The Raiders have won two straight, but with each victory, Davante Adams’ involvement in the offense has decreased.
After seeing a season-high 20 targets in Las Vegas’ Week 3 loss to Pittsburgh, Adams has watched his target total drop to 13, four and five. He’s caught just six passes for 74 yards combined between his last two games. And while offensive diversity has benefitted the Raiders, Adams isn’t exactly happy with his current role.
“I’m a human being and I have extremely high standards for myself in this offense,” Adams said on Wednesday, via ESPN. “I’m sure people are thinking, ‘They won the game, why is there an issue?’ I mean, you see why it’s an issue. Y’all should know who I am, know what I’m about at this point … when you’re a player like me, mentally, my benchmark is not wins and losses — it’s greatness. So when I go out there, I expect to be able to have that ability to put that on tape and have an influence on the game. That’s my purpose for being here. I’m not here just to hang out; I came here to win and to do it the right way.”
According to Adams, doing it the right way means winning with Adams playing a key role. It’s easy to get frustrated when you expect to be a game-changing player and aren’t living up to that standard, even when the team is enjoying success. Adams didn’t leave via trade from Green Bay to Las Vegas just to be a passenger; He wants to drive the car toward a victorious finish line.
“So if it don’t look like it’s supposed to look, then I’m going to be frustrated if I’m not a part of that plan,” Adams said. “Because I have the opportunity to go and change that and make it look like a much better picture out there. And if that doesn’t happen, then I’m going to be frustrated. If Jakobi [Meyers] goes out and has a monster game or if the offense is scoring every five plays, like our first drive on the Bills, then it is what it is.
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“It’s not about me, but I’m one of the bigger pieces as to why this offense is going to go. And if I’m not getting it, then that’s obviously not according to plan.”
The latter portion of Adams’ response brings some needed logic to his current stance. It’s not that he’s upset about not seeing a ton of targets as much as he’s concerned about his fit as it pertains to doing his job. Adams expects to be an important part of the Raiders’ success, and if he isn’t, his alarm bells will sound and prompt him to ask himself if he’s doing all that he can.
Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels understands this sentiment.
“Honestly, great players wouldn’t be great if they didn’t want to try to help the team win in every way that they can,” McDaniels said on Wednesday, per ESPN. “Look, the game is different for them because they’ve achieved a certain status, and they want to contribute every single time that they’re out there as much as they can. So, that’s part of them being them. I would never tell them to squash that. He’s been a great leader, a great influence.
“Our job is to make sure our best players have an opportunity to impact the game, and they can only do what they can do. So, he’s going to do everything he can to help us win, I know that for sure. He’s got a great attitude and mindset. He’s as competitive as a guy I’ve ever been around, and he should want the ball and he should want to contribute … he’s great in every way and this is no different.”
Adams admitted hearing this from his coach assuaged some of his concerns about his performance. And while he knows he attracts plenty of attention from opposing defenses and isn’t running all of his routes for the same quarterback — due to injuries suffered by Jimmy Garoppolo, prompting appearances from both Aidan O’Connell and Brian Hoyer — that simply won’t be enough to make him relax.
That’s just not how winners are built.
“I mean, I’m not naïve,” Adams said. “At the end of the day, it’s not easy throwing to somebody who gets the coverages that I get. It’s a lot of attention, a lot more than, what I’m sure Jimmy, Derek [Carr], Hoyer, whoever we got out there, Aidan, it’s a lot more complex picture that they’re looking at than the numbers that we’re studying throughout the week.
“It’s just the way that it is, so I’m aware of that and I know that it’s not easy, but I’ve done it and I even did it last year and we’ve had flashes this year making it happen. But we’ve got to have it on a more consistent basis in order for us to be the offense that we want to be.”
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