Back in 2014, the Green Bay Packers lost two of their first three games. The offense ranked towards the bottom of the league and the fanbase began to panic about where the campaign was going. Star quarterback Aaron Rodgers then decided to offer a word of advice to all those in Green Bay: "R-E-L-A-X." He was right, as the Packers went on an 11-2 run, defeated the Dallas Cowboys in the playoffs and made it to the NFC Championship game as Rodgers picked up his second NFL MVP.
The Packers have gotten off to another slow start this season, as they were flat-out destroyed by the New Orleans Saints in the season opener, 38-3. Rodgers passed for just 133 yards and also threw two interceptions while new Saints starter Jameis Winston tossed five touchdowns on the Packers defense. It's just one game, but it was certainly the surprise of Week 1. As negative noise begins to surround the franchise again after a dramatic offseason, Rodgers' teammate has emerged with the same message as the one delivered in 2014.
CBS Sports spoke with All-Pro wide receiver Davante Adams this week, and when asked if he had a word of advice to those who could be overreacting to what went down on Sunday, Adams responded saying there's a lot of football yet to be played.
"Just to relax, as '12' said years ago," said Adams. "I don't think many of the true faithfuls are overreacting. I think it's a lot of people that don't have full faith in us as a team. But I mean, just relax. It's a very long season. We got 16 games to go. Didn't start it off right on that one, but a lot of football left. Just stay the course with us and stick around for the ride."
'Flush it and respond'
Whether the Packers win the Super Bowl this year or end up floundering, it won't make the Week 1 loss look less shocking. Zero touchdowns, three turnovers and zero points scored in the second half. In fact, Rodgers was even benched with over 10 minutes left in the game because the contest was so out of reach. Even detractors know the Packers are better than the team that showed up in Jacksonville on Sunday, but what did the Packers learn from that loss?
"We learned that if you don't come out with your hands up, you're going to get punched in the mouth," said Adams. "It's a tough game and it's a game that we were supposed to win and should have won and could have won, but should have, could have, would have only does so much. We gotta bounce back and learn from what we did in that game and what we didn't do. Offense, defense -- really all three phases of the game and bounce back. We got a great opportunity Monday night, so we'll definitely be looking forward to that."
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On Monday morning, Adams took to Twitter to address the loss the Packers suffered. "Flush it and respond!" was his message. Adams told us that he's confident his teammates can do just that, because getting beat down early in the regular season can serve as a motivating factor.
"I think it's just that confidence," said Adams. "We're not a team that rides the wave, we don't get too high we don't get too low. This game is probably the most humbling game other than golf in the world, so just having another opportunity to go out there the next week. I mean, the good thing is you have a game like that you get it out of the way early. We got our heads beat in a little bit this past week but there's things we can learn."
Uncertainty turned to optimism
Some will believe the Packers' offseason had something to do with the blowout loss in Week 1. Rodgers, the reigning NFL MVP, reportedly requested a change of scenery this offseason, and even considered retirement at one point. He admitted he was "50/50" on retiring the weekend before the Packers reported to training camp. Some would use this information to question his dedication in 2021. To others, however, it could actually serve as a kick in the rear.
The Packers have made the NFC Championship game two years in a row now and had to briefly face the chance they would be without their franchise star moving forward. Now, he's back. The Packers found a way to satisfy Rodgers for the time being by redoing his contract and making several concessions -- one reportedly being that they revisit his situation at the end of the year. This sets up what could be a "last dance" scenario where Rodgers attacks with a vengeance -- and we saw what a motivated Rodgers could do last year.
We asked Adams if there was a renewed sense of optimism within the Packers organization in 2021, and he emphatically confirmed there was.
"100 percent man," Adams said. "We got a team that we proved that we can get to the show. I mean, I've been in four NFC Championship games in seven years, and two of the years we didn't even go to the playoffs. So yeah, man. It's definitely a different type of feeling. We have guys that have won Super Bowls, we got guys that have been in NFC Championship games, we got a great coaching staff and just a fresh team that's ready to go and improve on what we did last year. Obviously we started it off kinda weak this year with our first game but it's not something that we're truly worried about because like I said, the confidence in this team and the players that we have."
Adams is a big reason the Packers are regarded as one of the best teams in the league. He simply couldn't be contained in 2020, and caught a career-high 115 passes for 1,374 yards and 18 touchdowns, and also earned his first First Team All-Pro selection and his fourth-straight Pro Bowl bid. His quarterback has been a large part of his success in the NFL of course, and we asked Adams what makes Rodgers such a special player. It's his clutchness gene.
"What makes him different than anybody else would probably be he's kinda like the Steph Curry of quarterbacks," said Adams. "He has like the 'one-timeness' that I like to call it, where you get one opportunity to make that throw work. It's not a 'plant your feet perfectly and throw,' it's a weird spot and you gotta make it happen. Whether it's a Hail Mary ball or throwing a ball to Jared Cook on the sideline in 2016 to go and beat Dallas on a field goal. Just those types of throws are the ones that make him different than other people. Then just the way he leads this team. The way he commands in tight situations and the focus that he has ... it's unmatched out here."
The 2021 NFL season should be a special one -- especially since fans are back in stadiums. Adams recently partnered with Courtyard by Marriott, the official hotel of the NFL, to promote the Courtyard Super Bowl Sleepover Contest. Courtyard is calling on fans to share their most memorable stories showcasing how their love of football has fueled their passion for travel. Fans can enter by submitting their story on social with the hashtag #CourtyardSuperBowlContest. One lucky winner and a guest will get to wake up inside SoFi Stadium the morning of Super Bowl Sunday in Los Angeles.
"We're back this year, we got fans back traveling to games packing NFL stadiums," said Adams. "So we got a really cool experience that we are giving back."
"I know I wish I could be a part of something like this."
While it's probably fair to say Adams won't be sleeping in SoFi Stadium come February, he still plans on being there. The Packers' goals and their mindset as a whole have not changed just because of a poor Week 1 performance. Relax.