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Film Files: Davante Adams Film Analysis Before The Playoffs

Film Files: Davante Adams film analysis before the playoffs

Editor’s note: Coach Mike Vannucci is PFM’s newest contributor. He’s coached wide receivers at the D2 level and brings years of experience as an offensive football coach. 

By: Mike Vannucci (@CoachVannucci)

Welcome to this week’s Wide Receiver Film Files, this time a Davante Adams analysis.

After our Twitter poll from Monday, we took a deeper look at Green Bay’s Week 17 victory, and break down each individual target thrown in wide receiver Davante Adams’ direction. Adams finished off the 2019 season strong, and is more than ready to make a postseason run with Green Bay. He finished the season with 83 receptions for 997 yards and 5 touchdowns (while missing 4 games due to a turf toe injury). It’s safe to say that Adams would have had his second consecutive 1,000-yard season otherwise. His game is growing each season, and his route running continues to be elite. 

In the game against the Detroit Lions, Adams finished with 7 receptions (on 13 targets) for 93 yards, and one touchdown. Let’s break down each of those targets below.

Target 1: Complete – 17 yards (3rd & 10) 

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Adams comes through on third down against the best the Lions have to offer in Darius Slay. He runs a deep out versus press coverage and does many things exceptionally well. Let’s start with the release at the line of scrimmage, where Adams continues to be arguably the best in the league.

He uses a split release and jabs to work outside. He wins outside leverage and uses the wipe/shed technique to immediately get Slay’s arm off. He then establishes his vertical stem, getting his shoulders/hips square keeping the threat of a two-way break. You’ll then see Adams use a “peek” technique where he looks inside for the ball, prior to using a single slam step to speed cut to the out. This “peek” technique keeps Slay, who is in trail with safety help over the top, inside just enough for Adams to win on the out-breaking route. 

This is a form of art by Davante Adams. His movement, skill, and awareness as a route runner is on full display here. His ability to manipulate cover defenders in a variety of ways makes him a dangerous route runner. 

Target 2: Incomplete (2nd & 8)

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Adams is running another out route here from what starts out as a stack alignment. When the receiver off the ball motions across the formation and his cover defender crosses with him, it tells Rodgers that this is more than likely some type of man coverage (no player to get under the out breaker from Adams). Adams threatens vertical off the ball, and does a really nice job bursting and getting square prior to using a speed cut and rolling over off a single slam step. He once again uses the “peek” technique really well, and creates enough separation for this ball to be completed. This is an extremely difficult throw, but it is one Rodgers has made consistently throughout his career. It is a bit late, and Adams runs out of grass. 

Target 3: Complete – 33 yards (2nd & 5)

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On display here is something that Adams does as well as anyone in the league right now. You’ll see him use this hesitation/skip off the ball right into a speed release to win on his vertical route. He is one of the best at changing speeds and route tempo to win. It is just enough to get the defender’s feet in the ground while Adams accelerates and separates. 

One thing that has to be discussed is how Adams leans back in to stack the cornerback here. This is important for two reasons. The first being that when he stacks the defender, it requires the corner to go through Adams in order to make a play on the ball. The second reason, which is on full display here, is it provides more room for the quarterback to put the ball on the sideline. Notice how Adams slightly fades to catch the ball here; he allows himself to do this by squeezing back inside and stacking the defender. 

Target 4: Incomplete – (2nd & 4)

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Adams comes out split wide to the left of the formation with Rashaan Melvin on him rather than Darius Slay, and Rodgers tries to take advantage. Adams wins on the route with a skip to a single jab to win on the outside release. He follows it with another shed/wipe to get Melvin’s hands off. This is another tough throw for Rodgers with the safety basically splitting the hash and the numbers in order to help over the top of Melvin. You can see how tight the window is. 

Target 5: Complete – 6 yards (1st & 10)

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The Packers are running a variation of “mesh” here, but instead of the running back running a wheel to the boundary, they release him on a corner route. Adams has the “low road” here, meaning he is the underneath route in the mesh. He uses a double jab to easily win inside, and does a nice job immediately working to depth and using a stair step to create some extra separation. If not for the nice open field tackle, this had potential for substantial yards after the catch. Regardless, it puts the Packers in a favorable 2nd and 4. 

