Based on the way the preseason has played out, don't expect to see Green Bay Packers second round draft choice Davante Adams to play a big role on the Packers offense early in the 2014 season.
Of the 86 snaps Davante Adams has played in three games this preseason, exactly four have come with the first-string offense and quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Asked specifically about rookies like Adams, Richard Rodgers and Jeff Janis, Rodgers was bullish on their readiness to contribute immediately.
"They need to catch up," said Rodgers. "I think some of them are playing it the right way, and some of them got to catch up. They're going to need to if they want to be on the field. We're going to play the best guys whether that's putting an extra tight end on the field or putting an extra receiver on the field.
"We're taking a couple of those guys off and going some two-back stuff with (John) Kuhn out there. Mike (McCarthy has) done a great job of really putting our best players on the field, and regardless of the personnel set, whether it's three receivers, two backs or two tight ends and one back or our Zebra personnel we run a lot of no-huddle stuff out of, it's going to be the best players out on the field, and the best players are going to be the guys who are most prepared and doing it in practice every single day."
Among the two, Richard Rodgers appears more likely than Adams to play a meaningful role when the Packers open the regular season against the Seattle Seattle in a little more than a week.
The rookie tight end has started each of the team's three preseason games and already has significantly more experience operating out of the Packers no-huddle offense with Aaron Rodgers directing the show.
It's not easy for a rookie to come in after the draft and pick up the Packers offense without a hitch, explains McCarthy.
"I think it's a normal process that these guys go through," said McCarthy. "I think if you ask Richard and Davante, they'd probably think they're preparing more than they ever have before. They think they're probably doing a heck of a job. And the reality of it is, being a rookie, it's never enough. It's just not enough, and once you're able to catch your breath and things slow down for you. Then you realize that there's a whole other level of learning that goes on.
"So right now the younger guys are trying to do the right thing, get the timing within the system with Aaron in particular. But once again, you have a system of football. We refer to the cheat system or the system of experience. All the little things that go on on a daily basis aren't things that are written down in a book. They're not just things that you can tell someone. There's a process you have to go through, and every rookie has to go through that."
Thus far through the exhibition season, veteran Andrew Quarless has gotten his fair share of time at tight end and looks to share at least some time with Rodgers.
But at wide receiver, Adams looks far behind the trio of Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Jarrett Boykin.
Nelson and Cobb are easily considered the top two wideouts on the Packers roster, but the performance of Boykin this training camp has proven there's still a big gap between No. 3 and No. 4 wide receivers.
"Jarrett Boykin, just clearly he's taken the next step," said McCarthy. "I just love the way he plays. He's physical, his toughness, he's relentless. I think he's exceptional at the top of his route. His ability, you see his strength and balance to separate from a DB, so I think he's had an excellent camp."
It's been difficult for Adams to stand out in preseason action with so many other players on the roster, grabbing just four passes for 50 yards and averaging 12.5 yards per catch.
There's still one more preseason game for Adams to prove his mettle on Thursday against the Kansas City Chiefs, although he isn't likely to get much of a chance with the first-string offense. Being the exhibition finale, the Packers typically play their starters either sparingly or not at all.
Most likely, Adams' path to playing time will be through hard work and patience, taking advantage of every snap in a practice environment. His time will come, but don't expect it arrive Week 1.
Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor at Cheesehead TV and its "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email [email protected].
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