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Numbers just a piece of bigger picture for Davante Adams

Packers’ All-Pro receiver headed for another bunch of milestones

WR Davante Adams
WR Davante Adams

GREEN BAY – Davante Adams learned his lesson five years ago about focusing too much on statistics.

He told the story after last Sunday night's win over the Bears about how he went into the 2016 regular-season finale knowing exactly how many yards he needed for his first 1,000-yard season. So even though he scored two touchdowns in an important win for the Packers, he came up three yards shy of the milestone, and it was bothering him the whole game.

So a lot of the stats and rankings that follow in this article aren't top of mind for Adams, because his focus is on other, larger items.

"Well, the gold jacket is the most important as far as individual achievements," Adams said after practice on Wednesday. "The rest I'm just doing work on the way to getting that hardware that I'm most interested in."

The "gold jacket" is a reference to Canton, and the "hardware" means a Lombardi Trophy, of course.

That said, he's aware that his name in the franchise record books is sprinkled amongst, and on the verge of surpassing, franchise greats such as Jordy Nelson, Sterling Sharpe, James Lofton and others in various categories with four games left in the 2021 regular season.

"It's great company so it's obviously humbling to be mentioned with some of these guys," he said. "But I'm always thinking about the next thing just 'cause I feel like that's the right mentality to have."

Here's a rundown of the numbers to watch with Adams during the stretch run.

Touchdowns: Adams has caught 64 regular-season TD passes from Aaron Rodgers , one shy of the franchise mark of 65 for a QB-WR duo set by Rodgers and Nelson. The Rodgers-Adams connection already has the most TDs in team history when playoffs are included (72-70).

Single-season receptions: Adams has 90, which is 25 shy of his own team record set last year of 115 (achieved in 14 games). He needs to average 6.5 catches per game over the last four regular-season games to break his mark.

Single-season receiving yards: At 1,204, Adams is 315 away from Nelson's team record of 1,519, set in Adams' rookie year of 2014. If he averages 79 yards per game the rest of the way, he'll hit 1,520, and he did miss one game this year so it would be in 16 games, just like Nelson.

Career receptions: Already this season, Adams has moved past Nelson and Sharpe into second on the franchise's all-time list with 636. He's still more than 100 catches away from the top spot, Donald Driver's 743.

Career receiving yards: Adams currently sits sixth in franchise history at 7,772, and third place is within reach this season, with Nelson (fifth, 7,848), Don Hutson (7,991) and Sharpe (8,134) not far in front of him. He needs 363 yards to move past all of them into third, an average of just over 90 per game to do it this year. At that point, only Lofton (9,656) and Driver (10,137) will be ahead of him.

100-yard games: With six 100-yard games so far this season, including a current streak of three in a row, Adams now has 29 in his career, tying him for second in team history with Sharpe, just three behind Lofton at 32. If he's able to get three more this year to match Lofton, he would also tie Robert Brooks' single-season team record in the category, when he had nine in 1995.

Perhaps what's most remarkable about where Adams stands is he continues to produce at such a high level despite all the attention he draws from defenses.

It doesn't happen by accident. Sure, some of it is just Adams being Adams, an uber-talented receiver whose footwork, ball skills and knowledge of the game are, as the social media world likes to put it, top two, not two.

But Head Coach Matt LaFleur and his staff also work on ways to give him opportunities, and both LaFleur and Adams mentioned how regular communication between the two of them has helped in that regard.

Adams appreciates the trust to be able to talk X's and O's with his head coach in discussions he said can occur "on the sideline, in the locker room, or after a meeting walking down the hall."

For his part, LaFleur seeks and loves the input from one of the game's greats, no different than how he views and trusts Rodgers at the controls of the entire offense.

"I love the way he approaches the game," LaFleur said of Adams. "He's constantly studying, he's constantly thinking, we have great conversations.

"It's a great luxury to have a guy not only as talented as he is, but just what he means to this football team. He's just got the right mentality. He's got a 'dog' mentality that I know he always wants that football because he knows he can do something with it."

Adams could do a lot in the records and rankings department by season's end, even if it's not his priority, and whether he's paying close attention to it or not. As usual with him, stay tuned.

"I just think about maximizing every time you're out there and you know, put that jacket on when my career's done, hopefully," he said. "We'll see what happens."

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