Despite the Green Bay Packers’ offensive issues in 2018, wide receiver Davante Adams enjoyed a career year. He set personal bests in receiving yards (1,386) and touchdowns (13) while coming just one catch short of Sterling Sharpe’s franchise single-season record of 112 receptions. By any measure, Adams established himself as a superstar and the Packers’ No. 1 receiver.
Yet even with those accomplishments, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers wants to throw Adams’ way even more often.
”I’d like to throw to Davante more,” Rodgers said earlier this week. “He’s that open. We’ve got to keep finding ways to get him the ball.”
Adams saw 169 targets over 15 games last season, a figure nearly 40 percent larger than his next highest single-season total. Playing a full regular-season slate would help the Pro Bowl wideout increase his target count, something that almost certainly would have led to Adams setting a new team record for receptions last season.
Still, Adams will play in a different offense in 2019, one that hasn’t produced many receivers with larger single-season target totals.
The Packers new scheme, installed by first-year head coach Matt LaFleur, comes out of the Kyle Shanahan/Sean McVay offenses that have exploded in popularity in recent years. Those offenses do tend to feed one pass catcher significantly more than the rest, but not necessarily to the degree Rodgers’ plans to target Adams. The 16 teams that employed either Shanahan or McVay as an offensive coordinator or head coach produced only four receivers that topped Adams’ 169 targets from 2018. Back in 2008 and ‘09, Andre Johnson saw 170 targets when Shanahan coordinated the Houston Texans offense. Washington targeted Pierre Garçon 184 times in 2013, another Shanahan unit. Two years later, Shanahan’s Atlanta Falcons threw at Julio Jones on 204 occasions, easily the highest figure among the group.
Though few pass catchers in these offenses have reached or topped Adams’ 2018 season, the possibility exists that he could increase his target total. If Adams plays in all 16 games and sees more open looks in LaFleur’s offense, the wideout could up his workload and threaten several franchise receiving records.
Such a scenario remains difficult to envision, however. More likely, Adams will produce more on a per-target basis with Rodgers dispersing his more passes to other members of the Packers’ receiving corps.