humanitarian, fitness freak.
    .
    I have a prediction on the Steelers against McCarty’s Boys. The first ever type prediction in the history of the NFL.
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    I predict, it gets so bad….that 4 minutes into the 3rd quarter….McCarthy walks out onto the field, waving a white flag, summoning the head referee over and declaring that the Cowboys forfeit.
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    You heard it here first people!!

    Reply
    1. PF4L November 9, 2020

      I gotta kick this drug abuse problem i have.
      .
      It’s not my fault…it’s a disease!!

      Reply

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