How has Raiders WR Davante Adams developed since Packers commerce?12 min read

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    Paul Gutierrez, ESPN Employees AuthorOct 9, 2023, 06:46 AM ET


      Paul Gutierrez joined NFL Nation in 2013 and serves as its Las Vegas Raiders reporter. He has a multi-platform position – writing on, tv appearances on NFL Dwell and SportsCenter, and podcast and radio appearances. Earlier than coming to ESPN, Gutierrez spent three years at CSN Bay Space as a multi-platform reporter, protecting the Raiders and Oakland Athletics in addition to anchoring the SportsNet Central cable information present. Gutierrez votes for the Baseball Corridor of Fame and can be a member of the Skilled Soccer Writers of America and at present serves because the PFWA’s Las Vegas chapter president. He’s additionally a member of the California Chicano Information Media Affiliation and the Nationwide Affiliation of Hispanic Journalists. Gutierrez has authored three books: Tommy Davis’ Tales from the Dodgers Dugout, 100 Issues Raiders Followers Ought to Know & Do Earlier than They Die and If These Partitions May Speak: Tales from the Raiders Sideline, Locker Room and Press Field with Lincoln Kennedy. You’ll be able to comply with Paul on Twitter @PGutierrezESPN

HENDERSON, Nev. — Davante Adams has been busy since agreeing to a blockbuster commerce in March 2022 to go away the one skilled group he had ever recognized within the Inexperienced Bay Packers to affix the crew he grew up rooting for within the Raiders. For starters, he signed a five-year contract with Las Vegas value $140 million.

Since then, he is been focused a league-leading 229 occasions in 21 video games. Adams has additionally caught 133 passes for 1,913 yards and an NFL-high 17 touchdowns — together with 33 receptions for 397 yards and three touchdowns this season. He was additionally named first-team All-Professional for the third straight 12 months and chosen to his sixth consecutive Professional Bowl after the 2022 season.

But regardless of all of his particular person brilliance, the Raiders are 7-14 with him, together with a irritating 1-3 begin to this season with a recent controversy seemingly enveloping the franchise on a weekly foundation.

Absolutely, this could not have been what Adams was anticipating when he left Titletown for Sin Metropolis.

“I did not actually have any expectations,” Adams advised lately. “However it’s not what I needed, for certain. Clearly, I needed to return right here and have a huge impact, proceed to play at a excessive degree and win video games. And numerous these issues have occurred — simply not the successful half. However I’ve simply acquired to proceed to do extra and hold demanding greatness and consistency for my teammates.

“It is a gamble typically. You by no means actually know.”

At a place recognized for being stuffed with me-first gamers, Adams, 30, is lower a bit otherwise. He does not preen or name consideration to himself. He merely goes about his job whereas making different gamers look foolish — the defensive backs attempting to cowl him. It caught Raiders receiver Jakobi Meyers off guard when Meyers joined Las Vegas in free company this offseason.

“He’d go on the market, run onerous, take hits, get again up, make the thrilling play, make the fundamental play, the routine basic play,” Meyers mentioned. “I imply, he is only a well-rounded receiver. He actually can do all of it. And the need to. He desires to do all of it. He desires to be on the market each play. He is inspirational, man. …We’re simply chasing him.

“He has each proper to be a diva, he undoubtedly may very well be. However that is not him, man. He is a hard-working, head-to-the-ground, go-make-my-plays sort of man. So, respect to him.”

However the losses are piling up, because the Raiders have suffered from blown leads, failure to recover from the hump and losses in winnable video games. In any case, the Raiders are 5-11 in one-score video games because the begin of the 2022 season, a win share that is twenty seventh within the NFL.

And together with his outdated crew coming to city for “Monday Night time Soccer” (8:15 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN) and Cheeseheads threatening to take over Allegiant Stadium, Adams is just not about to make any concrete “claims” about his future, at the same time as his issues battle the team-first mentality and work ethic which has earned him reward all through the Raiders’ locker room.

