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Packers Hope Randall Is A Lot Like Adams

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Packers Hope Randall Is A Lot Like Adams

Green Bay Packers cornerback Damarious Randall was no stranger to criticism this past season.  While he only played in 10 games and dealt with a groin injury that ultimately required surgery, Randall was still labeled a disappointment by many.  Surely his injury affected his play, but many have opined that it was a mere footnote in Randall's downer sophomore season and not the root of it.  If this story sounds familiar, it should.  The same could be said about receiver Davante Adams last year.  After watching Adams flourish late in the 2014 season, many were having sweet dreams of a Packers offense that had Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson and Adams teaming up to light the world on fire.  Then came Nelson's ACL injury and Adams' own ankle injury and he wasn't able to fulfill those expectations.  In the divisional playoff game in Arizona, it was Randall who left his primary responsibility during overtime that left Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald wide open on what would become a 75-yard catch and run to set up the winning score.  It would diminish what was a decent rookie season but the hopes and ceiling for Randall were still high.  Expectations were on par with your typical first rounder: make a big jump from year one to year two, just like what Adams faced the year prior.

Those expectations came from a lot closer than fans and media.  When Green Bay allowed Casey Hayward to leave in free agency for a contract that they easily could have stomached, the prevailing rationale was that they (and by "they", I'm really referring to head coach Mike McCarthy and general manager Ted Thompson) had enough confidence in Randall and Quinten Rollins that they could make up for the loss.  The Hayward argument has been made and debated ad nauseam since the day he signed with the San Diego Chargers and to be fair, a lot of that has been in hindsight after the loss of Sam Shields.  It's one thing for Randall to continue to play alongside Shields and improve but to suddenly have to improve and replace Shields is an entirely different thing.  This is yet another parallel to what Adams dealt with as he tried to help overcome the loss of a key player next to him.

After a decent week one in 2017 and without Shields, Randall struggled mightily against the Minnesota Vikings in week two and from there, his play never reached what most hoped it would.  He sprinkled in a few good games such as week 14 against the Seattle Seahawks during which Randall made a highlight-reel interception to prevent a touchdown pass and added another that day.  Or the wild card game against the New York Giants where Randall helped keep Odell Beckham, Jr in check most of the day and added another late interception to help seal the win.  But overall, most agree that they have their reservations about the idea of Randall returning as a starting outside corner in 2017.  

I'm not here to overload you with player rankings and where Randall sits in comparison to the other cornerbacks in the league.  It's obvious that he wasn't good enough for what the Packers defense needed and we saw him struggle badly at times.  So much so that it has widely been stated that the Packers and Thompson need to do what he seems to loathe doing most: go out and get a veteran corner to come in and play right away.  That means a free agent.  That means a guy who wasn't with the Packers last season.  Which are you more willing to bet on?  That Thompson actually signs a player worthy of starting immediately or that Randall pulls an Adams and has a resurgent 2017?  Adams got Nelson back and it seemed to make a huge difference to the young receiver as well as the offense as a whole.  The Packers released Shields and his days in Green Bay are done so Randall won't get the opportunity to get his familiar running mate back.  As much as Thompson and the team may want to continue to believe in their young corner group, they are in dire need of experience at the position.  And even if they use their first few draft picks on corners, it would be incredibly negligent and arrogant of them to think they can trot out a first year player, Randall, Rollins and LaDarius Gunter again in 2017 and get vastly better results.  

When he's playing well, Randall carries an air of high confidence.  He has a swagger to him that you see in some of the better cornerbacks in the league.  The problem is, he's not able to maintain enough consistency to allow that confidence to build.  It's almost like Randall has to keep starting over in becoming who he truly wants to be.  Some have called him out on his off field habits and questioned the work he puts in in the film room.  All of the best corners of the past and the present have said that learning how to study film and use that preparation to anticipate are what made or makes them successful.  Playing corner is like a chess match between defender and receiver.  Sometimes you can get by on ability alone, but eventually, you have to be able to keep up mentally and even out think your opponent if you want to win.  Having an edge on the mental side can also help mitigate a lack of top end speed.  Randall isn't a burner by any means but he's not slow.  Speed is one thing that can't be taught and Randall has been victimized by some quicker receivers but his abilities when he's playing well suggest that he can still play at a high level against top competition.

