Even though they faced each other on only a handful of snaps, Davante Adams had Jalen Ramsey screaming, hopping mad during last season’s playoff game between the Green Bay Packers and Los Angeles Rams at Lambeau Field.
From the 1-yard line, Adams went in motion left to right with the score tied at 3-3 early in the second quarter. Across the line of scrimmage, Ramsey got caught in the wash of Rams defenders, leaving Adams wide open.
When Adams caught an easy touchdown pass in the right flat, Ramsey turned to berate his teammates in the end zone. It was, essentially, every receiver’s ideal outcome.
“That’s definitely what you want,” Adams said. “You want to see guys turn on each other or not communicate in situations like that. Because you can obviously see it starts to mess with them, then when you’ve got them going at each other, it puts you in a tough spot whether you’re on offense or defense.
“Yeah, I’m sure we’ll have some good stuff to go at them, but we’ll see how they decide to play us as well.”
Adams had nine catches for 66 yards against the Rams in last season’s NFC divisional playoff round win. Ramsey wasn’t a major factor in holding the Packers star receiver to modest production.
Because the Rams are primarily a zone-coverage secondary, Ramsey rarely matches against an opponent’s top receiver.
If Adams had his way, he’d see Ramsey one-on-one more often. Regardless, he said his goal is the same no matter who lines up against him in coverage.
“I plan on having something special every week for whoever we’re playing,” Adams said. “I’m not really looking at it as the heavyweight bout that everybody did last year. In that game, we had a limited amount of opportunities where we were able to go one-on-one.
“Obviously we move around a lot, so that’s part of it. And their idea of stopping me definitely isn’t just to go one-on-one, clearly. Because that didn’t happen a whole lot in the game.
“So whatever it is, it’s all of us versus their defense. It’s not going to be the Davante Adams, Jalen Ramsey show. I would love if that is the way it was, but that’s just not the way defenses have shown they’re going to play us.”
COVID-19 hits Packers again
The Packers’ outside linebacker depth chart continues to get thinner and thinner, this time because of COVID-19.
Outside linebacker Johnathan Garvin has been added to the reserve/COVID-19 list, the latest Packers player to receive that designation over the past couple weeks. It’s uncertain whether Garvin tested positive or was deemed a close contact because the league does not specify.
With Rashan Gary limited at practice Wednesday after not playing last week in Minnesota, the Packers could get awfully thin on the edge of their defensive front. Veteran Preston Smith had a season-high two sacks last week against the Vikings, and Tipa Galeai played well in 36 snaps, but options on the depth chart get awfully thin after that.
The Packers could rush Oren Burks from the edge this week against the Rams. Burks played 18 snaps against the Vikings. They could also elevate La’Darius Hamilton from the practice squad to the active roster, something they did last week. Hamilton did not play a defensive snap against the Vikings.
Running back Aaron Jones practiced Wednesday for the first time since tearing his MCL against Seattle. Jones was limited but participated in individual drills, including running downfield on receiving routes, and appeared to be moving well on his knee.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers (toe) did not practice, nor did left tackle David Bakhtiari (knee). Cornerback Kevin King (hip/knee) and receiver Malik Taylor (abdomen) were also held out.
Adams (ankle) and fellow receiver Allen Lazard (shoulder), along with defensive lineman Tyler Lancaster (thumb), joined Gary as a limited participant.
Secondary putting loss in past
As the Packers’ secondary prepares for Sunday’s game against the Rams—and subsequently wide receiver Cooper Kupp—there is one vital aspect to their game plan; forget about Justin Jefferson.
“We’ve just got to move past that quickly,” safety Adrian Amos said Wednesday of the Vikings wide receiver’s performance against Amos and his teammates.
“Look where they did things that gave us, maybe, problems. Look at problems that we had within ourselves that we can fix, you know, quickly and that’s just how it is over the course of the season. But don’t let that one game beat us twice. And don’t let repeat things beat us.”
Jefferson torched the Packers’ defense to the tune of eight receptions for 169 yards and two touchdowns. Before the 34-31 loss to the Vikings, the Packers’ secondary had a top 5 passing defense, giving up an average of 202.7 yards per game through the air.
After quarterback Kirk Cousins threw for 319 yards total—and averaged 21.2 yards per reception to Jefferson—the defensive average fell to seventh, at 213.2 yards per game.
After shutting down DeAndre Hopkins, Tyreek Hill and DK Metcalf in three straight weeks, watching Jefferson run in circles—literal circles—around the Packers secondary raised questions. Amos promises they are finding the answers.
“It was some things that they did with scheme and it’s some things that we need to fix within ourselves. One person had bad eyes this play, or one person didn’t communicate this play. But like I said, we move forward to this week and then seeing what we got to do this week to be better.”
Still, there were moments there to change the game, even to shut down Jefferson. Safety Darnell Savage had a shot at multiple interceptions. Penalties and drops wiped them all off the board. Just like Amos suggests moving on from Jefferson quickly, he’s given the same message to Savage… and by proxy, the entire Packers defense.
“That game already over. That’s my message period to everybody …that game already over and that’s things that happen. So, you know, he put himself in great position to make those plays. So he’s going to put himself in great positions moving forward, and, you know, we’re going to be fine.”