How the Packers can replace production of Adams and MVS

Replacing the nearly 2,000 yards put up by Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling in 2021 may not be as difficult as you think.

Much of the discourse surrounding the Green Bay Packers this offseason has centered on how the team will replace Davante Adams and to a lesser extent, Marquez Valdes-Scantling.

The answer, when it comes to Adams, is simple. They won’t, and they were never going to try, at least not directly.

As Brad Pitt said when playing Oakland A’s GM Billy Beane regarding his team’s attempts to replace star first baseman Jason Giambi: “We can’t do it. But what we might be able to do, is recreate him, recreate him in the aggregate”.

That is exactly what the Packers will attempt to do in 2022.

The Green Bay offense is never going to veer from its pass-happy style while Aaron Rodgers is in town, so someone is going to have to catch those passes. The good news is, no-one needs to do anything extraordinary for the Packers to replace the production of Adams and Valdes-Scantling.

In fact, it’s entirely possible Green Bay’s three primary additions at wide receiver, Sammy Watkins, Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs can make up for most of Adams’ receiving yards on their own.

Watkins has not topped 900 yards since 2015, but the Packers aren’t paying him to be a stud and they don’t need him to be.

In three years spent with a high-end quarterback in Patrick Mahomes, Watkins averaged 537 yards per season. He could certainly get to 600 yards in an offense not dominated by two of the best pass catchers in the game in Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce.

The average receiving yards for a rookie wide receiver drafted in the second round, like Watson, is 436 over last two seasons.

However, that number is dragged down by Tutu Atwell, who had zero yards for the Rams and has played only 10 offensive snaps, and D’Wayne Eskridge, who had only 64 yards on 20 targets and was also used as a running back.

With that in mind, it’s absolutely reasonable to pencil Watson in for 500 yards, and that’s if he’s nothing more an average second-round rookie receiver.

The chance of getting significant production from a rookie fourth-round receiver, like Doubs, is unsurprisingly lower, but even still, the average over the last two seasons is around 271 yards, so Doubs could feasibly get 300.

Add all those numbers up and you get 1,400 yards, which is not far off Adams’ 1,553 from 2021. Of course, there are the yards of MVS to account for as well, but he only had 430 last season.

So, with only around 600 yards left to completely cover for Adams and Valdes-Scantling, it’s perfectly fair to ask Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, Josiah Deguara, Amari Rodgers, Tyler Davis and hopefully a healthy Robert Tonyan to come together and make up the difference, not to mention the possibility of getting running backs Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon more involved in the passing game.

There are endless combinations of how the yardage could be recreated. Who knows which players will grasp the opportunity of an increased role in the offense? The point is, losing almost 2,000 yards from Adams and MVS seems like a lot, but it’s really not that difficult to make it up.

This is where the entire conversation around wide receivers goes awry. Of course, having a superstar like Adams is incredibly valuable, but just because he and MVS are gone, Rodgers isn’t suddenly going to throw for only 2,000 yards instead of 4,000, that’s not how it works. He will throw the ball to the other players on the field, I promise.

Oh, the Packers are also allowed to run the ball.

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Mark Oldacres is a sports writer from Birmingham, England and a Green Bay Packers fan. You can follow him on twitter at @Marko7LW

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3 points

Comments (17)

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Since'61's picture

June 05, 2022 at 01:07 pm

Replacing Adam's production is not the issue. The issue is that we no longer have a legit #1 NFL WR who will draw double coverage and help another Packer receiver achieve a favorable one on one matchup. It will make it more difficult to read the defense's coverage to identify where we have favorable matchups, at least early in the season.

The Packers should be able to get favorable matchups with our RBs on LBs. Once they get some film on how defenses are covering the WRs they can open up the offense further. Hopefully as the season goes on the WRs will evolve into their roles and improve their route running. We should know by November/December if our any of our WRs cause any fear for the defense. Thanks, Since '61

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jannes bjornson's picture

June 05, 2022 at 03:02 pm

'61, I would attack the opponents mercilessly with this WR group. It is now more diversified and multiple with guys coming onboard with some chops. Let it rip.

