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NY Jets Friday Spotlight: Phillip Adams

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Ready or not, the career backup's time has come.

Jeff Zelevansky

Welcome to the Friday Spotlight. Here we spotlight one key player for each game of the season, hopefully putting a different player in the spotlight each week. Today's player in the spotlight is cornerback Phillip Adams.  Adams, a 6' 0", 193 pound, 26 year old cornerback out of South Carolina State, was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers with the 224th overall pick in the seventh round of the 2010 draft. He wears an infamous uniform for the Jets, a cornerback with #24 on his back.  Adams has bounced around the NFL as a fringe player, seeing short stints with the 49ers, the Seahawks, the Patriots and the Raiders before settling with the Jets this season.  Adams has never secured a starting position, largely because he lacks the skills of a starting NFL cornerback.  Here are Adams' NFL statistics:

Year

Games

Passes Defended

Interceptions

Forced Fumbles

Tackles

Assists

.

2010

15

1

0

0

4

4

2011

7

1

1

0

7

1

2012

15

5

2

0

10

2

2013

16

1

0

0

26

4

2014

7

3

1

0

8

2

Despite not really being a starting caliber NFL cornerback, on the cornerback starved Jets, Adams starts.  Adams is not particularly big or strong for an NFL cornerback, and he is not particularly fast for an NFL cornerback, having run a 4.52 40 time coming out of college in 2010.  He cannot be expected to bully NFL receivers or close on receivers who have beaten him.  The one thing Adams does possess however is good ball skills.  In very limited action Adams has intercepted 4 passes.  This is a skill no other Jets possess.  Kyle Wilson is incapable of turning his head around, thus he cannot track balls in the air.  Darrin Walls can track balls and he can often be in good position to make plays, but he is consistently out fought and out maneuvered for balls in the air, and when he does manage to get his hands on the ball, he inevitably drops it.  That leaves Adams among Jets cornerbacks as the one hope for generating turnovers.  This is a critical role for Adams, as the Jets are currently on pace to generate the fewest turnovers on defense in NFL history.  That's right, the worst NFL defense of all time in terms of generating turnovers.  That's just very sad.

This week's game against the Bills offers the Jets a chance to stave off the embarrassment of that worst ever claim to fame.  Kyle Orton is a quarterback who can be induced to turn over the ball multiple times. The Bills have turned the ball over a whopping 10 times over the last four weeks, a worse  four game stretch in terms of turnovers than even the Jets have produced at any time this year.  The Bills should provide opportunities for Jets take aways.  However, in order to take the ball away you need somebody who has some minimal skill level at taking the ball away. On the Jets that boils down to Phillip Adams.

Adams should be lined up against Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods and/or Chris Hogan most of the game.  Watkins is an outstanding talent, but he is also a rookie and rookies have been known to make mistakes.  Woods is a decent talent who has thus far underwhelmed in his brief NFL career.   Hogan is an undrafted free agent who has never played much until the last two games.  These are good receivers but hardly the best in the NFL, and they should provide some opportunities for turnovers.  If Adams can capitalize once or twice that will go a long way towards securing the first Jets victory in seven games.

The Bills are very good at pressuring the quarterback, stopping the run, and generating turnovers.  If the Jets are to have any reasonable chance at exiting MetLife Stadium with a win this week, they are likely going to need to generate some turnovers of their own against a team that has not been great at protecting the ball.  Phillip Adams is the Jets' best chance at generating a turnover or two.  With the Bills' two top running backs injured the Bills will likely rely heavily on Kyle Orton and the passing game.  That has been a formula for opposing defenses to generate turnovers.  Phillip Adams is the only Jet who has a decent chance of making that formula work for him.

Phillip Adams has waited five years to get a chance to start in the NFL.  Now he has that chance.  He is set up with an excellent opportunity to intercept a pass or two against a Bills passing attack that is not among the better ones at protecting the ball.  Adams is virtually the only hope the Jets have of taking advantage of this opportunity.  It's time for Adams to state his case.  It's time for him to break out and lay claim to his starting spot.  It's time to take the darn ball away for a change.   One would not have thought Phillip Adams would have any chance to be a game changer for the Jets going into the 2014 season, but here he is and the opportunity is there for the taking.   This is Phillip Adams' time in the spotlight.  Let's hope he shines come Sunday afternoon.