It's hard to know what situation the Packers are going to be in at corner until after free agency and the draft.  What the team does during both of those time periods will tell us a lot about what they now think of Randall.  After spending a first round pick on him, Green Bay is committed to getting the most out of him.  Whether that's bringing in guy or two to play on the outside and take some of the heat off of Randall or being able to move him into the slot, trust that the Packers are going to exhaust every option they have before they make any final judgment.  After seeing Adams finally break through last season, hopefully the Packers realize how important it is to put their young players in a good position to succeed.  It's too soon and unfair to use the term "bust" on Randall this early in his career, but where does your confidence level sit for him heading into next season?

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (44) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Lphill's picture

No confidence . He was just awful when we needed him most.

Razer's picture

Simple and true.

dobber's picture

If you're talking about the NFC Championship game, you could really extend this comment to about 85% of those who saw the field.

RCPackerFan's picture

Randall's situation really does remind me of Adams.

Both flashed talent in their rookie years. Followed up by an injury riddled season and lost confidence in their 2nd year.

Hopefully Randall's 3rd year mirror's Adams 3rd year.

The same could be said for Rollins as well.. Rollins seemed to miss a lot of practice time in his 2nd year. He missed offseason practices as well as missing games during the season.

Hopefully both players take a big step forward in their 3rd year.
I hope for the Packers sake though they don't rely on them taking a step and they go and get extra help at the position.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Randall looked to be playing scared. Hamstring injuries are Kryptonite for CBs.

Hopefully he has a healthy year 2 because I think he will be fine if he can get healthy and build confidence. That said, I don't want him as the #1 until we see that for at least a whole 16+ game season.

RCPackerFan's picture

Both Randall and Rollins have flashed talent. They need them to improve in consistency and simply step up. I think both players have the ability to, they just need to.

Confidence is a huge thing in sports. If a player loses some confidence it changes his game completely. Look at Rodgers fore example. He says he didn't lose confidence but for about a year he wasn't the same player.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

He's not going to say it :)

Handsback's picture

During the playoffs and the few games before that Randall was playing with a lot of cushion between him and the receiver. I didn't notice or see that earlier in the season. I believe that his injuries made him as slow or slower than Gunter, hence the coaching decision on letting Gunter cover the better receivers.

I have been wrong before, but I think Jason hit the nail on the head.....Randall's dip isn't due to his talent or ability, but more about his injuries. I think next year he's the Packer's number 1 CB and in a few years might even be an All-Pro. Hey, it's my fantasy, if you don't like...make your own.

RCPackerFan's picture

I do think the cushion he was giving was more on his injuries then anything. He knew what his limitations were so he was trying to compensate for it. Whether its true, i don't know. but it seems that way.

I think the combination of injuries, lost confidence, being put in a role he wasn't suited to play all contributed. Very similar to Adams last year.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Capers was calling a lot of Trap Coverage at the end of the season. Playing deeper is also a function of that zone concept.

RCPackerFan's picture

Yeah, i'm not sure that Capers was wanting Randall to play 10+ yards off the ball though. There were more then a few times Randall was playing that far off.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Trap coverage calls for it. But he was doing it on other concepts too. Capers probably does not tell those exactly how far off to start since that is technique not scheme. I'm pretty sure that is mostly between Whitt and the CB.

stockholder's picture

Sorry Jason. I don't agree with you on your comparison of Adams and Randall. Different positions. I also can't say Adams Flourished. I still want another WR drafted. And it's because of Adams not showing the consistency needed in the NFL. While Adams has improved, he's still not the star that TT thought he would be. Especially when you consider the time it took for him to improve. Randall has shown he can cover. But it's the consistency needed for the position. You just don't know what your going to get on sunday. And again the development just isn't enough. If we don't get someone to push Adams or Randall, their not going to bust their Tail. The money has changed their lives. The media can push these guys all they want. To many fans want better. Either draft another CB or get a FA. Mediocrity is what it is. And isn't this where we have question TT's draft picks, and operations as a GM.

