Davante Adams best in red zone -- and just about everywhere else

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- All summer long, in red zone drill and after training camp red zone drill, Aaron Rodgers fed the ball to Jimmy Graham.

And why wouldn't he?

The 6-foot-7 tight end was the Green Bay Packers quarterback's new toy -- the player no one was supposed to be able to cover when the offense moved into scoring position.

Along the way to Graham replicating his league-leading 10 red zone touchdowns last season with the Seattle Seahawks, the Packers found someone else more capable of scoring when they move inside the 20-yard line. It's the same player who is capable of catching passes everywhere else. Whether it's backed up in their own territory or third down or on a quick hitch or on a slant or on a deep ball, that player is Davante Adams.

While Graham returns to his old haunts in Seattle for Thursday's game against the Seahawks stuck on just two touchdowns (both in the red zone), it is Adams who has done the damage here, there and everywhere. He has nine touchdown catches this season, and eight of them have come in the red zone. No other NFL player has more than six red zone touchdown catches this season, according to ESPN Stats & Information data.

"If he's your No. 1 guy," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said, "it doesn't matter what part of the field you're in."

As it has become apparent that Graham, who will turn 32 in 10 days, isn't the threat he once was, defenses have shifted focus to Adams. That's why Adams' volume has decreased; he has only 15 catches in his past three games as compared 27 in three before that. But he has still managed to wriggle free for scores. Adams had two TDs in Sunday's home win over the Miami Dolphins, including his first non-red zone score on a 25-yard blown coverage.

Adams' best attribute is his ability to beat coverage immediately off the line of scrimmage. That same quality comes into play in the red zone.

"Because the window is so tight, and he can create enough separation to where he makes that window bigger," Rodgers said of Adams in the red zone. "You saw it the other night. One was kind of a blown coverage, but he ran a little, quick, double move on the first one and created a yard of separation. That should be a completion every single time."

To hear Rodgers tell it, Adams should have at least one more score.

"I missed him on one late in the game," Rodgers said. "He just ran a vertical post, but his ability to put his foot in the ground and create enough separation where that should've been a touchdown, as well. So with the windows being tiny as we get inside the 20, when you've got a guy that can create a lot of separation, it gives you a way higher percentage of completions in those areas."

McCarthy's decision to finally commit to the dynamic Aaron Jones in the running game could help open up things even more for Adams in the red zone. Jones rushed 15 times for a season-high 145 yards and two touchdowns against the Dolphins on Sunday, when the Packers had their best red zone showing (4-for-4) of the season.

"Really running the ball I think," Rodgers said when asked what the difference was in the red zone. "Because we've been throwing it so many times in the red zone. We had some effective runs, which we hadn't had in a while."

Meanwhile, Adams ranks in the NFL's top 10 in both receptions (seventh with 62) and touchdowns (tied for second with nine). He has caught 31 touchdowns since the start of the 2016 season, tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers' Antonio Brown for the most during that span.

If Adams hasn't been recognized as one of the NFL's most complete receivers, perhaps it's time he is.

"It's not something I go around parading and tweeting about and all of that," Adams said. "At the end of the day, I just want my play and what I can do and bring to the table to speak for itself. Because like I said a couple of days ago, I'm not interested in being a celebrity; but I just want to be given the credit for what I do, and I feel like I play at a high level and I take it very seriously."

Lest anyone thinks Adams' production is because of Rodgers and Rodgers alone, Adams was the one receiver whose production didn't fall off last year when Brett Hundley filled in. He caught five touchdowns from Rodgers and five from Hundley.

"He brings a different skill set than most of the receivers in the NFL," Rodgers said. "His release patterns are second to none. He has the ability to create separation, in breakers and out breakers. He has enough speed that you have to respect his ability to go over the top. And then he's just a very technical route runner. When you combine all of those things, you have a guy who legitimately can get open and catch balls, regardless of who's throwing him the ball."