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Opponent preview: New York Jets safety Jamal Adams

A look at the team leader in QB hits for the New York Jets

Yes, I know Jamal Adams has an ankle injury and is listed as “Questionable” for the game against the Buffalo Bills. He was also questionable for the Pittsburgh Steelers game and played every snap. More importantly, even if Adams doesn’t suit up it gives the information I really want to look at anyway. Adams is second on the team for the New York Jets in sacks with 6.5 and first with quarterback hits at 13. Those aren’t eye-popping numbers unless you know that Jamal Adams is a safety. For his position group he leads the league in both stats.

This next thing isn’t to take away from Adams who needs to take advantage of the opportunity he’s given. What we really want to look at is that it takes an aggressive defense, led by an aggressive man to get a safety those kinds of numbers. A man like Gregg Williams. With the Buffalo Bills expected to suit up Josh Allen for at least part of the game, let’s get good and scared before kickoff.

Play 1

As you’d expect, Jamal Adams’s sacks come from safety blitzes. On this play, the Jets were in Cover-1 to bring Adams up to pass rush. If this were recognized as a blitz, it’s possible the play could have been adjusted to have the running back equalize and buy Ryan Fitzpatrick some time. That doesn’t happen though and the left tackle is in a “pick your poison” scenario that was never going to end well.

Play 2

This is perfectly timed, which puts Saquon Barkley at a disadvantage trying to get the block. It’s nowhere near enough to stop Adams who swoops in for the:

  1. Sack
  2. Forced Fumble
  3. Tackle for loss
  4. All of the above

Play 3

Barkley has time to set for the block but it doesn’t really go any better. In fact he gets pushed around quite handily. Then Jamal Adams decides to get a:

  1. Sack
  2. Forced fumble
  3. Touchdown
  4. All of the above

Play 4

Here’s another running back unable to handle Adams. Wendell Smallwood is caught by the left hand of Adams, which prevents Smallwood from getting a good enough grasp to stop Adams. The speed bump of a running back can’t prevent the sack.

Play 5

Just a tiny twitch of hesitation freezes Donald Penn and it’s all over.

Play 6

Bringing Adams up isn’t always a blitz, and that deception helps to create favorable situations. The deception is taken a notch higher on this play as Adams mirrors the receiver, which suggests that Adams is in man coverage. As we can see, he’s not.

Play 7

This is the half sack and shows yet another facet of Adams’s and the Jets’ game. The patience and discipline on display here are a credit to the coaching staff.


If Jamal Adams is playing that’s not great for Buffalo. All of the hits above are clean, but are also far more than love taps. Adams is an impact player the Bills will need to account for. It doesn’t help that Adams indicated that the Jets will be “hunting” the Buffalo Bills this weekend.

Adams’s aggressive nature is shared by defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. It’s a safe bet they will be looking to play a hard-fought game if for nothing else but to beat up the Bills before the playoffs. If Adams can’t go, look for other designed pass-rush opportunities. If you didn’t notice it before, take a look at the plays one more time. You’ll see a team that flows well together. Several sacks resulted from gap discipline and total team efforts.

Gregg Williams may be kind of an ***hole. But he’ll have that defense ready to go.