GREEN BAY - Waiting was the hardest part for Montravius Adams last summer.
The Packers rookie was overflowing with anticipation when he returned to Green Bay for the start of training camp last July.
The third-round pick out of Auburn participated in the team’s first two non-padded practices before developing a stress fracture in his foot, which required surgery to repair.
The injury sidelined Adams for all of training camp. While Green Bay kept Adams on the active roster, the 6-foot-4, 304-pound defensive tackle was active in only one of the Packers’ first seven games.
It was the first time Adams had watched from the sideline since high school, having played in 52 of a possible 53 games for the Tigers dating back to his true freshman year in 2013.
“It was kind of hard because coaches want to go with guys who they trust,” said Adams, who had 147 tackles and 10½ sacks at Auburn. “I didn’t really get to build that trust during training camp. They never saw me in pads until when I came back four months later. That was kind of hard.”
Adams played 65 defensive snaps over seven games as a rookie, mostly as a rotational inside rusher in the Packers’ dime package. Although his on-field opportunities were limited, Adams was proactive on the practice field and in meetings.
He paid close attention to veterans Mike Daniels, Kenny Clark and Ricky Jean-Francois. Adams got advice on everything from tips on taking care of your body to small things to watch for in the film room.
Mental reps took precedence over physical snaps in practice.
“If you’re a competitor at any level at all, it’s going to make you feel some type of way to not get those reps you want to have,” Adams said. “For me, it was just hard. But it was encouraging to see those guys come out and work every day, and get better.”
By year’s end, Adams had regained confidence in his surgically repaired foot. With no setbacks, he was able to hop right into his training back home in Georgia in preparation for Green Bay’s offseason program.
When not spending time with his newborn son, Montravius Jr., who was born on the same night Adams was drafted last April, the second-year defensive tackle has been diligent in weight room.
With the mindset of going back to his roots in his approach, Adams sought out to show everyone why the Packers made him a third-round pick a little more than one year ago.
“He was better today than he was yesterday, and hopefully tomorrow he’s better tomorrow than he was today,” said defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery of Adams. “Each day is a work in progress for us and we’re working hard. He shows flashes and I want those flashes to be more consistent.”
Adams is competing at arguably the strongest position on the Packers’ roster with All-Pro Muhammad Wilkerson, first-time Pro Bowler Mike Daniels and budding playmaker Kenny Clark standing atop the team’s depth chart.
While Green Bay is transitioning to a different scheme under new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, Adams was happy Montgomery returned on Pettine’s staff.
After having no issues with his foot during the offseason program, Adams is eager to show what he has to offer when training camp begins later this month.
In the meantime, Adams is keeping his fingers crossed for better luck the second time around.
“I feel like I made strides at the end of the year just from when I came back until when I finished,” Adams said. “I’m just excited to be healthy and try to make sure nothing else happens for me. Now I’m back and the sky is the limit.”