RCPackerFan's picture

Obviously different positions, but the situations were eerily similar.

Both lost their best players at their positions. Forcing them to play in roles they weren't ready for. They lost confidence and then suffered injuries and really suffered from lost confidence.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

The comparison is apt.

dobber's picture

" I also can't say Adams Flourished. "

That's a different matter altogether...but if 1000 yd and 12 TDs isn't flourishing, I don't know what is. Adams is to you what Nick Perry is to Taryn.

"While Adams has improved, he's still not the star that TT thought he would be."

What DID TT think he would be? I'd like to know...

stockholder's picture

I'm sure TT did not draft him to be a back-up. If he did thats whats been wrong with his recent drafts. Several people will tell you Adams will never be a star. You have to draft a player to be a starter. Especially rd.s 1 and 2. Go back to why Adams was drafted. Was their not more glaring needs? From the moment Adams was drafted, he was made out to be the next great starter. (Jennings) We know that will not happen. (Consistency!) I still would have paid James Jones over drafting Adams. If TT had paid Jones it would have changed that draft board in 2014. Or even Montgomery being drafted. We would not still have the hole at TE. DE,OLB. (WR wanted?) OF course he then signed Cook.(Hopefully Again) But the questions still are there when A-rod says we need to Re-Load. So what did I think Adams was? In 2014 ,I stated Sabotage to TTs draft. Many think TT should not go with FAs. But several helped us win in 2010. Adams has not helped us win a super-bowl etc. Flourish is a term that should be used for STAR.

Spud Rapids's picture

What are you even talking about.... Adams had more touchdowns than OBJ and the same amount as Antonio Brown. What does that guy have to do? You'd rather take a slow James Jones over drafting Adams? You are just being ridiculous at that point. "From the moment Adams was drafted, he was made out to be the next great starter." Where is this coming from and who said it? "We know that will not happen. (Consistency!)" We don't know that this will not happen. Adams has had great years 2 out of 3 he's played and in fact he has better numbers in his first 3 years then Jordy did with an injured season. Wake up, your negative view of Adams is not warranted.

Nelson through 3 Years (100 Rec, 1,268 Yds, 15 TDs)
Adams through 3 years (163 Rec, 1,926 Yds, 16 TDs)

stockholder's picture

Given a choice I'd take OBJ. Even Brown. James Jones was not slow before he went to the Raiders. James Jones came back to the packers and was pretty good. So compare those stats and what he meant to A-rod while Nelson was out. By your stats ,he's better than Nelson. And should make just as much money, and take his place. LOL . with that. Adams was drafted because he set records. Not because he was faster than Jones. There were faster WRs than Adams in 2014. I'm saying TT could have had a better draft. This year you have the same thing that can happen in 2014. Sign Lacy or draft a RB! Many want other things. Many Needs! Hope ?- Read below. He hit it right on.

jasonperone's picture

10 TD's isn't flourishing? Especially after last year? I'm glad you're not MY boss!

stockholder's picture

Jason I understand he did catch a few. But the far between is what I'm referring too. Adams is streaky. And A-rod , writers, and the staff were out to prove he isn't a bust. I 'm glad he IMPROVED for the sake of the packers and their fans. If Adams does not catch the ball within 10 feet of A-Rod. He's Done. The Improvement I saw was his YAC. The step on a CB. The holding calls that were never called. Not his TDs. More than 1/2 were when he was wide open. But still about 10 yards. Maybe he can improve on that. And maybe we should give the credit to the WR coach.