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mrtundra's picture

June 05, 2022 at 04:22 pm

Even when Adams was double covered and left favorable one on one match ups for our other WRs, specifically Lazard and St Brown, Rodgers still threw the ball to that double covered Adams. In the SF playoff game, that was readily apparent.

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Leatherhead's picture

June 05, 2022 at 05:05 pm

If we line up 3 WRs, they’re going to have to play nickel or risk giving a big play. It doesn’t matter which 3 are on the field, imo.

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Irish_Cheesehead's picture

June 05, 2022 at 01:48 pm

Are the Packers really worried about how to replace Marquez Valdes-Scantling? He had speed but was an average receiver. You can't really say he had sure hands. We drafted speed. It comes down to the young guys developing, the coaches setting them up for success, and Rodgers actually throwing them the ball when they're open. If those three things happen, I don't think the offense will miss a beat.

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wildbill's picture

June 05, 2022 at 02:02 pm

Agree with you. MVS seemed to be a willing blocker and that’s something that’s going to be required from our WRs. The three main WR additions have good size and should be able to block DBs if willing and coached up. I always look forward to the Packer season but am extra excited for this one to start

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jannes bjornson's picture

June 05, 2022 at 03:03 pm

Three-route guy.

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Johnblood27's picture

June 05, 2022 at 02:48 pm

any analysis that looks at and relies exclusively on statistics smacks of fantasy bias and loses all respect from me.

the ability to beat man coverage off the line will be the factor that will be missed the most with the departure of DA. there are a lot of scheme related ways to expand the "pass as a run' type of plays that DA excelled at, however the 3rd down short yardage stuff may well be taken away until someone can show the ability to be dependable in that type of play.

the middle of the field has been a barren desert for the GBP, perhaps some youthful courage can make that a fertile area once again. likewise, the healthy return of Tonyan can make up for a lot of the DA 'old reliable" type of plays, Tonyan has shown superior hands and doesn't seem to drop anything thrown his way, that may be critical through the first half of the season in replacing DA and MVS production. Trust ya kno...

I am really looking forward to the evolution of the offense as MLF works with AR to spread the ball around more and incorporate a 2 back set in both the run and pass games as the season progresses. The rookie WR can only grow as fast as experience will let them, there is only one game per week and only so many snaps per game.

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CheesyTex's picture

June 05, 2022 at 03:25 pm

Nice take, johnblood27.

"Trust ya kno...". LMAO

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Leatherhead's picture

June 06, 2022 at 06:04 pm

I know that it's possible to scheme a guy open, even if he's not real fast. Even a guy like me, an average high school coach, could draw up plays that would get a guy open. And then you practice it, and hopefully you execute it in the game and it works.

The hard part is getting them the ball where they need it, when they need it, and that requires a QB who can throw strikes, and a line that can give him time. Getting a WR to point X on the field and open is easy, by comparison.

When we line up 3 WRs, you've got to play nickel. 5 DBs. If you try to play with a Front 7, that's going to leave at least two of these receivers in one-on-one situations, and so you scheme run clear outs and crossing patterns, etc. so this guy is open when the ball gets there.. I think that what happens AFTER the catch this year is more important than throwing it over the defense's head, and these guys like Lazard, Rodgers, Watson.....they aren't that easy to tackle, and if you don't have help, pronto, a broken tackle is going to end up a big gainer.

So you have to play nickel, with two safeties. You don't have a choice, iMO. That only leaves you with 6 guys to play run defense and/or rush the passer. Meanwhile, we've got 5 offensive linemen plus Lewis against their 6 and Dillon/Jones behind that. The potential for long runs is huge, IMO.

Like you, I'm looking forward to what the offense becomes.

