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How the Patriots Beat Jamal Adams

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His aggressiveness is an asset and a hindrance.

New York Jets v New England Patriots Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images

Jamal Adams had a statistically decent if not solid game with 3 tackles plus the interception and return for a touchdown. Unfortunately, he also had two plays where his aggressiveness led to huge gains and even a touchdown for the Pats.

The first is 100 percent on him.

The play is a simple TE fade/dump route where the tight end blocks and then releases downfield leaving a defender free to rush the QB. The timing has to be right so the tight end gets open before Adams will get near Brady.

Quick look at the play design: The Pats are clearing out that side of the field with three routes going to the right side of the field. This is a play clearly designed to take advantage of Adams and his aggressiveness.

The Jets are in cover one man with Maye playing centerfield. The route across the middle to Edelman is wide open early. Brady bypasses that route knowing the safety lurks, plus three defenders are to the right.

He waits for the tight end to release. If you call up a better play against this defense, you probably will end up working for Belicheck. This is perfectly designed.

The tight end lets Adams have a free rush catching him completely out of position. He’s got zero hope of getting to Brady and zero hope of knocking down a pass. The tight end is free up the sideline. Meanwhile the rest of the defense is focused right where all the action is.

Clearly this is on Adams not recognizing the Pats are using him, but let’s give credit to the Pats here. It’s a well designed play and executed perfectly, not to mention it was called at the perfect time. This is how you can scheme an offense to take advantage of a defense


The next play is peak Jets 2019 with failures across the board. It’s so bad I’ve watched about a dozen times and still can’t figure out whether the Jets are playing combo man/zone, cover 3 or cover 2. The reason: they completely blow the coverage, and part of that is Adams biting hard on play action.

The route that causes all this problem? A drag route off of play action from the opposite side of the field. Once the route crosses over the Jets right DB/LB it should go through one if not two zones.

This is the basic idea of what I think the Jets were doing. (The two outside men may be in straight man coverage). There should be two if not three men at minimum playing a zone across the middle including Adams. The guy in red either had terrible reactions realizing it was play action or was a blitz that got stuffed. (I’m leaning blitz because he didn’t disengage unlike Adams, and the LB next to him represented by the two top yellow circles.)

Look at the three guys in the red all biting hard on play action. Meanwhile the one man who played pass is shoving Dorsett into the next zone(s) which are unoccupied. The only other player on that side of the field is rushing forward to defend the underneath route.

It gives Brady acres of space to slot the ball.

While Adams was not the only one fooled, I think he was a culprit here. Whether it was zone, or combo he and the linebacker should be in that middle zone. Instead he again ends up in no man’s land not really doing much. The only thing that may absolve him is if the Jets had him man up on the RB, but that doesn’t add up at all.

Adams at his best is a ballhawk and vocal leader of the defense. When he gets too aggressive, he needs someone to pick him up, or the play will go for massive yards. Both of these examples show the bad side of Adams. When he’s aggressive, you get him blowing up plays. It means you might see a few games like this where he gets exposed.

My fear is that Adams ends up being unsure and tentative which would be worse than him being overly aggressive. The second you become tentative you’ll never make a quick decision. It’s a dark road. For his sake, the past two weeks haven’t been kind. Hopefully with a week off he gets to heal up and gets back to being the guy he was last year.