Jordy Nelson? Davante Adams? Both have been Equally as Impressive

Not many could've foreseen the sudden leap Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams have taken in 2016.

Ascending up the ladder of reliance with quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the same old connection is on the brink of being solidified between he and Nelson, much like the way it was for the seven full seasons they were on the field together as teammates.

"I could throw that ball with my eyes closed, because I know exactly where he's going to be," Rodgers said after a Tuesday practice in August, halfway through the team's preseason schedule. "That's the beauty of us playing together for a long time." Nelson was locked and loaded for the Packers' season opener in Jacksonville - a 27-23 win in which he caught his first of what would come to be eight touchdowns by week 11. Albeit, some rust remained in Nelson's return from a torn ACL suffered a year prior, flashes of what once was between Rodgers and Nelson began to loom heavy over a scorching Florida afternoon.

Since that game, Nelson has positioned himself in the best possible manner to succeed, even finding work in the slot where Larry Fitzgerald transitioned his role in Arizona once the signs of ageing became evident. To Fitzgerald's credit, any team would be lucky to have his veteran savvy on their roster.

Currently, Nelson is tied for the league-lead in touchdown receptions, sitting at eight with the Buccaneers' Mike Evans. His 173 yards-after-catch ranks him above the Steelers' Antonio Brown, who has 169. 

The common theme amongst fans is that, due to Nelson's inability to out-run certain defenders post-catch, he isn't 100 percent back to his former self yet. The reality is, he may never be back to his former self, and the same can be said about any 31-year old wide receiver coming off an ACL repairment. What is being seen now from Nelson is a blessing, and something that shouldn't be taken for granted. If he can become a red zone threat, which is where seven of his eight touchdowns have come this season, then there's still something special to be seen in the former Wildcat.

Both Adams and Nelson have been on the receiving end of 21.4 percent of Rodgers' passes, while Randall Cobb, who has had a somewhat disappointing campaign, sits right behind them at 19.2 percent with his 45 receptions.

Adams, meanwhile, has been having himself just as spectacular of a season. 

Coming off a year in which he caught only 53 percent of his targets, ultimately leading to fans calling for his head after the season was over, Adams has made a complete turnaround for the Packers in 2016. Now in his third year, he's already matched his catch total from 2015 in just nine games this year, including six touchdowns. More than he had in his first two years combined.

The talk of the offseason was that Jeff Janis, the folktale hero from the Packers' NFC Divisional round loss in Arizona, should be seeing more snaps than Adams. Not that the Packers put that desire to rest verbally and not that Janis ever had an actual shot at lining up in Adams' role, but his hand injury suffered in the preseason which required him to wear a club on his right hand didn't exactly help his case. 

What we're seeing is an example of sticking to the process with Adams and the belief that he was able to turn into something special. Special is precisely what he's been so far in 2016, evidenced by his back-to-back 10-plus reception games against Chicago and Atlanta, as well as his 13.71 yards-per-reception this year.

The sceptics have momentarily been silenced and morphed into crickets, and for as long Adams continues to produce, don't expect a peep out of them anytime soon. 

__________________________

Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Comments (46)

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croatpackfan's picture

November 17, 2016 at 03:45 am

Well, I think 1, 2, 3 WR did a good job. What I would like to see is that Randall Cobb is placed on snap count while he is healing from hamstring injury and Ty Montgomery to get his assignemets until he returns fully healed. Also, replacing Jordy and Davante with Jeff, Travor and Geronimo for some snaps (not just 5 snaps, but let say at least 20%) would be smart, first to develop young players (OK, Jeff is not young any more) and to preserve both from fatigue...
Also, that signing of Mitchell should help Ty Montgomery to be available for more WR snaps...

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RCPackerFan's picture

November 17, 2016 at 06:57 am

I'm OK with Adams and Nelsons snaps. Though taking a couple away a game may help keep them fresh for the whole game.

I would much rather see them replace Rodgers snaps with more for Janis, Davis and Allison. I mean in the last game Rodgers played 83% of the snaps on offense. Combined the 3 had 33 snaps. A lot of them were late in the game when the game was over.
If they are using Rodgers as a WR (which they did for all but 3 of his snaps against the Titans, why not use an actual WR?

