GREEN BAY – As he begins his second season, Davante Adams is having no problems getting on the same page with Aaron Rodgers.
The two were as good as locked in during a two-minute drill at Tuesday’s OTA practice at Clarke Hinkle Field, so much so that they even succeeded with another fake-spike play to help set up a touchdown, this time to another second-year receiver in Jeff Janis.
Much like he did in Miami last season, Rodgers faked a clock-stopping spike in the red zone and whipped a pass outside to Adams, who picked up a few yards and got out of bounds.
The catch was the fourth for Adams during Rodgers’ six-completion streak that gained 58 yards in 55 seconds to make it first-and-goal. Adams’ four grabs picked up 41 of those yards, and he looked as though he could do no wrong.
“Once you know what to do and you’re on the same page with the quarterbacks, it makes it a lot easier, slows the game down a lot,” Cobb said of Adams, assessing the transition to his second year. “He’s a natural talent.”
With Jordy Nelson still recovering from offseason hip surgery, Adams is taking advantage this spring of the chance to fill in as one of Rodgers’ top two targets.
The Fresno State product expressed little doubt his talent will flourish this season. Though he laughed at the suggestion he’s now a “seasoned vet,” his confidence is well-founded, given his biggest games as a rookie came in the biggest wins of the season, over New England and Dallas.
“It’s like from Fresno year one to year two,” Adams said. “I went out there and made a little noise, but then the next year after that, you feel like you can’t be stopped. You have to have that mindset.”
Rodgers and Adams couldn’t connect on third-and-goal to complete the two-minute drive, but that only created an opportunity for Janis to come through.
On the do-or-die fourth down, Rodgers found Janis sliding through the back of the end zone for the touchdown, setting off a mini-celebration amongst the first-string offense.
“Jeff Janis is definitely moving forward,” Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. “I thought he really came on at the end of last year. He was definitely ready to play at that point.”
Compared to Adams, Janis had the much quieter rookie season, playing in only three games as he made the climb from Division II to the NFL. Now, the Saginaw Valley State speedster is putting himself in good position to compete for a roster spot and playing time in what promises to be a competitive training camp amongst young prospects.
Nelson and Cobb are the only two of the 12 receivers on the roster who aren’t listed as either rookies or second-year players.
“He’s a big-bodied guy and he’s starting to understand how to use his body and use his feet,” Cobb said of the 6-3, 219-pound Janis. “That’s huge for receivers, understanding your body type and what you can do and can’t do, being able to create separation. He’s got tremendous speed.”
Cobb isn’t surprised in the slightest at the young receivers’ progress. Job one as a rookie is learning the offense, and that’s a huge chore in itself, but the work pays off down the road.
The dividends were on display Tuesday with Adams and Janis.
“It’s a very complex offense,” Cobb said. “It takes a little bit of time, takes some repetition. It takes doing the wrong thing to learn to do the right thing.
“There’s definitely that play, that moment in a game where it just clicks, and you know from that point on that you’re on the same page.”