Offense Found Its Way, Now Adds Adams

After struggling offensively through the first quarter of the season, the Packers started clicking Weeks 5-8 without Davante Adams. Now, the team may get its star wide receiver back for the second half of the season. 

The first four games of the season, the Packers struggled to put everything together on offense. In that span, despite going 3-1, the Packers failed to top 30 points with a two-time MVP quarterback, a top-five wide receiver, and a dynamic running back duo. Instead, the Packers put up 10, 21, 27, and 27 points against four of the league’s best defensive front-sevens. Davante Adams failed to find the end zone in his first four games, and, perhaps most damaging of all, during the team’s only loss against Philadelphia, the Packers also lost Adams for a quarter of the season to a toe injury.

Most of those offensive struggles were to be expected, though, with the offense learning a brand new scheme under a new head coach and offensive coordinator. The players acknowledged as much during training camp, that it would take this team a few weeks to find its way. 

Through Weeks 5-8, however, things started to change, starting with the Packers’ second road game of the season in Dallas. There, the Packers put up 34 points and running back Aaron Jones found the end zone a whopping four times, with 182 all-purpose yards on the day. 

Next, in Week 6, the Packers mounted a late comeback thanks to the defense’s bend-don’t-break mentality, keeping the Lions out of the end zone and forcing them to settle for field goals instead. Those field goals allowed Green Bay to get back into the game, with undrafted receiver Allen Lazard making a name for himself under the lights on Monday Night Football. Lazard ended the day with four receptions for 65 yards and a touchdown. 

Then, Week 7 against the Raiders, quarterback Aaron Rodgers played a statistically perfect game, throwing for five touchdowns and rushing for an additional score. That earned him a perfect passer rating of 158.3. In that win, Rodgers distributed touchdowns to five different receivers, with Jones, Jamaal Williams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Jimmy Graham, and Jake Kumerow all snagging a score. Additionally, eight different players (Allison, Vitale, and Lazard in addition to the TD list) had more than 25 yards receiving on the day. 

Finally, Week 8 rolled around and the Packers’ offensive attack was led by its backfield, with Jones and Williams combining for the team’s four touchdowns on the night. Jones had two touchdowns through the air while Williams had one rushing and one receiving score. On the night, Jones accumulated 226 yards from scrimmage, a career-best. 

Remember that all of this was done without Davante Adams, the receiver who had a career night against the Eagles with 180 yards on 10 receptions. The receiver who had 13 touchdowns and 1,386 yards in 2018, coming just shy of breaking two franchise records. The receiver who managed to find the end zone 10 times in 2017 with quarterback Brett Hundley at the helm for most of the season. And? The receiver who practiced in full pads with the rest of the team on Thursday, making it seem all but a certainty that he’ll finally be able to return to the starting lineup in Los Angeles on Sunday against the Chargers. 

After the loss to the Eagles, the coaching staff went back to the drawing board to figure out new ways to both limit explosive plays on defense, and create big plays on offense. After losing Adams, the receivers acknowledged that they needed to step up and do their one-eleventh to help fill in during his absence. 

After a 3-1 start, the Packers managed to win all four games without Adams for a 7-1 record halfway through the 2019 season. Now, should Adams return to the lineup this week, he’ll join an offense with an arrow pointing straight up. 

It took this offense some time to get rolling but now, sitting at 7-1, the offense is finally performing the way the team knew it could, and it may be getting back its biggest weapon for the second half of the season.

 

Maggie Loney is a writer for Cheesehead TV and a podcaster for the Pack-A-Day Podcast. Find her on Twitter at @MaggieJLoney.

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Comments (43)

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Hematite's picture

November 01, 2019 at 05:40 am

I like the way the offense has flourished over the last four weeks.
I like the way the running backs have been used.
I'm hoping that the return of Adams doesn't change the way the offense has been clicking by him becoming the focus of the offense.

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J_brooks's picture

November 01, 2019 at 05:47 am

Do you mean how the offense... LaFleurished?

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

November 01, 2019 at 08:58 am

Shoot. I wish I had written that. Nicely done.

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J_brooks's picture

November 01, 2019 at 03:44 pm

New mantra. Feel free to use it as often as you like Doug! :D

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Daren726's picture

November 01, 2019 at 06:45 am

I agree. Throwing 17 back into the mix after 4 weeks could be really good, or it could upset the balance for a week or so. Ultimately, it will be a huge benefit, but we’ll see if it has a unsettling affect in the short term.