It will be interesting to see how they plan on using Michael and Starks and Montgomery moving forward.

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Tundraboy's picture

November 17, 2016 at 07:26 am

Using RRodgers as a WR! . Using him 83% of the time? That old MM element of surprise. Cant wait to see what "new" looks we see this week.

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RCPackerFan's picture

November 17, 2016 at 07:31 am

I know I have been harping on that all week, but honestly I'm just tired of it.

Hopefully Cook will be back this week and will take away a lot of Rodgers playing time, since McCarthy is dead set on using a TE.

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dobber's picture

November 17, 2016 at 08:20 am

Cook was a full participant in Wednesday's practice and it looks like he'll play Sunday. If there's a glimmer of hope for the TE position, he's it. While Rodgers split wide isn't going to threaten anyone, Cook might. Let's see if MM actually uses him.

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Tundraboy's picture

November 17, 2016 at 09:38 am

Number one on the list of What to look for this week for me. Cook. Over /Under anyone?

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RCPackerFan's picture

November 17, 2016 at 10:06 am

I hope he does play.

That is the question. Will McCarthy use him?

We saw in Cook's last game they split him out wide and were starting to use him that way. Hopefully they use more of that.

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dschwalm's picture

November 17, 2016 at 12:00 pm

Don't hold your breath waiting for the "new looks", Tundra Boy. MM seams to love R.Rodgers speed ~~~~. He will be back again this Sunday.

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NickPerry's picture

November 17, 2016 at 05:27 am

Last weekend Nelson seem to be getting in more of a groove with those back shoulder throws from Rodgers. During TC and the start of the season Rodgers and Nelson both made it sound like "Just a few reps together and we'll be back". It took a tad longer and they've played 2 teams with pretty bad defenses but it's looking up.

Adams has caught 50 of 74 targets which is pretty good, especially when compared to last season. He's catching the ball with his hands, gaining YAC, and is really starting to play closer to what the Packers had hoped.

McCarthy said last week what an important part of the Offense Montgomery is. Perhaps in the coming weeks he'll get more snaps, especially out of the backfield. He's had 5 targets and 5 catches, 10 rushing attempts for 62 yards. He was on the field for 31 snaps against Indy and 22 against Tennessee.

I know Cobb was hardly used against Indy but was on the field for almost 70% of the snaps against the Titans. Cobb's done nothing when given the snaps, Montgomery has made the most of it when given the snaps. Like to see more Monty and less Cobb, at least until Cobb starts to play somewhat like 2014. I don't understand McCarthy sometimes. It's almost as if he'll play the guy with the big salary over the guy that might be producing. Obviously that couldn't be true...Right???

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RCPackerFan's picture

November 17, 2016 at 06:28 am

Montgomery needs to be on the field more. He is a very important piece for the Packers. But he doesn't only need to be on the field they need to have him doing special things, not just a normal RB role.

This kind of reminds me of when Mathews first moved to ILB. When he first moved to ILB he was used in a special way, and it worked great. He was moved around everywhere, blitzed from every where. He didn't play the normal ILB role. They adjusted the role to his abilities. Then last year they made him and ILB and he wasn't as effective.

The same thing needs to be done with Montgomery. Don't have him do the normal RB role. Have him do what he is best at. In other words don't have him standing in the backfield pass blocking. Have him running routes out of the backfield, and doing draws and things like that.

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dobber's picture

November 17, 2016 at 12:45 pm

"The same thing needs to be done with Montgomery. Don't have him do the normal RB role. Have him do what he is best at. In other words don't have him standing in the backfield pass blocking. Have him running routes out of the backfield, and doing draws and things like that."

Wait....use players in roles they're good at or well-suited for? I dunno, man...

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RCPackerFan's picture

November 17, 2016 at 12:58 pm

Its asking a lot isn't it?

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NickPerry's picture

November 18, 2016 at 05:44 am

LOL...That's asking an awful lot of McCarthy isn't it? I don't even understand WHY McCarthy says anything. Whenever he talks about things like running the ball more or tells us how important a player is to the GBP, it seems Rodgers passes the ball 45 times or more or said player is seen on the sideline the entire night.