Razer's picture

Jason mentions Randall being called out for his work habits and I hope this is just a "corrupt press", "alternate fact". If he isn't putting in the time to prepare himself against the best WRs then this article could have ended there.

Either way, heading into next season with Randall, Rollins and Gunter as our starting corners is not a good scenario. Add to this our diminished pass rush and you have the makings of a defensive meltdown. I'll put my mood down to the winter blahs and ignore the facts as I see them.

croatpackfan's picture

It is hard to tell what will be. No magic ball or mirror here. But learning from the past may give us some ideas for the future...
Yes, I'm expecting much improved secondary next season (all 3 guys mentioned). We do not know what is with Herb Waters (converting from WR) and what is with Josh Hawkins. Also, we know that Packers are pretty high on Dorleant...
My confidence in Packers secondary comes from confidence of Joe Whitt Jr.
You have to decide if Whitt is good or not at his job. But from his statements I can conclude that situation is more bright than dark...

Since '61's picture

Jason the problem is stated clearly in the title of your article, "Packers Hope". That's the problem. Every season we are wishing and hoping that any number of players will make their alleged leap and fulfill their alleged potential. And every season we are undone because the hoped for players fail to leap enough whether due to injuries or lack of talent or both. This is what needs to change about TTs Packers. We need to feel confident that our players can actually play not hope they can play better. Randall "ain't no Herb Adderly" and he's not going to make the leap to shut down corner status in 2017 or any time after that. We need an experienced corner who can start and play in Week 1 and we should pay for it. Look at the Pats in 2014, they bring in Revis and he takes away one side of the field and solves their CB problems and they go on and win the SB. We need to take a similar approach. Go out and get a CB and a pass rusher who can make a difference in 2017 rather than hope for Randall, Rollins, Fackrell, Martinez and Eliott to make their "leaps". We need to have confidence that our players can play rather than hoping they can play. One season we're hoping our safeties step up, the next we're hoping our ILBs step up, then our DLs, now we're hoping for our CBs. Nothing against Randall but we need better CBs not hopes. Hope is not a plan. Time to get some players and get off this "hope" merry-go-round. Thanks, Since '61

Razer's picture

If your login name is any indication, you should be well acquainted with "hope". We have many decades of hope. Recently, it is hope to get over the hump. Before Favre it was hope to see some light.

I wouldn't have a problem with hoping that our CB's mature and improve their play next season if it wasn't combined with all the other hopes that need to come to fruition on defense. Hope that we can improve our pass rush, hope that our ILBers finally figure it out, hope that our D-line gets that little bit better to contribute to the overall defense. We have too many grey zones on defense to rely on a singular hope. Next year may be another rebuild year on defense - let's hope NOT.

Nick Perry's picture

Nice Since '61, and you're 110% right!

Since '61's picture

Thanks Nick. Since '61

marpag1's picture

So are you suggesting that free agents are a sure thing? Just about the only thing that is sure about a free agent is his price tag.

I'm guessing that when the Texans signed Brock Osweiler to an obscene $37 million guaranteed, they were probably HOPING for something more than a hideously bad turnover machine who would be benched in favor of a total nobody.

I'm guessing that when the Jags signed Chris Ivory to a 5 year 32 million deal, the were probably HOPING for something more than 439 yards at a 3.8 clip with as many lost fumbles as TDs (3).

Ditto with Coby Fleener, who got 5 years, 36 million with 18 million guaranteed, and then looked every bit as awesome as Richard Rodgers. Probably, the Saints were HOPING for more, eh?

The Rams gave the "proven" Coty Sensabaugh, the "experienced DB who can start and play in week 1" about 14 million over 3 years... and that was awesome until they cut him in week 4. Not what they HOPED for...