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ALLGASNOBRAKES's picture

November 01, 2019 at 06:29 am

2019 has been a BLAST watching Rodgers lead this offense getting better and better with each passing week. But last week while watching Sunday Night Football and listening to Chis Collinsworth go on and on about this and that, he FINALLY said something that made my ears REALLY perk up...

He said, "Rodgers is doing all this with 4 of his WR's with Adams out". Now I knew most of them (Kumerow, Allison, Lazard, & Shepard) were UDFA which as we all know doesn't always mean squat. But when EVERYONE of the WR's on the field on any given play is undrafted or at best a later round draft choice it really does make you really take notice and marvel at what this guy does with who he has.

Now I'm not trying to take a thing away from these guys and what they're doing on the football field. They obviously worked they're asses off to start to gain the trust of 12. But to do all this without Adams has been pretty remarkable. Not just that but it has to give this offense a tremendous amount of confidence moving forward what they have accomplished without their #1 WR.

Personally, I think what Rodgers has been doing these last several weeks WITHOUT Adams has been some of his greatest work...EVER.

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Packer_Fan's picture

November 01, 2019 at 06:56 am

My hope is that LaFluer and Rodgers continue to use the RB's to open up the field to make Adams and the other receivers more effective. This year, the RB's have been catching 6-7 passes per game. Hopefully, that will continue. Sometime the defenses will need to tighten up on the RB's and that opens up the WR's. I don't see the WR's getting less with Adams, but rather a high flying offense scoring 30-40 points every game.

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jannes bjornson's picture

November 01, 2019 at 07:09 pm

Like to see wht Sternberger can do when he hits the field. His focus should be to spit the seams and put pressure on the safeties, Lewis can block.

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RCPackerFan's picture

November 01, 2019 at 07:10 am

When I look at this season thus far it has been all about them finding themselves. Its been about LaFleur figuring out his players and how to use them and the players learning how to play in LaFleurs system. It has also been about Rodgers and LaFleur finding their way together.
Each week we have seen improvements. Each week we are seeing new players stepping up and making plays.

The most impressive part though is what happened after the Eagles game. Including the Eagles game the offense averaged 21.25 points per game. Since the Eagles game they have averaged 32.5 points per game. The Eagles game is when Adams got hurt. What that has done since has allowed other players to emerge.
Lazard has become a weapon in the offense. The first 5 weeks he had 0 catches. The last 3 games he has 12 catches for 149 yards and 1 TD. The numbers really don't tell the whole story either because he has had some big time catches in key moments.
Aaron Jones has become an ultimate weapon in the passing game. The first 4 games he had 12 receptions for 75 yards. The last 4 games he has had 22 receptions for 280 yards.
Rodgers Rating the first 4 games was an average of 95.55. The last 4 games 115.63. The last 2 games alone has 48 completions on 64 throws for 734 yards and 8 TD's. Rodgers is getting comfortable in the new offense!

When we get Adams back, Rodgers has that trust in Lazard, in Jones, in others. And we get Adams which Rodgers has full trust in. There have been some moments since Adams went out where we just needed that guy to step up. They were missing Adams. Now that we are getting Adams back it is going to really open up things for the offense. MVS running deep is a big fear for teams. Well they can't cover MVS deep, and double Adams, and cover Jones, and cover Lazard, and stope the TE's. This offense is about to get scary good! I honestly want to see a Trio of Adams, MVS, Lazard. Add in Jones and anyone else and our weapons are second to none.

Not only have we been missing Adams but we have also been missing Tonyan. Getting Tonyan back will add another dimension to the offense. Also, they will be bringing back Sternberger. Another weapon for the offense.

With LaFleur and Rodgers getting comfortable with each other in the new offense, new weapons emerging, getting Adams, Tonyan, Sternberger all back soon. This offense could be some of the best we have seen in a while! Lets enjoy the ride!

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dobber's picture

November 01, 2019 at 09:59 am

I think the key part to your post as the Packers go forward is not so much that all the other pieces had to be used, but that the Packers have found out which pieces really function and can be relied on, and which ones can't. It led to Shepherd finding his way to the practice squad and Lazard getting starter's snaps against KC. After the drama of training camp, I think it's helped straighten out the Packers' depth chart and figure out who is a priority to keep, and who walks.

