It's not quite instant replay, but Jets safety Jamal Adams has shown anyone who doubted him that he can do it all again. He had great numbers in 2018 and he did again this season. He was named a Pro Bowl starter last year; ditto this month.
And for the second straight December, Adams has been named the Jets' Curtis Martin Team MVP.
"I'm just forever grateful," Adams told Eric Allen this week before his second consecutive most valuable player award as voted on by his teammates was announced by coach Adam Gase to the team this morning. "I have a lot of whys on why I play this game and who I do it for. Those guys in that locker room are really one of the main reasons. I love that group. It's a brotherhood, and anytime we get a chance to go out and compete, I love being on the field with those guys because they just keep me going."
And Adams keeps his DBs group, his defense and his team going as well. One way is through his tremendous production. He leads the defense in all the following categories: tackles (87), QB hits (15), forced fumbles (2) and return touchdowns (2). His 6.5 sacks, as we all know by now, are 1.5 shy of tying the NFL record for most sacks by a DB in a season. His 14 tackles on third and fourth downs to prevent conversions is the most by a Jets DB this millennium and the last time any Jets defender had more, it was LB David Harris with 18 in 2009.
Then there is No. 33's leadership, which can't always be quantified but is admired by all.
"Besides all the jokes and energy that you see around here, the only difference is that when I touch the field and it's gametime, it's a totally different mindset. I turn into a different human being," Adams said of his gameday demeanor.
All of which has made Adams one of those "green unicorns" in franchise history. He's one of only four Jets ever to win the Team MVP Award in back-to-back seasons, duplicating the feat achieved by QB Joe Namath (1968-69), WR Al Toon (1986-88) and the man whom the award is now named after, RB Curtis Martin (1999-2001).
And Adams is one of only three defensive Jets who've won the MVP award twice, consecutively or not, repeating the multiple honors earned by LB Mo Lewis in 1994 and '97 and by CB Darrelle Revis in 2009 and '11.
The award for Adams, the Jets' sixth overall pick out of LSU in the 2017 NFL Draft, is the 59th annual presentation of the team MVP award. (No award was presented after the New York Titans' inaugural season in 1960.) Adams joins Dainard Paulson in 1964 and Brian Washington in 1992 as the only safeties to be named MVP. The award has gone to defensive players nine times in the last 11 years.
In addition to Adams, Gase recognized five other winners of the Jets awards at this morning's team meeting at the Atlantic Health Training Center:
Steve McLendon — Dennis Byrd/Most Inspirational Player
McLendon, known for his gritty play along the Jets' D-line, his fiery pregame messages to his unit, and his spot-on locker room remarks about the state of his team, is the Byrd award winner for the third straight year. In 2017 McLendon split the award with LB Demario Davis, then the last two years he's claimed the award alone.
Thus he joins Curtis Martin (2001-03) as the only Jets to be named the Byrd winner for three straight years since the award was presented to Byrd himself at the end of the 1992 season. Byrd was paralyzed during a game that season but fought hard to "Rise and Walk," as captured in the title of his 1993 autobiography.
Bilal Powell — Ed Block Courage/Most Courageous Player
Powell, the longest-tenured Jet on the 2019 roster who returned from a neck injury that landed him on Injured Reserve midway through the 2018 season, was named winner of the Ed Block Courage Award. Each year "the Block" goes to a player by a vote of his teammates on each of the 32 NFL teams. The award honors players who exemplify commitments to the principles of sportsmanship and courage.
Powell's honor this year is his first team award since he was selected by the Jets in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft. He follows in the footsteps of Freeman McNeil (1990) and Curtis Martin (2001) as the only Jets RBs to receive the Block award since the team began presenting it in 1984.
Matthias Farley — Marty Lyons/Community Service
Farley, who came to the Jets as a free agent at the end of August, dived into the Jets' community service activities and has been presented with this year's Marty Lyons Award.
Farley is the third safety and the first since Erik Coleman in 2006 to receive the award. It's named after Lyons, the former Jets first-round draft pick, member of the "New York Sack Exchange," Ring of Honor member, current radio voice of the Jets, and longtime proponent of community service through his foundation.
Folorunso Fatukasi — Kyle Clifton/"Good Guy"
Fatukasi, the second-year Jets D-lineman, is the winner of the Kyle Clifton "Good Guy" Award, named after the Green & White's 13th-year linebacker, as voted on by the Jets' staff. "Foley" is the first DL and second defensive player (LB Avery Williamson, 2018) to take home the award since Sione Po'uha and Marcus Dixon split the honor late in the 2011 season.
Kyle Phillips — Bill Hampton/"Rookie Who Acts Like a Pro"
Phillips, the undrafted free agent from Tennessee who has played like a pro in the Jets' DL rotation this season, has also acted like a pro in the locker room and thus has been presented with the Bill Hampton Award, voted on by the equipment staff and by past recipients of the award.
Phillips is the first D-lineman to win "the Hamp" and the first defensive player since Darrelle Revis in 2007. The award is named after Hampton, the Jets' longtime equipment manager.