“What’s most necessary to me goes to the Tremendous Bowl. I have been to 4 NFC championship video games in Inexperienced Bay in eight years,” Adams mentioned. “So, I’ve received numerous video games within the common season. I’ve acquired numerous stats. What I have not finished is verify that field of successful the Tremendous Bowl.

“I am attempting to create one thing particular right here. I can solely achieve this a lot on my particular person finish. … you do not fluke into the Tremendous Bowl; you do it a sure approach to win the Tremendous Bowl.”

THE BALL THROWN by rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell — who acquired the beginning in Week 4 when beginning quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was dominated out as a result of a concussion — was behind Adams as he went throughout the center on a deep route at SoFi Stadium. Adams took a shot to his proper shoulder when Los Angeles Chargers cornerback Michael Davis drove him into the bogus turf, stayed on the bottom and was taken to the locker room for examination.

It was early within the second quarter, and regardless of being listed as questionable to return, Adams was again on the sector earlier than halftime. He caught eight passes within the second half to assist lead a Raiders’ comeback effort that fell brief. Adams sat out observe on Thursday and Friday and was a restricted participant Saturday as a result of that shoulder and is listed as questionable to play Monday.

“He is a warrior, and to return again in and play the best way that he did after that, I give him, clearly, all of the credit score on the planet,” Raiders coach Josh McDaniels mentioned. “He is a tricky son of a gun and what an ideal crew participant.

“One of many extra distinctive gamers and those that I have been round.”

On the sector, McDaniels mentioned Adams has seen “each protection recognized to mankind” and nonetheless excels.

“He is acquired a perspective that is very distinctive and uncommon,” McDaniels mentioned. “And his talent and his expertise, it is on the highest degree. He performs at an unimaginable velocity, his palms, his size, his attain, his potential to twist and switch and make robust catches. I imply, it is a privilege to teach guys like that as a result of you do not get to see that daily.”

Off the sector?

“He is a really mature man,” McDaniels mentioned. “He is an ideal dad, nice husband, nice son, nice buddy and really sincere and open together with his dialogue about no matter. Any manner he might assist the crew — he is an unimaginable captain.

“Only a actually distinctive particular person, distinctive participant, particular in each manner. Corridor of Famer.”

However Adams can be human with an interior battle — attempting to steadiness the Raiders’ incapability to forge a constant and profitable path together with his private success — that is pulling him in several instructions. Within the spring, after the Raiders moved on from nine-year beginning quarterback Derek Carr, his faculty teammate at Fresno State, and signed Garoppolo, Adams mentioned he did not see “eye-to-eye” with the Raiders’ determination makers.

After a disappointing Week 3 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Adams mentioned he did not have “time to attend round” for the Raiders to get proper and talked concerning the “tradition” having to vary.

However slip-ups apart, Adams continues to construct his résumé for the Professional Soccer Corridor of Fame. Think about: With a landing catch in opposition to the Packers, he’ll move Antonio Brown and Jimmy Graham for the fourth-most TD catches in prime-time video games in NFL historical past with 32. Solely Corridor of Famers Jerry Rice (46), Randy Moss (44) and Terrell Owens (34) have extra. Plus, with 802 profession catches for 10,034 yards and 90 TDs, Adams ranks 14th on the all-time TD reception checklist and is about two seasons away from becoming a member of the NFL’s prime 20 lists in catches and receiving yards, barring harm.

He isn’t the quickest or the quickest, however Adams is eternally open.

Raiders cornerback Nate Hobbs credit Adams’ use of leverage and his potential to vary course on a dime. That, and Adams by no means taking a play off. It appears easy, however he runs each route as if the ball is coming his manner, even when it is a run play, making it a battle of conditioning and, thus, attrition, with an unsuspecting defensive again.

“He all the time has a plan, and it might change in a cut up second,” mentioned Hobbs, who needed one-on-one reps with Adams in his first camp with the Raiders and shortly came upon. “He’ll leverage you inside and you do not anticipate that, so he’ll convert and have me on a special route. He makes each route look the identical.

