MVP of the offseason?
» Rodgers wasn't finished, talking about Adams as a "very polished player" with "excellent demeanor for a guy who's going to be a star," specifically pointing to the requisite "note-taking, the preparation, the study habits, the focus, the practice habits" that produce the "swagger of a No. 1 receiver." The quarterback went on to compare the receiver's charisma to that of Charles Woodson, Julius Peppers and Greg Jennings during the early part of their careers.
Talent you "can't teach"
That's the confidence Rodgers spoke of, but Adams wound up finishing 11th among rookies with 38 catches. Quiet out of the gate, the Green Bay wideout finally emerged with six grabs for 77 yards against the Dolphins in Week 6 and another seven catches for 75 yards against the Saints two games later. He then blew up in a nationally televised Week 13 win over the Patriots with 121 yards off six connections.
NFL Media's Nate Burleson thought enough of those high points to name Adams among his top-five breakout wideouts for 2015, noting how Adams "took advantage" of his opportunities with excellent route-running, especially on slant routes.
His playoff performance against Dallas was instructive: A seven-grab, 117-yard day that showed off Adams' strength and after-the-catch gifts. On his 46-yard touchdown grab in the video package below, Adams makes up for his lack of blazing speed with good routes, shiftiness and savvy field vision that resulted in extra real estate. Check out the 1:02 mark, where Adams uses his strength post-catch to toss Sterling Moore to the dirt like a ragdoll -- with one arm!
I went back and looked at how No. 3 wideouts have fared with Rodgers and McCarthy at the helm. Since 2008, the third-most productive receiver -- in terms of catches -- has averaged 41.3 grabs for 570.3 yards with 4.6 touchdowns. Adams split snaps with Jarrett Boykin before finishing last year as the team's clear-cut No. 3, one reason his 38/446/3 line was slightly below the noted average.
His role is clear this season, but Adams still has two go-to talents in front of him. It's worth noting that only six rookie receivers played more snaps than Adams, but 11 saw more targets, meaning Rodgers typically looked elsewhere. Perhaps that won't be a concern after all the pretty words from the quarterback this offseason.
History tells us that Green Bay doesn't ask its third wideout to carry the load, but Adams is helped by the absence of a bona fide playmaking tight end on the roster. Besides, he's going to see a steady diet of favorable matchups with Nelson and Cobb facing opposing top cover men.
Adams has shown enough friskiness after the catch to see more targets in Year 2. Fifty catches for 750 yards and seven scores feels about right, with those numbers skyrocketing if injuries strike Nelson or Cobb.
Around The NFL's Chris Wesseling pointed to Green Bay's attack as a threat to break NFL records in 2015, which makes plenty of sense. With Eddie Lacy on the ground, a flock of weapons through the air and the game's finest quarterback under center, defenses will have their hands full. Look for Adams to thrive and grow amid the chaos.