GREEN BAY — Davante Adams isn’t among the handful of players who were on the roster during Joe Philbin’s first go-round with the Green Bay Packers.
The only exposure Adams, the Packers’ No. 1 wide receiver, had to Philbin before the assistant took over as the interim coach was Philbin’s second tour of duty as offensive coordinator, which began for the players with the April 16 start of the offseason program and continued until Dec. 2, when coach Mike McCarthy was fired.
So when Adams says he would like to see Philbin get the interim tag removed from his title and be named as coach, that carries some heft.
“Joe’s one of the realest people that I’ve met, and I’ve only known him for a short time at this point,” Adams said Wednesday as the Packers prepared for Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field. “He’s a guy (who) is really easy to follow, because you know what you’re going to get every day. He makes it clear what he expects from you. That’s why I’m a big Joe advocate.”
Asked if that means he thinks Philbin should be the next coach, Adams replied: “I have zero clue (what will happen), but I’d love for him to be. I’d love if the search stopped there, just because he’s aware of how I feel about him. … When coaches are kind of on that roller-coaster ride, up and down, highs and lows, you never know what to expect. It makes it tough to come into work every day and be excited to go to meetings and things like that. (Philbin) is going to let you know regardless. If the film looks like crap, then he’s going to tell you. That’s the biggest thing why I respect him.”
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who has credited Philbin with teaching him a host of lessons earlier in his career, was a bit more cautious in his endorsement, saying the decision is out of players’ control but that Philbin has been “great” since taking over for McCarthy.
“I feel like we owe it to him to finish this out the right way,” Rodgers said. “The stuff that he’s preached, in the past three-plus weeks, has been really good stuff. I think we all needed a little kick in the (expletive) with some of the stuff he was talking about.
“In this league a lot of times it’s really about the connection between players, the connection between player and coach and coach-to-coach. Those relationships are so important to the ultimate chemistry of an organization and success, I really do believe. When coaches have a love and an appreciation for each other, they coach for each other. When players have a love and appreciation and respect for the coaches, they play for the coaches. When we love each other in here, we spend time with each other outside the facility, we play for each other. And I think we just needed some of those reminders — how important those connections are and that’s what I’m going to be doing when I lace ‘em up on Sunday is playing for my guys and playing for my coaches and playing for Joe.”
Asked what it means to him that players want to help his chances, Philbin replied: “The focus has to be on the Green Bay Packers playing well. As I said to the guys — and I usually remind them at the end of the week — we’re the Green Bay Packers. The Green Bay Packers are about winning championships and are about winning football games. It’s about the players. The Packers exist not for me or the staff, but because of the players. The players are the most important piece of this thing.”
Records on hold?
Adams finds himself two catches and 134 yards away from breaking the Packers’ single-season franchise records for receptions and receiving yards, but in order to have a chance at them, he’ll have to play against the Lions. And that’s no sure thing as Adams didn’t practice Wednesday because of a knee injury he suffered on Sunday against the New York Jets.
Adams said it happened early in the game, and he played the rest of the game, which ended with his 16-yard touchdown catch in overtime for the walk-off victory.
“I see myself being out there. I’m always going to be optimistic,” Adams said Wednesday. “(The knee is) a little sore right now, but we’ll play it throughout the week and see how it feels. A guy just landed a little funny on top of me. It was early, maybe like the second catch of the game, but it stiffened up a lot after the game, so I’m just trying to keep a close eye on it and look out.”
In addition to Adams, the Packers had three other receivers on their initial injury report Wednesday: Randall Cobb (concussion), Equanimeous St. Brown (concussion) and Jake Kumerow (hand). Kumerow practiced in full, while the other two did not as they remained in the protocol. … Both starting tackles, left tackle David Bakhtiari (hip) and right tackle Bryan Bulaga (knee) also are on the report. Bakhtiari did not practice, while Bulaga was limited. … Cornerback Jaire Alexander (groin), who left Sunday’s game against the Jets with his injury, was one of nine players who didn’t practice. … The Packers placed nose tackle Kenny Clark (elbow) on injured reserve, ending his season. Clark joins Mo Wilkerson (leg) and Mike Daniels (foot) on injured reserve, meaning all three of the opening-day defensive line starters will end the season on IR. … Offensive lineman Alex Light, coming off a one-game NFL substance-abuse suspension, took Clark’s roster spot.