Adams’ pride and leadership key for struggling Raiders

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Davante Adams was critical of his teammates after Sunday's loss to the Steelers, but is confident in them heading into Week 4.

LAS VEGAS — For years, Davante Adams and Derek Carr, best friends from college, spoke about joining forces and playing for the Las Vegas Raiders.

It had been a dream for Adams since his days in elementary school when his third-grade yearbook photo was taken in a Charles Woodson jersey.

They got their wish, a dream come true, if you will. Best buds from Fresno State reunited in a budding pro sports town to play for one of the league’s historic franchises.

But one year after their playing days reconnected, the dream is seemingly becoming somewhat of a nightmare for Adams.

Carr was forced out after nine years of being the face of the Raiders and is now in New Orleans while Adams is stuck in neutral with a malfunctioning offense.

After a frustrating 23-18 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football, Adams didn’t hold back with his frustration with the league’s ninth-most futile offense with just 863 offensive yards through three games.

“It’s not just talking and doing all that, but it’s putting it into action and figuring out what’s wrong and doing something about it so that when we go out there the next time it looks different,” Adams said, standing in front of his locker after hauling in 13 passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns in the loss.

Wednesday he clarified his comments on who and what they were meant for, but stood firm on them in knowing things have to change beginning Sunday in Inglewood against the Los Angeles Chargers.

“As long as the people that it’s intended for understand the message, that’s what’s most important to me,” said Adams, currently sixth in the league with 322 yards receiving. “For the people that didn’t understand the message, it was not a shot or directed at anybody in the front office here. That was about us as a football team and the players that go out there and control things and have the most control of what happens and the outcome of games. I think it’s really cowardly and small thing to take shots at coaches when we do have a lot to do, the most to do, with what happens ultimately out there on the field. I wouldn’t personally decide to go to the media about it. I would take care of it the way that a man is supposed to.”

If there’s one thing Adams has displayed since he arrived, it certainly has been pride and most definitely been professionalism.

He’s never minced words and never shied away from comments, and he’s always been a leader in the locker room.

The six-time Pro Bowl selection is focused on keeping his teammates locked in and attentive to the key intangibles that go into a winning week. For now, he’s pushing them to another level he’s confident they can reach.

“I’m just big on taking care of my part of it, and I take a tremendous amount of pride in what I do and what I put into this game and my portion of it,” he said. “I’d like to think that it reflects in the outcome and the product that you see on the field. So, I just try to keep it to that and then let the rest of the stuff handle itself.”

With quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s status up in the air, after he entered the concussion protocol after Sunday’s loss, Adams is ready to be a big target for whoever is under center against Joey Bosa, Khalil Mack, and the rest of the Chargers’ defense.

If Garoppolo can’t go, coach Josh McDaniels will have to decide between rookie Aidan O’Connell or veteran Brian Hoyer.

Hoyer opened training camp last month looking better than the other signal callers before O’Connell stole the show during the preseason.

And as stagnant as this offense has looked, under the guidance of a coach who is supposed to be an offensive guru, any of the three quarterbacks will be able to count on one of the league’s best receivers

“I think {O’Connell has) surprised a lot of people for what he’s done and he’s shown a lot of poise and some promise for sure. (Hoyer) has a lot of a lot of obviously maturity and experience and a lot of different little tidbits he can kind of give the younger guys or even Jimmy (Garoppolo),” Adams said. “I’m just trying to control everything that I can right now, which is being locked in. And it’s not like we have other quarterbacks in there we haven’t been with since OTAs. So, it would be an adjustment for sure, but nothing too new for us.”