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PatrickGB's picture

June 05, 2022 at 03:06 pm

I don’t think that the team can match Adams production individually or in the aggregate. Yet all they have to do is come close. I watched the Arizona game and the receivers were woeful. But the run game was solid and the defense did well. Another possibility is that Rodgers becomes less fearful of interceptions and his line can pass block better than last year. I do think that as the season goes on the WR’s will improve.

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Johnblood27's picture

June 05, 2022 at 03:15 pm

Bingo Patrick, if AR allows the rooks to be teammates and accept that some mistakes will occur as they grow, a few more interceptions will not matter...

IF... the defense takes the leap that we all expect and any additional turnovers do not hurt the team. It will all be part of this edition of the GBP becoming the best team they can be THIS SEASON and give themselves a chance at greatness and maturity throughout the season bringing their best games in the playoffs .

Sometimes risks must be taken. I'm never scared to post... LOL!!!

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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

June 06, 2022 at 03:22 pm

I don’t think fans should worry about Rodgers accepting young WRs It’s more about whether the young players put in the work needed. MVS had close to 700 yards as a rookie and he was a 5th rounder. Obviously he could get on the same page as AR.

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Packer_Fan's picture

June 05, 2022 at 05:27 pm

The Pack did better in 2020 when the offensive line was better and provided longer developing plays. With Bak and then Jenkins gone, the offense went to shorter developing plays. And in my mind, too much to Adams who could produce separation quickly.

We will have to see how this year progresses. It appears Bak will take more time to get on the field. And who knows if or when Jenkins returns. I am hoping they will both be back by the end of the season and provide better protection to open the routes up. But in the meantime, it will be a work in progress.

I am not into this type of analysis of how to replace players. It doesn't work that way. It very well be overall less passing yards this year than last. But I am OK with that. I see overall that the defense is better. And so will the special teams. Look for tight games won more with the defense and field position with special teams. And less Aaron Rodgers pulling the game out with last minute dramatics.

Areas where some improvements I think will be using Jones and Dillon to create pass/run mismatches. I hope up to 15-20 touches for each of them split between pass and runs. That would be optimum.

Look for the defense and special teams limiting big plays. And perhaps creating some of their own to make short field situations. So many games can be won with 4, 5 or 6 big plays. And as the season progresses, I can see even more improvement with both the defense and offense to be able to compete fully in all three phases for the playoffs.

This scenario I outlined here is a very exciting way of winning. And very enjoyable to see just how the Packers can and will win each weekend. Could lead to a very super year!

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SanLobo's picture

June 05, 2022 at 06:03 pm

The “pass happy” offense is just flat out wrong. Last year GB ranked 15thin total pass plays and 16th in pass plays as a percentage of all plays. And those passes include those mini-forward passes used in lieu of handoffs. I want to see the offense AND defense dominate next year. I want to see Watson catch for 500+ and 7+ TDs. I want to a suddenly healthy and resurgent Cobb surprising everyone. We all want these things. But we Watson is still a rookie and he will have rookie issues, and Cobb isn’t getting younger. Starting out the article by asserting something that just ain’t so raises my antenna when considering everything else written.

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NitschkeFan's picture

June 05, 2022 at 06:57 pm

SanLobo, while I agree that the Packer's were not "pass happy" in terms of volume of passes. I think we can also agree that having the most efficient passing attack was a big part of the team's success. By most efficient I refer to Rodgers leading the league in QB Rating, TD%, Int % etc.

I expect some decline in the passing game's efficiency this coming season. The WR room has many question marks and at this time the health of the OL also has question marks.

But as others have written, if the defense improves and if the running game picks up some of the slack, if the OL is healthy, then the team can succeed with some decline in the passing game's efficiency.

There are a lot of "if" s .

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SanLobo's picture

June 05, 2022 at 09:31 pm

I agree with everything you said. The author made a flippant comment that GB will never veer from a pass happy offense as long as Rodgers is QB. My point is, GB’s offense has in fact been extremely balanced. Far from pass happy. The casual observer visiting this site would walk away believing GB throws the ball two thirds of the time or more.

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