HENDERSON, Nev. — Davante Adams was targeted 17 times by Derek Carr and came away with 10 catches for 141 yards in his debut for the Las Vegas Raiders in their season-opening loss at the Los Angeles Chargers.
And while many are wondering why Adams, acquired in a blockbuster trade with the Green Bay Packers for first- and second-round picks in March before getting a five-year, $140 million extension, has seemingly become a forgotten man in Las Vegas, he insists no one is “trippin” this early in the season.
“All the Green Bay people will definitely still be on that, trying to compare the stats and all that,” Adams said Wednesday. “But we’re not doing this thing for stats at the end of the day.”
Adams insisted the inconsistent three-game production is simply part of an adjustment period in a new system with an old friend in Carr, his college quarterback at Fresno State, after eight years in Green Bay with Aaron Rodgers.
“Nobody gets played [defensively] like how I get played in the National Football League. Obviously, we played professional ball together — Aaron and I — longer than what me and Derek have, so it kind of was a little bit more gradual than what this was,” Adams said of learning how to coexist with Rodgers as a pro. “[Derek and I] jumped straight into the fire, had a few one-on-one opportunities in the first week and got 17 targets. So now, people are changing it up, obviously, and we’ve got to change some stuff up too.
“[There’s] not going to be a whole lot of times where [defenses are] just going to go one high man and single up the corner. In a perfect world, we would love that … but it’s going to be different because in the past when that happened, we found a way to find the one-on-one matchup. It’s going to be a lot more cloud [coverage] and double-teams and different things like that with a lot more attention to me, and I think we’re trying to find the best way to attack that and still be able to be productive in the pass game as well, myself and for everybody else, too. So, a little bit of an adjustment, but whatever everybody else is talking about has nothing to do with what’s actually going on.”
First-year coach Josh McDaniels said it was a “process” for Adams and Carr.
“They didn’t see this together when they played before in college,” McDaniels said. “That’s not what happened. So, they’re getting these different things, and some of which Davante is more used to because he’s been played a little bit more like that. And now it’s the two of them getting used to it together. We have a responsibility to help those two guys continue to be productive as well. So, we’re all in it together.”
And while Adams’ overall production has gone down — his 50% catch rate thus far this season pales in comparison to his 72.78% and 77.18% rates his past two seasons in Green Bay, per NextGen Stats — the five-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team All-Pro does have a touchdown catch in each of the Raiders’ first three games.
“It’s not like he’s not there,” Carr said. “But we’re seeing a lot of different coverages [and] people are trying to take him away in different ways. And we talked about this before the season — I said we’re going to see a trend.”
A trend, with Pro Bowlers like slot receiver Hunter Renfrow, who caught 103 passes last season, and tight end Darren Waller, who had 107 receptions in 2020, of different pass-catchers alternately having big days. Mack Hollins had single-game career highs in catches (8) and receiving yards (158) at Tennessee.
Even as Adams, who is on pace for 96 receptions, averaged 119 catches the previous two seasons.
“It’s a testament to [Hollins’] ability and his work ethic,” Carr said. “It’s also a testament to Davante and Darren, pulling coverage and taking people so that Mack can have that opportunity. And Davante knew when he was coming here … that he was going to have other guys that could also get the football.”
Still, Carr is 10-for-14 for 102 yards with a two TDs and seven first downs when targeting Adams in the first half of games, but just 7-for-17 for 87 yards with a TD and an interception and five first downs after halftime, per ESPN Stats & Information. He is just 2-for-10 targeting Adams in the fourth quarter.
It all lends to speculation that Carr is overcorrecting in trying to spread the ball around.
Carr shook his head.
“At the end of the day, I’m going to listen to Josh, and my progressions, and what he’s telling me in the game,” Carr said. “We’re trying to set things up to get the ball in a certain place and it takes repetition. It takes time. This is only three games into us playing together, again. It hasn’t been all bad.”