By Jim Owczarski Sports Editor Published Nov 06, 2014 at 1:04 PM

GREEN BAY – Davante Adams’ rookie year didn’t literally start on Oct. 12, of course. But with less than 20 seconds left on the game clock in Miami, Aaron Rodgers decided it was time for Adams to be a real part of one of the league's top offenses.

We know what happened: On 2nd-and-6 at the Miami 16-yard line, Rodgers faked stopping the clock and instead hit Adams off to the right sideline. With the presence of mind that he had several seconds to advance the ball, Adams not only secured the surprise pass but fought his way down to the 4-yard line. A play later, the Packers went ahead on a Rodgers-to-Andrew Quarless touchdown.

The catch was Adams’ sixth of the game, on eight targets – the first time all season he received heavy attention from Rodgers. The game also began with Adams catching the first two passes from Rodgers.

Then, the next week, he only saw one ball, a 21-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown in a blowout of the Carolina Panthers.

Two weeks ago in a loss to New Orleans, he caught seven of his nine targets for 75 yards.

On the year, Adams has 24 catches on 35 targets for two touchdowns – hardly mind-blowing numbers – but he’s become a legitimate third option in the passing game after Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb.

And, at 6-foot, 1-inch with a 4.5-second 40 time, he’s a mismatch in single coverage for linebackers, safeties and even corners in sub packages.

"His growth is very important to this team," Cobb said. "He’s very important to this team. His ability, we’ve seen it since day one and we know what he possesses and what he brings to this team.

"I think he’s doing a great job right and as long as he continues to improve I think other teams will start to respect him more and his play style."

While it may have taken a handful of games for Adams to establish a connection with Rodgers, he’s not surprised about his recent production.

"I’m not surprised – it was just a matter of time before everything started coming full circle for me and getting more comfortable and everything started clicking and I got my opportunity to just make the most of it," Adams said. "I’ve been like that, usually, for the most part, in high school and college. Just try to come on the scene and make an impact right away.

"Why wait?" he added. "They didn’t bring me here to – they didn’t draft me in the second round to just collect dust.

But, it did take some time to earn the right to produce.

"I’ve said it a lot – this week, last week, the week before, training camp, for guys to really be trusted in clutch situations and on game day, you have to do it in practice so, Davante has really been coming on the last few weeks," Rodgers said. "I kind of called last week and I said I think this is going to be a big week for Davante because he made a lot of plays consecutive weeks in practice and was open a lot, actually, in the Minnesota game. We just didn’t get a chance to get him the ball enough."

Adams clearly had been doing that in practice to allow Rodgers to believe in him enough to throw that last second pass in Miami. And it’s only grown since.

"Not only him, between me Mike (McCarthy), (wide receivers coach Edgar Bennett) ‘EB’ – whoever it is," Adams said. "They’re not going to want to put me in there if I want to try to split the two DB’s and get tackled at the two, because then the game’s over and we’re not sitting here having the conversation about how they trust me."

Adams said the light bulb didn’t just go on in an instant, but it slowly turned brighter, like with a dimmer switch. He admitted the dense playbook, and needing to know all the routes on the tree, took time to process and apply.

But he did point to week 2, and getting third down throws from Rodgers against the New York Jets, as the time when he began feeling he was wrapping his head around it all.

"Still, as we go along, still getting more and more comfortable with it," he said. "You don’t ever want to feel like I am completely comfortable because that’s when you get content and you’re not moving forward."

Now, as the Packers come out of the bye against a Chicago team that the Packers put up 38 points on and didn’t punt against back in week four. In that game, Adams was targeted just three times. It’s safe to say he’ll get some more opportunities Sunday night.

"Davante, he’s open on film a lot," Rodgers said. "He’s run a lot of good routes.

"As long as he stays confident and keeps making plays like he’s doing in practice the ball’s going to keep coming his way."

Jim Owczarski is an award-winning sports journalist and comes to Milwaukee by way of the Chicago Sun-Times Media Network.

A three-year Wisconsin resident who has considered Milwaukee a second home for the better part of seven years, he brings to the market experience covering nearly all major and college sports.

To this point in his career, he has been awarded six national Associated Press Sports Editors awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, breaking news and projects. He is also a four-time nominee for the prestigious Peter J. Lisagor Awards for Exemplary Journalism, presented by the Chicago Headline Club, and is a two-time winner for Best Sports Story. He has also won numerous other Illinois Press Association, Illinois Associated Press and Northern Illinois Newspaper Association awards.

Jim's career started in earnest as a North Central College (Naperville, Ill.) senior in 2002 when he received a Richter Fellowship to cover the Chicago White Sox in spring training. He was hired by the Naperville Sun in 2003 and moved on to the Aurora Beacon News in 2007 before joining

In that time, he has covered the events, news and personalities that make up the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Hockey League, NCAA football, baseball and men's and women's basketball as well as boxing, mixed martial arts and various U.S. Olympic teams.

Golf aficionados who venture into Illinois have also read Jim in GOLF Chicago Magazine as well as the Chicago District Golfer and Illinois Golfer magazines.