I'm not opposed to signing free agents, but people talk as if free agents were guaranteed solutions while draft picks are certain to be mere afterthoughts. Neither of those assumptions are safe. Or to put it differently, lots of people say, "IF WE DON'T SIGN FREE AGENTS WE'RE WASTING AROD'S CAREER!!!" Yet almost no one seems to consider that busting on a few high priced free agents can kill your cap and waste ARod's career every bit as effectively, if not more.

Mike Sherman was actually a pretty decent coach. He got fired because he signed Joe Johnson. Now he coaches football at Nauset Regional HIgh School in North Eastham, Massachusetts. Probably not what he was HOPING for.

Since '61's picture

Marpag I think that you have read enough of my posts over the years to know that I am not saying that FAs are sure things. For one thing any player can be injured on any play and lost for a game, a season or even their career. However, FAs can support our D&D approach by providing solid play and sharing valuable experience as players like Woodson, Pickett and even Julius Peppers have done. Our pass rush and young CBs can benefit for the long term from playing with or behind experienced NFL players while simultaneously the FAs may get us over the hump and into the SB for 2017. There are no guarantees but I believe that every approach should be utilized to get to the SB every season. I don't think that we can expect to fill the existing gaps in our defense with our draft picks, UDFAs and existing roster players. If we do I think that we can expect similar results to what we have seen for the last 6 seasons. Make the playoffs and face elimination because our D&D players, especially on defense are just not good enough to stop their more experienced opponents in the playoffs. What have we to lose by signing a FA pass rusher and a CB? Cap space? TT doesn't use all the available funds anyway. By not using the available funds he is wasting the money anyway. Let's go all in as Rodgers said and see what happens. Thanks, Since '61

Hematite's picture

AMEN!

Ryan Graham's picture

The other thing to be considered when comparing adams jump to a potential randall/rollins/gunter jump is that adams had Jordy Nelson to take some heat off of him when he got healthy, which opened up lanes for him and helped him to get open more. So ideally, you put someone on the other side for the next 2 or 3 years to give those young guys some time to develop into the all pro that at least I believe randall can be with the right mentorship. That guy was supposed to be shields, not sure he would have been the right mentor anyway because a lot of his success came from his ability to make up for his mistakes with his sub 4.3 speed, which none of these guys have. Stephon Gilmore, Logan Ryan maybe? Not the oldest guys no but they've seen success with man coverage.

RCPackerFan's picture

I completely agree... Shields would have been that guy had he been able to return.
I do think it would help a lot if they could add a veteran to help take pressure off of them to 'have' to take a jump.

Savage57's picture

By the end of the season, Randall had the body language of a beat dog. He was guessing and chasing.

His battle this offseason and going into next is going to be with the 6" between his ears.

Point Packer's picture

I think Randall is more akin to Terell Buckley than Davante Adams. In other words, a first round bust. Perhaps the third or fourth of Thompson's career,
depending on what you think of Datone (I think he's also a first round bust).

Curt's picture

Can't agree with that assessment - Randall has already made more good plays than Terrell Buckley during his three years with GB.

And TT had just arrived and was pro personnel guy back then (not college draft guy) for Wolf so can't hang TBuck on TT.

As far as busts, Harrell and Sherrod yes....although both had injury issues that effected their performance. Maybe TT should have not taken chance on Harrell with his college issues, but Sherrod's broken leg can't be hung on him even a little. Datone had better year this year, so not great, but not total bust either.

AR, Hawk, BJ, Clay, Baluga, Perry, HaHa all solid picks

Too early for Randall and Clark IMO to label anything.

Point Packer's picture

I think Randall is more akin to Terell Buckley than Davante Adams. In other words, a first round bust. Perhaps the third or fourth of Thompson's career,
depending on what you think of Datone (I think he's also a first round bust).

al bundy's picture

I used to laugh at my peers, good people, spend enormous enery trying to solve the effects of a problem when they never dealth with the cause.

Reading these posts I see one big problem in all this: Money.
Packers went into the season cutting two running backs and putting all fortunes into Lacy Starks and Rip.
Packers went into season thinking Shields and Randle will be a force no need for Hayward.

