Welcome to the 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 safety Jamal Adams. Adams is the more heralded of the two sophomore safeties starting for the New York Jets in 2018, starting along with 2017 second round pick Marcus Maye (assuming Maye is healthy enough to start this game).
Jamal Adams is a 23 year old (on October 17), 6' 0", 215 pound safety out of Louisiana State University. Adams has NFL bloodlines; his father is George Adams, former NFL running back for the 1986 Super Bowl champion New York Giants. Jamal Adams had a very productive career at LSU. In his sophomore year he was voted 2nd team All SEC when he tallied 67 tackles and four interceptions. In his junior year Adams was voted first team All American. Adams was noted for his outstanding leadership qualities, his advanced knowledge of the game and his preternatural ability to diagnose plays quickly and correctly. Adams finished his three year college career with 209 tackles, 18 for a loss, 5 interceptions and 14 passes defended. Adams was widely considered the second best player in the 2017 NFL draft, and was selected by the New York Jets with the 6th overall pick in the 1st round of the draft. Adams was the first of back to back safeties selected by the Jets in 2017, as safety Marcus Maye was selected with the Jets’ second round pick. Together the two safeties have been counted on to completely overhaul the back end of the Jets defense.
The Jets have used Adams in a variety of roles since he was drafted. He has lined up as a cornerback, a safety, a linebacker and an edge defender. Adams has rushed the passer, he’s shot gaps to shut down running backs, and he’s covered tight ends, wide receivers and running backs in pass coverage. While Adams has had a few problems covering tight ends, for the most part he has looked like he belonged as an NFL starter from day one. He also has danced a little. Together with running mate Marcus Maye the two safeties have stabilized what was a leaky back end of the secondary prior to Adams’ and Maye’s arrival.
This week’s game against the Indianapolis Colts presents an interesting challenge for Jamal Adams. The Colts offense will be missing their best receiving threat in T.Y. Hilton. That leaves tight end Eric Ebron as the best remaining threat in the Colts passing game. With the Colts unable to muster much of a running game this season and Andrew Luck relying almost exclusively on short to mid-range passes, shutting down Ebron may be the key to neutralizing the Colts attack.
Eric Ebron had been a disappointment in his pro career up until 2018. However, this year he has become a favorite target of Andrew Luck. Already Ebron has amassed 26 catches for 255 yards and five touchdowns. That makes Ebron the most dangerous weapon available to Andrew Luck with T.Y. Hilton out.
With both Marcus Maye and Doug Middleton hurting and questionable for Sunday’s game, Adams is the most likely Jet to take on the task of shutting Ebron down. Although Adams had some trouble covering tight ends last year, he has been much improved thus far in 2018. Overall this season Adams has held opposing receivers to a miniscule 32 passer rating and 3.3 yards per attempt, a superb showing by Adams in coverage.
The contest against Indianapolis presents the Jets with an opportunity to claw their way back to .500 and get back in the playoff hunt. The Colts have been devastated by injuries, they’ve had little success running the ball, and their best receiving weapon is out for the game. Shut down Ebron and the Colts’ offense should not present an overwhelming threat for the Jets. If Jamal Adams can win his matchup with Eric Ebron, play his usual stellar run defense and put some occasional pressure on Luck, the Jets should have an excellent chance to emerge from this game victorious. If, on the other hand, Ebron proves too much to handle and puts up a monster game against Adams, the Colts offense might prove too much for the Jets to overcome.
Jamal Adams, this is what you were born to do. This is your time in the spotlight. This is your chance to shine for the Jets. Time to rise and lead the New York Jets to victory on Sunday.