Jamal Adams had a somewhat inconsistent but overall encouraging rookie season for the New York Jets. He still needs to take more strides to justify being the sixth overall pick in the NFL Draft but one thing he demonstrated right out of the gate was his versatility. Let’s take a quick overview of the different roles he played in Todd Bowles’ defense during the 2017 season…
In the below play, the Jets are in a traditional 4-3 alignment with Adams playing strong side linebacker over the tight end. When the tight end releases to seal him to set the edge for the stretch handoff, Adams uses his strength and explosiveness to knock him back, shed the block and then drop the running back for a short loss.
Prior to the snap on both of these plays, Adams shifts his alignment to drop down into the box as the weak side linebacker. Against Buffalo, he shoots the gap on the cut back lane and drops LeSean McCoy for a short loss. Against New Orleans, he tracks the frontside handoff across the formation and cleans up a missed tackle, showing a unique ability to navigate traffic around the line of scrimmage.
Two High Safety
Adams is responsible for a deep half of the field in this man, two high look. He is able to pivot off the slot route and range over to the sideline in time to break up a deep attempt from Jay Cutler. He has the look of a traditional free safety on this play, despite more commonly playing closer to the line of scrimmage.
In this two high look, Adams makes his play coming downhill rather than ranging over the top as a center fielder. With the field shrunk down due to Buffalo being in the red-zone, he breaks on the Charles Clay out route and disrupts the pass to cause an interception by Juston Burris.
Against Kansas City, he makes a similar break on the ball after recognizing the route combination and puts himself in perfect position for a game ending interception (he just needs to catch it next time).
Todd Bowles was not shy about utilizing Adams as a blitzer from multiple alignments. Against Miami below, he is lined up as a slot corner and comes flying off the edge for the pass deflection which leads to an interception. With the Jets lack of talent at outside linebacker, this is likely to remain a common practice on their defense to help generate a pass rush.
Below, Adams is also lined up as a slot corner against Cameron Brate, this time allowing a reception by not being reactive enough out of his break. This was a fairly common problem for Adams last season (struggling to track more athletic tight ends out of the breaks at the top of their route) and one he will need to rectify when matched up with tight ends who regularly function as slot receivers in their team’s offense.
Box Strong Safety
Adams is sent on a delayed blitz here from the strong safety position, creeping into the box before the snap. He again shows a good ability to navigate traffic and the patience to stick with the play en route to a sack.
One High Safety
Adams is in off man coverage as the team’s one high safety. He shows good route recognition from the slot receiver and is able to break in a timely manner to force an incompletion.
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com
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