Many said that the best thing to happen to Brett Favre and his development as a QB was the injury to Sterling Sharpe. It's been said here that perhaps the best thing to happen to this offense and receiver group was the injury to Adams. I think the coaching staff benefitted from this injury immensely by being forced to run the ball and turn what were peripheral elements into featured parts. Adams will get his targets, but here's hoping the coaches haven't forgotten what they've learned while Adams was out.

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RCPackerFan's picture

November 01, 2019 at 12:20 pm

I think you are exactly right. LaFleur has figured out how to use players, what they are best at and getting the right players on the field.

I also agree that the injury to Adams may have been a blessing in disguise. I didn't know at the time if it would be but I thought it could be honestly. These last 4 games we have seen others rise up and saw LaFleur find new ways to attack teams. Which has really opened up our offense.
We have some new weapons in the passing game that we didn't have prior to Adams injury. Lazard has almost came out of nowhere. Jones has been huge. Williams has been really good. They find ways to get the TE's involved and Vitale has been a weapon as well.
Getting Tonyan, and Sternberger added into the mix soon will really make a difference as well. But getting Adams back to what our offense has already been doing. That is going to be really tough on defenses. What I think it will do is it will open up a lot more for MVS, Lazard, and Allison.

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Stroh's picture

November 01, 2019 at 02:23 pm

No dount they've found themselves on offense. I think a large part of that has been Rodgers, not just getting comfortable on the offense, but also realizing he can let the offense work for him. The past few years he's never allowed that and the first month of the season it looked like he was still trying to rum McCarthy's offense. The light seemed to come on for him to just allow Lafleur's offense do what it should. He's been getting the ball to receivers earlier and in the open field so they can make things happen .

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J_brooks's picture

November 01, 2019 at 03:49 pm

Excellent post.

One thing to add about Lazard. His blocking in the run AND passing game has been something to write about. It’s a very different look then we are used to seeing out of WRs in Green Bay and I, for one, am a fan.

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PackfanNY's picture

November 01, 2019 at 07:52 am

Really like the way LaFleur and the staff have made adjustments. The offense has continued to flourish without Davante Adams on the field. The use of the running backs has been a game changer. Getting the ball in the hands of an explosive player like Aaron Jones is always a good thing. However, they didn’t forget about Lazard and Kumerow and Scantling. Their development and building of there confidence will give the Packers a lethal offense moving forward. I also would like to see Danny Vitale get a few more touches. He has good hands and runs with aggression. Man if Sternberger and Tonyan can get on the field and show something it will be even more exciting. Good times.

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SterlingSharpe's picture

November 01, 2019 at 08:07 am

One of the writers at The Athletic just did his halfway point W-L predictions & he has the Packers at 13-3, the Saints & Niners also at 13-3 with us getting the tiebreak edge & the #1 seed.

Getting a higher seed than New Orleans is very important in my opinion. That's a tough place to play, & a different team there versus at Lambeau.

The way this guy predicts it, it would be #3 SF at #2 NO, with us hosting the worst seeded team whoever's left: Dallas, Minny, Philly, Seattle, or L.A.
I would love that....Niners finally have aome tough games in the month of November. Arizona could have beaten them last night if the AZ defense had gotten a stop in that last 4 minutes dangit.

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Barazinho's picture

November 01, 2019 at 01:49 pm

AZ could have gotten the win if KK hadn't called timeout on a 4th down stop right before the half - that cost them 7 points.

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jannes bjornson's picture

November 01, 2019 at 07:18 pm

How 'bout them analytics??? Let the players play. Total over-reaction to a simple situation and took some mojo from the defense.

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sam1's picture

November 01, 2019 at 08:08 am

Love what has been happening and with Adams back hope it continues. Hope Rodgers doesn't revert to relying on Adams primarily because many have stepped up and doing great work out there and their improvement has shown and made Rodgers even better if that is possible!

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Turophile's picture

November 01, 2019 at 03:18 pm

For me the primary reason the Packers have been rolling along so well since Davante Adams injury, is not so much the WRs or even the TEs, but the emergence of passes to RBs. The emphasis on that facet to the game has kept the Pack winning.

Great credit to LaFleur for his gameplanning and playcalling. As a consequence Rodgers is back to his awesome best with a (for him) first ever perfect QB rating vs the Raiders........ and another fine game against a very talented KC, even with Moore, the QB they fielded (a QB who played remarkably well, considering).

