Or at least that’s what his play suggests.
If there’s one thing that has been more impressive than anything the Green Bay Packers receiver has accomplished over the past two seasons, it’s that extenuating circumstances be damned, Adams has produced.
Consider Adams’ numbers with:
Rodgers as his quarterback: 6.0 catches, 76.4 yards and .85 touchdowns per game
Hundley as his quarterback: 5.8 catches, 67.9 yards and .63 touchdowns per game
McCarthy as Packers head coach: 6.1 catches, 76.9 yards and .81 touchdowns per game
Philbin as Packers head coach (one game): 7.0 catches, 81.0 yards and one touchdown
“I work really hard to be able to put as much on me so I’m not having to lean on a good quarterback or great coaching,” Adams said. “I just try to put as much on myself and continue to work and do everything I can to produce.”
Of Adams’ 10 touchdowns last season, five came from Rodgers and five during Hundley’s time as the fill-in.
The most impressive numbers, however, are yet to come. Check back in 2½ weeks, when Adams wraps up what could be an historic season. With three games to play, Adams is on pace to break the franchise record for most catches in a season (112, by Sterling Sharpe in 1993) and isn’t all that far off Jordy Nelson’s record for most receiving yards in a season (1,519 in 2014).
With 92 catches for 1,196 yards, Adams is on pace for 113 catches and 1,472 yards. He ranks fifth in the NFL in catches and seventh in receiving yards. He’s tied for the NFL lead with 12 touchdown catches, and no player has more touchdown catches since the start of the 2016 season than Adams, with 34. He also has the most games (27) with a receiving touchdown in that span.
What a turnaround it has been since the 2015 season, when Adams couldn’t produce in the face of high expectations as a second-year pro.
“It’s something that I hang my hat on,” Adams said. “I like to be the same guy every day and after the year that I had where I wasn’t as proud of that, I made it my mission to change everybody’s mind and prove to myself that I could be the player I could be.”
Still, Adams might not get the recognition he deserves. He wasn’t initially voted to the Pro Bowl last season but went as an alternate.
“I think he needs to get a lot more credit,” Rodgers said this week. “So you guys, maybe you can write some articles about him. Give him a little love. He deserves it.”
Adams’ consistency has been one of the few hallmarks of this season and with Nelson gone, Randall Cobb injured and Jimmy Graham nowhere near as effective as the Packers had hoped, Adams has done it despite most of the defensive attention being on him.
“Do you want to roll the coverage his way?” Philbin said as he began to list the different ways defenses have tried to counter Adams this season. “Do you want to play what we call a ‘cloud corner,’ however you refer to that as, or somebody rolled up in the flat and somebody over the top? I think that’s one thing. They’ve traveled a particular defender, that’s another thing. There’s been some bracket double coverage, that’s probably the third thing.
“And then the other thing some teams try to do is maybe pressure the quarterback, see if you can get the ball out of his hands, so you don’t give the quarterback as much time to find his receivers, go through his progressions and locate guys like Davante. I think a little bit of everything. He’s seen some of that.”
And Adams has handled it all.
Perhaps his best attribute is his ability to beat press coverage at the line of scrimmage. The 6-foot-1, 215-pounder wins routes at the beginning, something that was evident on his 22-yard catch in the second quarter of Sunday’s victory over the Falcons. He beat rookie second-round pick Isaiah Oliver at the line of scrimmage for an easy catch that helped set up the go-ahead field goal.
“He can do it all,” Bears coach Matt Nagy said in advance of Sunday’s game at Soldier Field. “To have a guy that size that has the ball skills that he has. He can run really good routes, he’s quick, he’s great versus press, he’s great in the red zone, you know, he’s big. He can do it all. That’s why I think you see the success he’s having with Aaron, is that trust factor with one another. So, it’s tough when you get a guy that size that can do everything like that. He’s a really good player.”