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RCPackerFan's picture

November 17, 2016 at 06:24 am

While its taking Nelson a while to burn off the rust he is really starting to come on.
Adams is showing why he was drafted as high as he was. He is a completely different player this year compared to last year. He is becoming a very important player in our offense.
When Cobb gets fully healed from his hamstring they will have the best 1-3 group of receivers that have had in a while.

The problem or question for me is, who is the 4th?

Montgomery out of the backfield is a great 4th option, but will he be on the field enough to make a big enough impact?
Rodgers has proven that he is not good enough to be the 4th.
Cook could be the 4th. Ideally he would be the perfect 4th option because he will likely be on the field more then other players due to the amount of 11 personnel McCarthy likes to run. For the record I think the 11 personnel would be fine with Cook as the TE. In McCarthy's 11 personnel packages the TE most of the time is like a WR. Rodgers isn't good enough to be in that role on offense.
Davis/Janis/Allison are more like the 5th. Since they won't be on the field as much as the others, they all could still find really good roles on offense.

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croatpackfan's picture

November 17, 2016 at 06:31 am

I think we should forgive Adams last season. Whole season he played with injured ankle...

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RCPackerFan's picture

November 17, 2016 at 06:46 am

Completely agree.

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Tundraboy's picture

November 17, 2016 at 07:34 am

"Rodgers has proven that he is not good enough to be the 4th."

I'm with you RC. Reading the above made me question of course, why the hell is RRodgers even considered an option at all. We need speed and we have far better options.

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RCPackerFan's picture

November 17, 2016 at 10:34 am

I honestly really don't get it. He can be used and can make a play here and there. But he should not be used as much as he is.
If they want 4 WR's out there then put 4 WR's out there. If they want someone to block use Ripkowski.

You are right. We need speed, and guys that can at least stress the defense. Rodgers is essentially a non factor for the offense.

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dschwalm's picture

November 17, 2016 at 12:07 pm

I suspect that it has something to do with MM's stubbornness.

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RCPackerFan's picture

November 17, 2016 at 12:58 pm

I suspect the same thing...

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

November 17, 2016 at 08:29 am

You are way ahead of yourself, RC. We need a third receiving option and you're worrying about the 4th option. We've always needed 3 main receiving options, with a 1 or 2 other contributors. Cobb has been pretty bad, but perhaps you're right and if he ever can get healthy he can be that 3rd guy. Maybe Cook.

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RCPackerFan's picture

November 17, 2016 at 10:44 am

Maybe. But we have our top 3 guys. Cobb is just hurt right now.

I am hoping Cook can become that next option. He provides a mismatch.

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Razer's picture

November 17, 2016 at 07:19 am

With all these great stats you wonder why we aren't an offensive juggernaut. I can't put a lot of faith in the numbers when most of our scoring has been done late in lost games or against weak defenses. Give me a WR who will show up when we play Seattle. Or give me a WR who will win the one-on-one when we need the down to count.

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dschwalm's picture

November 17, 2016 at 12:10 pm

Hear! Hear! I was wondering when someone was going to realize that most of the numbers came when it was "crap" time and the defences were playing soft / prevent.

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stockholder's picture

November 17, 2016 at 07:56 am

I only see a lot of hype here. A-rod cannot hit any "TIMED" routes anymore. And Not so fast with Adams. He still is not the WR to send downfield. I'm not trying to be negative, but Adams needs to stay within ten yards of A-rod. If you "depend" on Adams we'll lose. This guy was never figured into a number 2. Why do you want to hype Adams when Cobb is still the better target. I don't care what your stats say. I 'm still expecting him to resort to his old self. Dropped passes in the clutch. You guys want to educate us on Adams. But the point is he is still a f*** up waiting to happen. In fact I'll make this prediction. The packers will never return to dominance (SuperBowl) as long as he is on this club. I would still trade him. But nobody is ever going to give you a second round pick for him. We can only let him play out his contract to recoup the bust he was. TT should have never drafted another James Jones. If you want a #1 WR you spend the draft pick. Thats just the way it is in the NFL now. TT was lucky to get Nelson and Cobb. Adams talent is a 5th round choice. But the WR window is short. Cobb is still my choice over Adams.