Now Adams is close to being back again, Sternberger is reactivated, Savage will hopefully be at full chat, the team is relatively healthy, the bye week is falling nicely at week 11 (and I'll bet Kenny Clark will be glad of that as he seems to be struggling at present, maybe from too many snaps per game). While the nature of the NFL is that things can change very quickly, at the moment it is mostly clear blue skies for the Packers, and few clouds visible, even on the horizon.

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mrtundra's picture

November 01, 2019 at 08:17 am

Can you imagine trying to cover any of our receivers once Adams comes back? We could see single coverage on every receiver we have. If a team doubles up on Adams, another GB WR/ RB/FB should be alone or in single coverage. If ARod can find the receiver covered by a LB, then it's off to the races!

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jannes bjornson's picture

November 01, 2019 at 07:20 pm

It s just the return of the Bud Wilkinson offense with a dose of Sid Gilman and Bill Walsh sprinkled in. Let this offense rip.
Attack relentlessly. The Pack looks stronger than the 49rs.

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

November 01, 2019 at 08:38 am

Would have been nice to have had Kenyan Drake RB. Arizona got him I believe for a 6th round pick this year and a 7th round pick the following year. He had 115 yds and a TD!!

We could have had a triple monster...but nope.

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dobber's picture

November 01, 2019 at 10:08 am

I agree that he played well against SF, but SF had no interest in playing the run last night. It could've gotten them beat, but they were only interested in stopping the passing game.

What was he before he was traded besides a so-so third down back? Roster management in retrospect is easy. Who would you have sat to get Drake his time? In GB, he's the third back...how much does the third back play?

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scullyitsme's picture

November 01, 2019 at 11:21 am

I agree mostly, that’s why I’m very surprised the Packers were interested in la veion bell. Not s sure he can be believed but man of all people at the deadline him and his salary? Maybe they thought of trading Jamal Williams or something with the deal. That’s about the only way that makes sense. Kenyan drake would of been a much cheaper / better alternative in my opinion.

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Demon's picture

November 01, 2019 at 10:54 am

There is only one ball. Whos snaps is Drake going to take? Jones? Pass! Illtake the 2 draft picks.

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

November 01, 2019 at 11:02 pm

Dobber .K. Drake had over 1000 yards combo of rushing and receiving and averaged 4.7 yards rushing 9.0 yards receiving in 2018.

Hope he gets to play a lot more!!

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

November 01, 2019 at 11:03 pm

And if and when he gets hurt are you going in for A. Jones?

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Handsback's picture

November 01, 2019 at 08:48 am

Theoretically, adding Adams back to line-up will mean he's the #1 target. He will get the most looks and have the most plays designed around him. Here's the Packer's advantage, Adams is going to have double maybe triple teams assigned to him. That will mean players like MVS, Graham, AJones, and Lazard will either have safeties or LBs assigned to cover them. Rodgers is in the situation where he will spot these cover defects and hit these guys because he trust them. Expect to see faster throws, and greater YAC as a result of Adams coming back into the line-up.

All of this will mean the defense will really have to be prepared for the passing onslaught from the opponents who have to play catch up.

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

November 01, 2019 at 09:10 am

Hope if Adams returns Sunday that he is 100%, and that he doesn’t re-injure. It has been so much fun to see everyone else step up in his absence and this will help us during a playoff run.

Naysayers and trolls might disagree, but with Adams back I’m sticking to my original prediction of 19-0 for this team.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

November 01, 2019 at 09:28 am

Um, GB has already lost a game. Sticking with 19-0 seems a trifle stubborn. Perhaps 18-1 might be appropriate.

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

November 01, 2019 at 09:38 am

Sorry TGR. It’s 19-0 or bust! If you’re not first you’re last.

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4thand1's picture

November 01, 2019 at 03:12 pm

We get a mulligan TGR.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

November 01, 2019 at 09:37 am

Per Ben Fennel, LaFleur had Aaron Jones split wide for 15 snaps out of his 44 played. That's a third of the time. Read Dusty's Passing Chronicles with that stat in mind. IIRC, 9 times he was in the slot but 6 times he was the boundary receiver.

