Jamal Adams
Jet X Graphic, Getty Images, AP Photo

New York Jets strong safety Jamal Adams is one of the better cover defensive backs at his position in the league and the film proves it.

His rookie season wasn’t flat-out dominant. Though Jamal Adams showcased flashes, 2017 remains his only Pro Bowl-less season.

The LSU product finished with a 68.5 overall grade (49th) while struggling in coverage, via PFF. He allowed six touchdowns and a 130.2 passing rating over the course of the season.

Although his run support, tackling and overall box play still resembled star status a year later, his coverage game was raised incredibly. Suddenly, he was locking up Rob Gronkowski in Y-iso situations.

It’s OK to say the worst part of Adam’s game is his coverage; it’s not OK to say he’s a subpar coverage strong safety. He may just be the best in the NFL. (It’s at least arguable.)

Whatever is asked of him, he delivers. Whether it’s a deep-half look, deep-third situation, man-to-man, single-high, robber or flat, the New York Jets best player is one sick coverage strong safety.

Sabo’s Sessions breaks down 12 Jamal Adams pass coverage plays with the full video at the very bottom. Only Jet X Subscribers can view all 12 plays and the full video. 


The first example features Adams in a deep-half look. Think about the strong safety position over the years. While Victor Green, for example, was a tackling machine, he was also a liability in pass coverage, especially when playing two-deep.

Here, against the Miami Dolphins, he breaks on the corner route with no wasted movement and complete fluidity.

Notice his slow backpedal. Understanding there’s no receiver wide of the tight end allows him to feel comfortable underneath with the flat cornerback getting depth.

Next, we get into Adams’s mind. To reach NFL greatness, instincts and smarts are essential. Every NFL player is a stud athlete. To reach the level of an Adams takes intangibles such as work ethic and football IQ.

Notice Adams’s play recognition here.

He must have keyed in on either Will Hernandez or the left tackle. Notice Hernandez’s stance, which is extremely light on his hands. Adams is terrific when diagnosing plays for a myriad of reasons.

Back to the deep-half, and here against the Dallas Cowboys, Adams breaks on the ball so quickly it actually hurts him in the end. The official had no choice but to call pass interference due to the mere visual that was Adams meeting Jason Witten way prior to the ball arriving.

Look at Dak Prescott the moment Adams breaks out of his backpedal. Witten’s step to the inside is the only thing stopping Adams from playing the inside shoulder, picking the ball off and returning it for six.


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Robby Sabo is a co-founder, developer and credentialed New York Jets content creator for Jets X-Factor | Jet X, which includes Sabo's Sessions (in-depth film breakdowns) and Sabo with the Jets. Host: Underdog Jets Podcast with Wayne Chrebet and Sabo Radio. Member: Pro Football Writers of America. Coach: Port Jervis (NY) High School. Washed up strong safety and 400M runner. Founder: Elite Sports NY - ESNY (sold in 2020). SEO: XLM Email: robby.sabo[at]jetsxfactor.com

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JetOrange
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JetOrange

LSU defensive backs know how to play defense. Excellent piece for n Jamal and Gregg Williams Defensive Coverages.

JetOrange
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JetOrange

Second year of this Defense