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Safeties Review: One Budding Star, Many Moving Parts

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Pro Bowl safety and Curtis Martin Team MVP Jamal Adams headlined the play in the back end of the Jets secondary in 2018.

Adams, whose coverage skills were questioned entering the NFL, proved he’s a do-it-all safety that can play both in the box and over the top. The second-year player finished second on the Jets with 112 tackles, nine for loss and 12 pass defenses. Adams also led the team in forced fumbles with three.

“That’s what I pride myself on, doing everything,” Adams said. “I don’t want to be a one-trick pony. Anything I can do to help the team, I think that’s what makes special players unique.”

The consistently loud and energetic LSU product elevated his play between the white lines his sophomore season while taking his leadership to new heights as well. At the end of training camp, the 23-year-old Adams was voted one of five team captains.

“Teammates respond to you when they know they can trust you and you have their back,” Ravens Pro Bowl safety Eric Weddle told nyjets.com’s Eric Allen last week in Orlando. “By having their back means it’s on you. Leadership is putting it upon yourself. … As [Jamal] continues to grow, he’s going to do those things and he’s going to be around a long time.”

While Adams continued his rise in Year 2, unfortunately, the same cannot be said for his running mate, Marcus Maye. Maye played in six games this year after a very impressive rookie season that ended with an ankle injury in the 2017 finale. The former second-round pick played well while healthy this season, totaling 33 tackles, one interception and two pass defenses in Weeks 4-10 (missed Week 8) before being placed on injured reserve with shoulder and thumb ailments.

Once the Florida product’s season ended, Darryl Roberts shifted to safety after starting five games at cornerback because of injuries on the outside. Roberts started a career-high 10 games and filled in nicely as he recorded a personal-best 45 tackles, three for loss, one interception and seven pass defenses.

Both Terrence Brooks and Rontez Miles, who missed the first half of the season with a knee injury, received some playing time on defense, but most of their snaps came on special teams.

Looking Ahead
The Jets will be implementing a new defensive scheme for the first time since 2015 and Adams is excited to begin working with new coordinator Gregg Williams, who is known for being extremely aggressive on defense.

“He’s the best in the business," Adams said. "I'm looking forward to working with him. I’ve heard so much about him, I’ve looked up so many YouTube videos. But I already kind of knew about him through Coach [Dennard] Wilson. I’ve had so many guys hit me up saying how much I’m going to love Coach Gregg.”

Maye should be healthy in the spring, which will set him up to compete alongside Adams in 2019 and re-form the one-two punch that had Jets fans excited about the future of their secondary.

The Green & White have a handful of players with expiring contracts that have starting experience as Roberts, Miles and Doug Middleton have started a combined 26 games.

On the Roster in 2018

DBs GP GS DNP IA Def ST How Ended
S Jamal Adams 16 16 0 0 1119 54 Active
S/CB Darryl Roberts 16 10 0 0 725 210 Active
S Marcus Maye 6 6 0 5 393 35 IR
S Doug Middleton 7 4 0 0 231 100 IR
S Rontez Miles 8 1 0 0 87 201 Active
S Terrence Brooks 16 0 0 0 69 392 Active
S J.J. Wilcox 5 0 0 0 25 33 NWT
S Ibraheim Campbell 1 0 0 0 1 12 NWT
S Brandon Bryant 0 0 0 1 0 0 Active

Practice Squad

Charlie Miller

Reserve/Future Signing

DB Tevaughn Campbell

**Potential Free Agents in 2019

Unrestricted:** Morris Claiborne, Rontez Miles, Darryl Roberts, Buster Skrine. Restricted: Doug Middleton. Exclusive Rights: Brandon Bryant, Jeremy Clark.

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