Around the NFL  

 

Packers offense a threat to break NFL records in 2015

Print

The Green Bay Packers utilize a statistical breakdown referred to as "the 16 principles of championship offense and defense."

Coach Mike McCarthy explained after the 2014 season that his offense "hit 13 of 16," coming just a play or two short on the three missed principles.

"So you know, if we could play at this level of offense from here on in," McCarthy concluded, "it will be the best offense pro football has seen."

McCarthy and reigning 2014 NFL Most Valuable Player Aaron Rodgers have no reason to back off that lofty goal with explosive rookie Ty Montgomery, second-year wide receiver Davante Adams and sixth-year tight end Andrew Quarless pushing hard for expanded roles.

Although Rodgers fully expects Quarless to make the leap this year, he has reserved his highest praise for Adams.

One week after Rodgers gushed about Adams' "humongous upside" and "incredible" athleticism, Rodgers doubled down, telling ESPN Wisconsin on Monday that his No. 3 receiver "has star potential -- for sure."

"Davante is a very polished player, and he has an excellent demeanor for a guy who's going to be a star," Rodgers continued. "... There's only been a few guys around here who've had that charisma: Charles (Woodson), Julius (Peppers), Greg (Jennings) always had it as a young player. But there's very few guys that really 'get it.' And he has supreme confidence, and it's contagious. And I'm really proud of his approach and his attitude."

The accolades don't stop there.

McCarthy singled out Adams as a hypothetical "MVP or an All-Star" of Green Bay's offseason.

"I would say Davante Adams, if you wanted a clear illustration of a player taking a jump in his second year," McCarthy said Tuesday, "you just saw it. He's been tremendous in OTAs and he has more in front of him."

If McCarthy's comments conjure up a sense of deja vu, it's because he used similar buzzwords in predicting a breakout season from Jarrett Boykin a year ago.

The difference, of course, is that Adams is a second-round pick whereas Boykin was undrafted.

As a rookie, Adams shined brightest when the lights were on, authoring 100-yard performances to halt the Patriots' November winning streak and to knock off the Cowboys in January.

Entering that divisional round playoff game, Rodgers alerted the FOX broadcast team that Adams had shown signs of greatness and the "swagger of a No. 1 receiver."

Rodgers was already blessed with the game's most productive wide receiver duo, a bellcow tackle-breaker in the backfield and a top-tier offensive line. Now he has breakout candidates at third receiver and tight end on a stable roster that must make other quarterbacks green with envy.

If the key players stay healthy, don't be surprised if Rodgers leads a record-breaking attack in 2015.

Here's what else we learned in Tuesday's mandatory minicamps.

1. In response to Dez Bryant's threat to sit out the season opener, coach Jason Garrett responded, "It doesn't concern me one bit." Because he has yet to sign his tender, Bryant is not required to attend this week's mandatory minicamp. He was a no-show on Tuesday, as were Jason Pierre-Paul of the Giants and Justin Houston of the Chiefs. None of the absences comes as a surprise. It's par for the course for unsigned franchise players.

2. Although coach Bill O'Brien cautioned not to "read too much into which players ran with ones and twos," the tea leaves are starting to suggest Brian Hoyer has a slight edge on Ryan Mallett in the Texans' quarterback competition. Long-time beat writer John McClain predicted that Hoyer will win the job, noting that the former Browns signal-caller looks "smooth, smart and accurate" as a natural fit for Houston's offense. Mallett, meanwhile, has displayed inconsistent accuracy in offseason practices.

3. There's no such favorite in Buffalo. Coach Rex Ryan confirmed there will be no separation among the quarterbacks "until the pads come on."

4. Jameis Winston ran with the Buccaneers' second-team offense again on Tuesday. "They're making him earn his stripes," NFL Media's Steve Wyche explained. Coach Lovie Smith is preaching competition while adding that "we need to get our backup quarterback ready, too." If Mike Glennon is still playing over the No. 1 overall pick in August, it will be cause for legitimate concern.

5. Returning from hip surgery, Sammy Watkins participated in 11-on-11 drills for the first time this offseason. Hall of Fame wide receiver Andre Reed, working on a minority coaching internship with the Bills, proclaimed, "Not only is he a great kid and a great player, his upside is so upside it's upside." That's a new one.

6. In other wide receiver news, don't hand a starting job to Eagles' first-round pick Nelson Agholor just yet. Second-year wideout Josh Huff continues to run with Jordan Matthews and Riley Cooper in three-wide receiver sets. Multiple beat writers have pointed out this offseason that the Eagles remain high on Huff despite a low-impact rookie season.

7. Former Packers cornerback Davon House compared new Jaguars teammate Allen Robinson to a "young Brandon Marshall" for his ability to go up and get a ball. After reviewing Robinson's rookie film, we noted that his leaping ability and catch radius allow him to win at the catch point more than other talented young wide receivers.

8. Although Marqise Lee is still sitting out with a knee injury, coach Gus Bradley expects the second-year wide receiver to be ready for training camp. Bradley noted that Lee could have gone this week if there was game action.

9. After missing most of rookie camp and the first seven OTAs with a hamstring injury, Titans rookie Dorial Green-Beckham returned to practice on Tuesday. DGB looked good, per Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean.

10. To the surprise of no one, Odell Beckham and Victor Cruz ran outside while the rest of the team practiced inside on Tuesday. Coach Tom Coughlin reiterated that there's no reason to push Beckham's hamstring until training camp opens.

11. After reporting to practice for the first time this offseason, Bears tight end Martellus Bennett conceded that he has no plans to hold out of training camp.

12. Cowboys running back Darren McFadden assured NFL Media's Desmond Purnell that he was "fully 100 percent" Tuesday after being limited the last two weeks by hamstring tightness.

13. For the first time since tearing his ACL last spring, Dallas linebacker Sean Lee took part in team drills, catching Jason Witten for a touchdown-saving tackle at one point. Lee is shifting from the middle to the weak side this year in an effort to stay healthy into January.

14. Philip Rivers spoke glowingly of Jason Verrett, suggesting the Chargers' second-year cornerback has the potential be among the top few cornerbacks in the league. As Michael Gehlken of UT-San Diego notes, Rivers is far from alone in that belief.

15. The Bengals are tinkering with veteran cornerback Leon Hall at safety for the second straight week. Though it's likely just an offseason experiment for insurance purposes, it's an idea the coaching staff has kicked around for years.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast discusses Dez Bryant's contract situation and ranks the best backfields for the 2015 season. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

Print