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croatpackfan's picture

November 17, 2016 at 08:21 am

Your choice has nothing to do with the WR. Your only choice and reason why you are here is to spit constantly on TT... It is boring!

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marpag1's picture

November 17, 2016 at 11:27 am

"I'll make this prediction. The packers will never return to dominance (SuperBowl) as long as he [Adams] is on this club."

LOL. The Packers won their last Super Bowl with WR Brett Swain on the roster, but could not possibly win another one with Davante Adams on the roster.

Sorry, but that's very, very dumb.

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stockholder's picture

November 17, 2016 at 03:16 pm

Crash Dummy! What does it take for you to see the green light? It's not spitting on TT or Adams. This team is below .500. Your over hyping TT and Adams. Are you really reading the other articles that want to clean House? If I throw at a guy 10 feet away with no one on him he better catch it. How many catches does Adams have beyond 10 yards. I can count them on 1 hand. The YOC are what your only seeing. Sorry that does not make a guy a threat or game changer.

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marpag1's picture

November 17, 2016 at 04:03 pm

When did I overhype TT or Adams? Remind me...

And how does it make even the slightest amount of sense to say that no team with Adams on the roster could win a Super Bowl?

Dumb.

Oh, and what are YOC? And if you actually mean YAC - as in yards after the catch - if someone's yardage comes from being a good runner, does that somehow make him ineffective??

Also dumb.

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stockholder's picture

November 17, 2016 at 07:50 pm

Reading between the LInes. = ? ( I suppose if you don't think he'll screw up like I do.) YOC was Yards after Catch. wrong Key. But I was not commenting on his running ability. Even though we both know why he is not doing any kick returns. It's the routes and down field problems. Power running is what I believe you like. But a Gifted WR does not need to be a power runner. Speed, Separation,and ability to hang on is what I was I 'm looking at. Seems others understood.

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croatpackfan's picture

November 17, 2016 at 04:10 pm

last game he had 46 yards, 38 yards and 35 yards catch. All 3 the longest one! 6 reception for 156 yards, it is something like 26 yards per catch. With lot of YAC! Any other stat you need? You embarrass yourself heavily! As I said, boring...

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stockholder's picture

November 18, 2016 at 06:41 am

oh Boy- Here we go. He's megatron. (BS. ) That game was over after a 21-0 lead. You judged 3 years of playing after 1 game. What Inspiration! Obviously you think he's a must need on this team now. Even though he had the worst YAC for Wrs in the NFL, before the season started. As far as your innuendos, save them for your Porn site. Your investing to much time here.

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dschwalm's picture

November 17, 2016 at 12:12 pm

IMO, Cobb is / was always over rated, and now he must be injured badly enough that he has nothing left in the tank

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stockholder's picture

November 17, 2016 at 03:25 pm

If I saw him as a Free Agent I'd take him. If you put him on the trading block. I'll bet TT could trade Cobb for a position of need. Forget the Injuries with Cobb. He's still a good chance to get a 2nd or 3rd. Which is more than I can say for others.

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Since'61's picture

November 17, 2016 at 10:37 am

If I were MM and Cook is available for Sunday I would start out the first drive and feature Cook as much as possible. Force the defense to respond to him and that should open things up for Nelson and Adams, who are having good seasons all things considered. I would also play Monty over Cobb, especially if Cobb is not 100%. I would also use Rip in the backfield to block for A. Rodgers especially if Bakh and/or Lang are unable to go. I would also rotate Davis and Allison and bring some speed into our passing game. We need to have our best weapons on the field and the Redskins will have little film on Cook and Monty. Our best chance to win is to keep our defense off the field. If CM3 returns that will help but he is not a CB and we're just not competitive there. Thanks, Since '61

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dschwalm's picture

November 17, 2016 at 11:57 am

This guy, Jacobson, needs to take a few English classes. He is difficult to even understand what he's saying!

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DrealynWilliams's picture

November 17, 2016 at 01:04 pm

Looks like I haven't missed much.

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Curry Rambeau's picture

November 17, 2016 at 08:40 pm

Yup. The discussion has given up on the defense. The offense will be better with Cook and Michael (fingers crossed). Pack needs to average 35-38 points a game and control the clock to win. But you don't get the trophy without a good defense. A crunch time aggressive defense.

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