I thought Montgomery would be used the same way and went crazy prophesizing a big year for Monty. But no, he rarely was split wide, or initially lined up in the backfield and then motioned into the slot or split wide. LaFleur seems to get more out of the same players than MM got, including Jones and Marcedes Lewis.

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jannes bjornson's picture

November 01, 2019 at 07:25 pm

Jones has more wiggle separation against a LB than Montgomery ever had. The guy peaked as a rookie and plateaued.

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Swisch's picture

November 01, 2019 at 09:56 am

We are so fortunate to have in Davante Adams a genuine superstar at wide receiver who isn't a diva disruptively demanding attention.
While I hope we give a generous amount of targets to Davante, I also hope he is willing to go stretches where other pass catchers are getting the ball.
It's a delicate balance, to focus on Davante without forcing Davante. To reintroduce a superstar at receiver, while also spreading the ball around to others, could be the best of both worlds, and make for an offense nearly unstoppable.

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Sol's picture

November 01, 2019 at 11:42 am

I am sure Davante Adams will bring an extraordinary challenge for opposing defenses. But there are only so many touches to go around in any given game. I really like the newfound ability of the team over the last few weeks to create mismatches and design a game plan designed around other teams’ weakness. Davante’s ability of getting a defender to have his weight on the wrong foot, leading to him always seemingly to get open quickly should be a major tool to create so many more opportunities. Such as take pressure of the offensive line, get the ball out quicker, reduce sacks, keep opposing defenses from loading the box.

I guess what I am trying to say is even if he doesn’t catch ten balls a game or have a one-hundred-yard day. He has the talent to be the oil that keeps this team running smoothly by the many things he does without the ball and the kind of team player he is. He is not only an #1 receiver he is also a #1-person and teammate.

I would venture to say if you took a poll of the coaching staff and his teammates; of his #1 quality it would be humility. The ability to learn from those around him and his humility will be the two most important things he will bring to the team upon his return.

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Lphill's picture

November 01, 2019 at 10:59 am

I would rather Adams gets another week off to heal 100 %, turf toe sometimes becomes a season long nagging injury, I think the Packers can handle the Chargers without him. just my thoughts.

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ALLGASNOBRAKES's picture

November 02, 2019 at 04:23 am

I'm starting to think the same way Lphill... With a home game vs Carolina coming up and then a bye before going to SF, I'd rather see him have a week of being a "Full Participant" in practice all week before playing or at the very least a FP on Thursday and Friday.

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P_A_C_K's picture

November 01, 2019 at 02:16 pm

The only downside of this would be if they bench and/or stop throwing to Kumerow and Lazard. If they continue to develop them, we will have a lot of powerful weapons on the field instead of just one Rodgers favorite.

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Oppy's picture

November 03, 2019 at 12:06 am

While it's not specific to Lazard and Kumerow, this is my fear when Davante is back on the field. I've seen this play out before- Rodgers loses his favorite target, Rodgers has to start relying on other targets, the offense starts to really click. Favorite target comes back, and Rodgers falls right back into force-feeding the favorite target again.

There's nothing for me to do but wait and see and hope that's not the case.

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jlc1's picture

November 01, 2019 at 02:16 pm

Yeah, right now it looks like the best way, maybe the only way to defense this team is to bring pressure. You can do that flat out or force them into downs and yardage spots where the pass is obvious and then you blitz. So if the Pack run game keeps producing and the Oline avoids penalties to push them backwards the other team is going to cry for mercy at some point. Of course if Rodgers has a multi interception game that too would be hard to overcome. Anyone want to take a bet on that happening? I hear crickets.

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4thand1's picture

November 02, 2019 at 07:24 am

Now Adams. If I had to bet on whether or not he plays, I'd bet he doesn't. I think MLF is going to make sure he's dam close to a 100% first. I'd like nothing more than to see him carving up defenses, but only if he's there for the long haul. The Pack can go 9-1 into the buy, then it's play for home field and on to the the SB. GOPACKGO

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Houndog's picture

November 02, 2019 at 09:08 am

I'm late to the game here, but I don't see a lot changing with Adams back except for what could be an easier path.
With Adams back in the lineup who can you double team?
Double Adams and there's Jones, Williams, Lazard, MVS, and even Jimmy Graham that can make plays, and then there's Lewis, Allison, Tonyan, and maybe Sternberger. Did I forget anyone?
If the O-Line can stay healthy and keep Rodgers upright this could be more than amazing.

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