Jets Safeties Review: Jamal Adams Makes His Case for Best in Game

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On the Roster in 2019

Table inside Article
Player GP/GS/DNP/IA Def/ST Snaps
Marcus Maye 16/16/0/0 1089/38
Jamal Adams 14/14/0/2 959/38
Rontez Miles 7/0/0/1 19/166
Matthias Farley 14/0/0/2 3/215
Blake Countess 6/0/1/4 0/52
Bennett Jackson 2/0/0/2 0/34

Injured Reserve: Miles

Potential Free Agents in 2020
Unrestricted: Miles
Restricted: Jackson

Looking Back
When Jamal Adams' career is over, critics might look back at 2019 as the year when Jamal Adams took a leap from star to superstar. He led the Jets with 91 tackles and 17 QB hits and finished tied for second on the club with 8 pass defenses. Despite playing 14 games, Adams knocked at the door of NFL history with 6.5 sacks and he registered the first two touchdowns of his career.

"The thing that sticks out about Jamal is just his passion for the game. In Texas, we love football and he's carrying that tradition on," said seven-time Pro Bowler Ravens S Earl Thomas of the Carrollton, TX native. "If you get Jamal making plays, he's going to have everyone energized because he's really embracing the game, he's in rhythm, he's flowing with the game and people are going to feed off of that."

The 6'1", 213-pound Adams became a pass-rushing force in this third season, shooting up the middle on a blitz in Week 6 to hurry Cowboys QB Dak Prescott into an incompletion on a two-point attempt in the final seconds as the Jets hung on for their first victory. Then between Weeks 9 and 13, he racked up 5.5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. His strip-sack of Giants QB Daniel Jones, subsequent fumble recovery and 25-yard dash to pay dirt in Week 10 was one of the NFL's plays of the year.

"I tell people all the time if I could do it all over again, if I had the control to pick one player I could play with again, it would be him," said Bills CB Tre'Davious White, who lined up in the same defensive backfield as Adams at LSU. "Just the energy he brings to the field and the way that he plays the game, you have no choice but to respect him. He plays the game the way you want it to be played. He plays hard, he's going to give his best effort each and every snap, each and every practice. He's probably one of my favorite teammates ever."

Adams believes his safety partner, Marcus Maye, should be getting more love. On a team decimated by injuries, Maye was the only defensive back to start all 16 games. The free safety, who called the signals and was responsible for making sure all the DBs were lined up correctly, finished fourth on the defense with 65 tackles and added 6 pass defenses. He was the last line of defense that continually juggled cornerbacks and finished 15th in the league in 20+ pass plays allowed (51). Maye had perhaps his best professional outing in the Jets' 16-10 triumph over the Steelers in Week 16, recording an interception and then a game-saving pass defense late in the fourth quarter.

"He's a tremendous football player and I've been saying that," Adams said of Maye. "People are starting to realize that he should be in that high caliber and talked about in that sense of being one of the best safeties in the league."

See the Best Images of the Safeties During the 2019 Season

Looking Ahead
Since Adams has been in the league three years, he can renegotiate his contract. Jets GM Joe Douglas, who had teams inquire about Adams prior to October's trade deadline, recently met with his personnel staff to discuss each player, every contract and the plan of attack moving forward. Adams, who is the reigning two-time Team MVP, was also named an Associated Press first-team All-Pro in January.

"Jamal is an amazing player. We saw what he did all year, but really, when we deployed him, and he was such a factor as a pass-rusher around the box," Douglas said. "He did so many good things, his leadership. Obviously, voted team MVP by his peers, a special guy."

A unique player who combines wonderful instincts with brute power and an insatiable appetite to get better, Adams has become one of the league's most respected performers.

"I've known Jamal since his rookie year. The dude comes with so much passion and he's one of the funniest dudes I know and he loves the game," said Browns CB Joe Haden., a three-time Pro Bowler. "He wants to be the best, he's a student of the game."

With Adams and Maye just 24 and 26, respectively, the Green & White could have a special duo at safety for years to come.

"I wanted to get more interceptions, but that didn't happen, so I said to hell with it, let's get more sacks," said Adams, who missed two games in December with an ankle injury. "That was a plus, but at the end of the day it's all about winning and that's what we're striving for."

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