The effect of those decisions, Shields misses the whole year, concussions again. Lacy goes down, injury due to being over weight, again. Starks follows.

Thus the real problem, Ted looked beyond the possiblities of the above to save a buck. All these effects are due to the cause, saving a buck. How many concussions has shields had, how many times has Lacy gone down with ankle issues?

Ryan Graham's picture

I couldn't agree more. Ted consistently makes that move, too conservative and almost afraid to put some money on the table. Eddie, safe to say, has only put weight back on since his ankle injury (already a direct correlation to his weight issues) you have to fear it's likely to happen again. Sam shields now with his 5th career concussion - probably not gonna play again. This is what Ted has chosen to invest in last year, ditching Casey Hayward, all pro this year not to mention. Now you don't get to being the GM of the Packers being an idiot, but since the start of his Reign with a capital R this is the problem he's found himself in. Not putting money in the defense to add the talent necessary and the depth even less so, coinciding with misplaced money in the wrong players such as severely declined Julius Peppers. Buy what reason does any fan have to believe that's going to change in his, most likely, final year of Reign...

Spud Rapids's picture

"All these effects are due to the cause, saving a buck." No... all these effects were due to injury

Curt's picture

I would tend to disagree - you only have room for 53 on the roster. How does having more money change the number of players you have available in case of injuries. I suppose two years ago you could have jettisoned Shields and Starks and Lacy and tries something different, but then you wouldn't have had their good years in the past????

Not sure how you get somebody after the injuries hit - CB's not available, RB was signed in Michel (best available?).

Hayward had some ints for one of the worst defenses in the NFL (worse scoring defense than GB) good for him, but still don't think he is elite and I liked Shields better than him. He got $5 mill plus for 3 years. It really came down to toss up between Hayward and Hyde - similar skill sets.

Before the season, SD and GB were ranked 6 and 7 by PFW for cornerback strength....again injuries to SS, QR and Randall were hardly TT's fault, he put together a pretty good group on paper!

Ryan Graham's picture

While you may be right about it being a good roster on paper, the game isn't played on paper. Ted knew of Shields' concussion history, and elected to not resign casey hayward. Thats a lack there of depth, especially when you just dumped tramon williams davon house and lost nick collins to injury (highly unfortunate) and charles woodson to oakland. Injuries, looking big picture, can be accredited mostly to the strength and condition coach Mark Lovat. Look at all the hamstring and groin injuries having been suffered through the years, i.e clay mattews in particular. Directly correlated to a lack of preparation. A couple injuries is a fluke, but year after year the packers are destroyed by injuries. That is a pattern.

scullyitsme's picture

Good to see all the gloom and doomers are still out, It's why I cant watch a game at the bar or in public anywhere really, There's always some dude that has to sit by me and bitch and moan through the whole game, seems like a lot of those same people can't stop themselves here in the off season either.

RCPackerFan's picture

Sounds like my dad... lol.

We always argue about the Packers.
His latest argument was that the Packers would never win a Super Bowl with Thompson as their GM. So I simply said, you mean besides the one they did win with him as GM?
His response was delayed and then says, yeah but they will never win another one with him...

Its always fun when people change what they say to match their opinion.

Its also why I prefer to watch games myself. To much negativity is not a good thing.

PETER MAIZ's picture

Ted has to go to an exceptional tried and true cornerback FA. The so-called jump by our current cornerbacks is pure speculation and extremely risky. It's like going to Vegas and expect to beat the House.
The coaches and TT have got to be realistic and do what reasonable people living in the real world would do. They have got to get talent at the position because assuming all kinds of things may, frankly, blow up in their faces as they did in 2016.
You can't expect Aaron to win his games, despite his incredible talent if the defense is constantly giving up 30 points or more. Now, that is being totally unrealistic and hoping is not going to get you where you want to go. If Shields hadn't gotten sick, we could have gone on to the Super Bowl, in my humble opinion.

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