Target 6: Incomplete – (1st & 10)

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Adams is put in a situation where he wins much more often than not. He gets a free release on a safety at depth here on a short post; the safety, Tracy Walker makes a great break on the ball. Even with Walker playing it well, Adams could have finished downhill (or negative) working back towards the ball to keep Walker on his back. The boundary safety coming over makes this a difficult route to complete as well. Once the inside receiver on the left of the formation breaks out, the safety no longer has a vertical threat and can help on the post from Adams to make it a tougher throw. 

Target 7: Complete – 20-yard Touchdown (3rd & 10)

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Down two touchdowns late in the third, Adams comes up big on third and ten. He runs the best route of the day on a hybrid of a “Colorado route” (slant / out) and a Post Corner route. He runs the slant and breaks it back out high to the corner.

The attention to detail and patience here is worth noting. Adams takes a release as if he is trying to win the slant route, which he does. As is necessary on any double move, Adams runs the first part of the route just as if he would normally. Once he wins on the slant, he snaps his head and eyes to the quarterback, triggering the safety to drive the slant route. He is able to manipulate two cover defenders at one time. After a few steps to the slant, Adams uses a single slam step with no wasted movement to break back to the corner.  A textbook route in a crucial part of the game. 

Target 8: Complete – 4 yards (1st & 10)

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Adams aligns to the left of the formation and gets cushion. This is easy offense, as he’s aligned to the boundary. Rodgers takes the snap and throws it immediately to Adams, who does a nice job getting vertical and falling forward for 4 yards. The Packers do this quite often when their outside receiver gets an off-cover defender.

Target 9: Complete – 9 yards (3rd & 6)

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Adams comes up with his third first down reception on a third down. He is the widest receiver in the tight bunch, so Slay is playing off with outside leverage. Adams does a nice job “spraying” his release, or attacking his outside leverage by running his vertical stem to Slay’s outside shoulder. What Adams does at the top is most impressive; normally, receivers will just speed cut and roll this over. Since Slay is expecting the out breaker, Adams gives a slight hip shift to freeze Slay just enough to create separation. However, the timing of this throw is so efficient that it would have been tough for Slay to break this up regardless. 

Target 10: Incomplete – (1st & 10)

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Again, the Packers get a favorable play call versus the Lions defense. They are running Davante Adams straight down the middle of the field versus what looks like a Tampa-2 coverage variation. The mike (middle) linebacker has to run with Adams vertical here, and actually does just enough to force Rodgers to have to make a perfect throw, which he almost does. It should be noted the Lions do a nice job helping their linebacker here by getting a chip with their defensive end on Adams, slowing him just enough for their mike backer to get enough depth. 

Target 11: Complete – 3 yards (4th & 1)

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This is the first of three straight plays Adams was targeted on, and the only one completed, but it couldn’t have come at a better time (down a touchdown late in the fourth quarter).

Adams is running a simple flat route, or “arrow” here. As he’s done all game, he does a great job changing his tempo with a skip off the line of scrimmage prior to bursting/accelerating to the flat. In the last clip of the broadcast view, notice how he just slightly attacks the defender’s outside leverage with his skip release off the line. His attention to detail is part of what makes him the elite receiver he is.

Target 12: Incomplete – (1st & 10)

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Adams goes back to his hesitation/skip to a speed release and wins vertical again. The throw has just a bit too much on it, otherwise this is a touchdown. Adams will be the first to tell you this is a catch he expects himself to make, as he does so often.

Target 13: Incomplete – (2nd & 10)

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Adams is running an out breaker here versus off coverage, and does an excellent job threatening with his vertical stem. He gets his cover defender to flip his hips to turn and run with the threat of the vertical prior to rolling over to the out route. He also does a nice job finishing “negative” or “friendly to the quarterback” by working back downhill to the ball. However, the delayed pressure by the Lions forces Rodgers to throw off platform, and the timing is off.

Adams, along with Aaron Jones, is once again a critical part to this Packers offense. His ability to win low level routes as well as make big plays down the field, makes this offense a threat to score any time. His performance on Sunday helped the Packers clinch a first-round bye in the playoffs, which means we get to see at least one more week of Davante Adams this season. As football fans, this is great news.  

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