GREEN BAY – Davante Adams is on pace for a historic season as far as Packers receivers go, with some franchise records in sight if he can keep it up over the final five games of 2018.
His team also needs to close the year with five straight wins to have any realistic playoff chance.
It sounds like the perfect marriage to the Packers' top passing-game playmaker.
"It would be great," Adams said if he continues to approach the milestones while the Packers stay in the hunt. "The most important piece is obviously getting those wins. Unfortunately, I feel like a couple game I've had some big production we didn't win the game. As long as those two go together, that'd be great."
Here's the breakdown on Adams' statistics with five games left, projecting where he'll end up if he continues on his current pace:
- His 77 catches project to exactly 112, which would tie Sterling Sharpe's single-season franchise record set back in 1993.
- His 1,022 yards equate to 1,486, which would rank third on the team's single-season list, but not far off Jordy Nelson's 1,519 in 2014 and Robert Brooks' 1,497 in 1995.
- His 10 touchdowns translate to the 14-15 range, and only three receivers in Packers history have had as many as 15 in one year – Sharpe (18, 1994), Don Hutson (17, 1942) and Nelson (15, 2011).
"Obviously setting a record and all those things in a really historic place like this, it means a lot, especially with all the greats before me and all that," he said. "But like I said, we've got to get those wins and that's when it'll feel a little bit more sweet."
Getting those wins is first and foremost on his mind, and if the burden falls on him to produce even more than he already has, he's fine with that.
Last Sunday in Minnesota, he topped 1,000 yards in a season for the first time in his career (he came up a measly three yards short in 2016). He also reached double-digit TDs for the third straight season, the first Packers receiver to do so since Sharpe in Brett Favre's first three years in Green Bay.
It would help if the offense could get fellow veteran receiver Randall Cobb back from the hamstring injury that has sidelined him for the past three games (and for six games total now this year). Rookie Equanimeous St. Brown was also off to a good start at Minnesota before an elbow injury surfaced, and rookie Marquez Valdes-Scantling has proven in past games he can be a big-play guy as well.
A late-season run will have to be a collective effort, but Adams embraces the fact that it starts with him.
"I talk about it with the wideouts, something Cobb introduced me to when I first got here – we like to think the whole team goes through this room," Adams said of his position group. "So I try to put as much as I can on my back, and I know the rest of the guys have bought into that as well."
Adams regularly draws the opponent's top cover corner, and one week after squaring off against two-time Pro Bowler Xavier Rhodes, he's preparing for Arizona's seven-time Pro Bowler Patrick Peterson this week.
Just shy of a full year ago, Adams listed Peterson (and Rhodes for that matter) amongst the top five corners he's ever faced in an article for The Players Tribune. Adams faced Peterson in Week 16 of 2015, toward the end of his second season, catching three passes for 42 yards. But he then missed the rematch in the playoffs three weeks later due to an injury.
"One of my favorites. He's definitely a guy that has a lot of respect from me," Adams said. "I haven't seen him since '15, and I'd like to say I'm a lot different player than I was in '15, so it'll be a good test."
Having gone to his first Pro Bowl last year, despite quarterback Aaron Rodgers missing more than half the season, Adams certainly is a different player.
He's said many times over he was never fully healthy three years ago, but he has long moved past that valley in his career. Expectations were heaped on him then in the wake of Nelson's year-long absence, and he suggested his disappointing numbers from that season still prevent some from considering him among the league's best receivers.
Rodgers is solidly in the other camp, repeatedly describing Adams as "a tough cover" and calling on himself to get him the ball even more. Earlier this year, Rodgers said the appropriate recognition will come for Adams as soon as he puts up that first "wow season."
For anyone not paying attention, the numbers say it's happening now. Asked whether he thinks so, and if his due is on its way, Adams takes nothing for granted.
"Well, that's not for me to determine. We'll see," he said. "That's really all I can say is we'll see. A lot of people still have trouble moving on from the past, and I think that's what kind of slows them down. Obviously the quarterback I play with as well – it's a huge blessing to play with him, I'd never change that – but that's the fact of the matter, a lot of it gets overlooked because of that, and he knows that as well.
"I don't really care too much about that, I just want to get the respect I deserve. I'm far from done playing, so there's plenty of time for that."