“One of the guys that was coming back, Jalen Saunders, had a bunch of yards and a bunch of catches [but] ended up transferring to Oklahoma after spring practice because it was obvious that Davante was going to get a bunch of balls thrown his way,” Antoine said. “Davante just emerged.”
That fall, he caught 102 passes but was hardly a finished product.
“I told him, ‘That was great, but you can be better,’” said Antoine, who now Tavon Austin Youth Jersey coaches at Texas State. “So we took all of his clips – all of his one-on-ones, seven-on-sevens, team clips and all of his game clips – and put each route back to back and just showed him that was good, but could be better. To his credit, when we had that end-of-the-year meeting and I told him that, he took it and watched every clip and went to work. And he came back with 131 catches.”
Adams, a second-round draft pick in 2014, teased the Packers as a rookie. He put up a 121-yard receiving game against the Patriots but followed it with a one-catch, 6-yard game the next week. A month later, he caught seven passes for 117 yards in a playoff game against the Cowboys but followed it with a one-catch, 7-yard performance the next week in the NFC title game.
“I think it’s Denver until proven otherwise,” a coach from another team said. “A lot rides on [Trevor] Siemian and how much he can open up their offense. [Gary] Kubiak likes to run and play-action pass. Siemian had three touchdowns [against the Chiefs], and two were longer. That supports their case.”
There was even the rare deep ball — a 50-yarder to Adams to set up a field goal on the Packers’ opening drive of the second half. Rodgers finished with 313 yards and two touchdowns, while the Packers turned in the best third-down performance (converting 71 percent) by any team in the Tim Barnes Youth Jersey NFL this season.
And the Packers finally got a touchdown from an actual running back, their first of the season. It came not from James Starks or Christine Michael, but from fullback Aaron Ripkowski. The Packers were the first team since the 2009 Cleveland Browns to go without a rushing touchdown from a running back in the first 10 games of a season.
“That was the key, we were great on third down the entire game,” Rodgers said.
“We had sustained drives, which was great. We punted once and that was from a backed-up situation where we got a couple first downs. The offensive line dominated, I felt like — no sacks. They did a good job getting us some rushing yards. Third downs were the key for us. We started fast. I think we hit our first six and that obviously helped us take the lead and give our defense some confidence.”