The Jets fell to the Patriots by a score of 27-13, and the brightest shining light out of the loss was far and away the play of their best player and budding superstar, Jamal Adams. Let’s take a look at the coverage numbers posted by both he and the rest of the defense against Tom Brady’s offense.
- The coverage numbers include only legitimate targets into the general area of a receiver/defender; throws in which a defender in coverage was directly involved the outcome. Throwaways and deflections at the line are excluded.
- The stats for each individual are that of the quarterback’s passing numbers when targeting the individual’s matchup. A player could receive coverage credit even if a teammate finished the play. For example, against Denver this season, Morris Claiborne tipped a pass in this direction that ended up being intercepted by Marcus Maye. I credited Claiborne with that interception.
- Penalties and pass breakups counted are only those accumulated in coverage. Penalties/PBUs picked up on blitzes, or penalties tackling another player’s responsibility, are not included. PBUs and INTs in the box score are not exclusive to one another.
- “Burns mitigated by opponent miscue,” or “miscues” (M) are included in charting to attempt to knock defenders who benefited from an egregious error by the offense (drop, horrible throw) and give perspective to the validity of their raw stats. A defender can still register an interception or incompletion to his credit on a miscued play.
Here are the individual numbers for the Jets against New England.
Next, let’s take a look at the coverage numbers broken down by individual player-vs.-player matchups and man coverage vs. zone coverage.
- It was the Jamal Adams show. The numbers speak for themselves — six targets, eight yards, no first downs, three pass breakups. Lockdown. We’ll see more of him down below.
- One of his less brutal games, but still a less than encouraging outing from Trumaine Johnson. Seven targets for 58 yards and three first downs. He also was a beat late to pick off a terribly underthrown deep Brady pass. Johnson did make a few very strong tackles underneath, but his downfield coverage continues to be worrisome.
- Avery Williamson was picked on early. Gronkowski scored his lone touchdown deep up the middle as Williamson lost him getting caught looking back at the quarterback. Josh Gordon also picked up a pair of big receptions underneath due to mistakes in zone from Williamson.
- Darron Lee was out-muscled by Gronkowski for one first down catch, but had tight coverage in the red zone to force a couple of incompletions to Gronkowski and James White.
FILM (A.K.A. JAMAL ADAMS SHOW)
Let’s enjoy some great play from one of the best safeties in the National Football League.
Adams’ improvements in coverage this year have been the primary reason he has elevated from okay to great. This Patriots game was going to be a great test - Adams yielded two touchdowns to Gronkowski in the first meeting between the two teams last year.
Adams was more than up to the task. Last season, he was very close on many of the plays of which he was beaten. Sometimes he was a bit too early, sometimes a bit too late. There were instances where he was a little too aggressive, and ones where he was a little too laid back.
Now, Adams is consistently meeting the football with extraordinarily great timing. Here, Adams breaks on Gronkowski a beat before he even cuts out of his route, and before Brady even looks in that direction. Adams arrives at the perfect time to break up the pass, and runs a great route to the ball to lay the impact in a spot where it will affect Gronkowski’s ability to haul it in. Incomplete.
Plays like that are a display of natural instincts that are impossible to teach. You can’t coach a player to be able to read and break on plays with perfect sync the way Adams did on that play. He’s been doing that all year, and it’s that innate feel that has him playing so well. Here is another example from the Patriots game, as Adams smacks the ball loose with a big shot on Julian Edelman.
Edelman and Gronkowski have some of the best hands in the game and have been making contested catches for years. It’s not often you see those two fail to make those plays.
There are a lot of instances where Adams is making plays he isn’t even supposed to. This play is a 3rd & 9. Josh Gordon, slot left, runs a short drag across the field. Frankie Luvu picks him up a little bit late — but Adams swoops in at the perfect time to limit Gordon to a one-yard catch with no YAC. If Adams doesn’t execute this play so perfectly, Gordon could have a chance to get to the edge and pick up the first. Not on Jamal’s watch.
Adams has even been tremendous in man coverage this year. Here, he lines up one-on-one outside with Gronkowski. Gronkowski (6’6, 265) has five inches and over 50 pounds on Adams (6’1, 213). He’s scored more touchdowns than anybody else since entering the league in 2010 — as previously mentioned, two of those were against Adams last year.
This time, Adams isn’t having any of it. Gronkowski has to play defense to prevent this potential interception.
Surely the Patriots would not fail to convert on the Brady-Gronk deep right goal line fade twice in a row?
Not a good throw from Brady there on the second, but great physicality and awareness from Adams made the throwing windows on each snap very tiny. At times last season, physicality at the top of routes was a kryptonite for Adams. As demonstrated above, it doesn’t seem to be anymore.
Here are the numbers for the Jets on the season to date.
Where does Jamal Adams currently stack up among NFL safeties this year?
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