“Plus, the best way he goes and will get the ball when it is within the air, he is like on a Steph Curry degree. You know the way Steph might shoot and he can shut his eyes and hit it? Final 12 months a number of occasions, he could not even see the ball, and he caught the ball. With one hand. Like, he is on that degree, that Curry degree relating to catching balls. He is an actual skilled at it. All that collectively makes it actually robust to protect. He is unpredictable.”

WHILE MORE THAN a couple of of the names and faces have modified, a sure sense of familiarity is certain to return over Adams on Monday evening when he appears throughout the sector and sees that iconic gold and darkish inexperienced helmet with the outsized ‘G’ on the facet. The helmet he wore from 2014, when the Packers drafted him within the second spherical, by means of 2021, when it was merely time to go and get nearer to his household and pals on the West Coast.

It is a helmet Adams wore as he superior to the precipice of the Tremendous Bowl 4 occasions, with the Packers shedding within the NFC Championship Recreation in 2014, 2016, 2019 and 2020.

“It will be bizarre,” Adams mentioned with a smile. “I am going to recover from it by the point the sport begins. However going over there, popping out of the tunnel, seeing them over there, it’s going to be bizarre. I have not skilled, clearly, I have not performed in opposition to the Packers earlier than, so it’s going to be enjoyable.

“It will be good to see some [familiar] faces and compete in opposition to these boys at a special degree, too.”

Popping out of the sport with a win, although, can be greater than that for Adams and the Raiders. Maybe it might halt, momentarily not less than, the narrative that Adams is sad. That the Raiders will must not less than entertain the considered buying and selling him for a bounty of picks, even when the lifeless cash hit — $7.85 million this 12 months, $23.55 million in 2024 — can be daunting.

A victory might verify what Adams has been saying all alongside — that the Raiders have an excessive amount of expertise to not be related within the second half of the season.

“I am simply attempting to remain centered and keep centered on the final word purpose, which is successful video games,” he mentioned. “It is the cliché reply, however that is actually all I can do. … My job is to play, and the entrance workplace, their job is to do what they do. It is simply the simplest approach to not reside on a curler coaster, this up and down world, simply maintain what I can maintain. And as a lot as I can contribute to that, I am going to try this.

“And that is the way you construct a successful tradition. So, after I [say] we have not established a successful tradition, it is extra about what we are able to do as gamers, greater than the philosophies and the concepts. As a result of every little thing that they preach right here, the best way we speak about it and the best way they need it finished, is the precise manner.”

Sure, even relating to not seeing eye-to-eye on sure issues.

After all, Adams couldn’t have foreseen Carr being lower and leaving for the New Orleans Saints after lower than one season collectively in Las Vegas. However Carr was not the one cause Adams, who rocked a Charles Woodson jersey for third-grade image day whereas saying he needed to play for the Raiders, got here to southern Nevada.

And till Garoppolo was concussed, Adams was constructing a sure and sudden belief together with his new quarterback. Not a simple factor to do contemplating Adams has actually solely had two quarterbacks since graduating from Palo Alto Excessive College in 2011 — Carr at Fresno State, Aaron Rodgers in Inexperienced Bay and Carr once more with the Raiders.

“Jimmy’s a simple man to work with as a result of he is among the finest that I have been round at any place, not to mention quarterback, of taking accountability,” Adams mentioned. “Not taking something away from Derek and Aaron, however Jimmy does a very good job of not coming in performing like he is aware of every little thing. He is open to strategies and me speaking by means of ways in which I’ve finished previously.”

Which brings it full circle to Adams saying it is all a big gamble anyway. And with this being Las Vegas, he simply does not need to crap out, or roll snake eyes.

“Some issues are going to work out higher within the offseason, whether or not it is free brokers or if it is draft picks,” mentioned Adams, who acquired off to a gradual begin in his profession with 88 catches and 4 landing catches in his first two seasons mixed, and didn’t go over 1,000 yards receiving in a single season till his fifth 12 months within the NFL.

“It is also a strategy of this factor takes time to develop, so you’ll be able to’t rely your chickens till they hatch. As a result of if we’d’ve finished that, then there would’ve been no Davante Adams at this level.”


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