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Special plays only New York Jets SS Jamal Adams can make | Sabo’s Sessions

Sabo's Sessions, Jamal Adams
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New York Jets strong safety Jamal Adams can make plays no other NFL player can make, and Sabo’s Sessions break it down.

Jamal Adams is the best safety in the NFL. Period. He’s also the best safety in New York Jets history. No matter your thoughts or feelings on the current situation between Adams and his employer, the man can flat-out do things on the field nobody else can.

That makes him the very definition of “special.”

Defending the Screen/Play Recognition

There is no strong safety who reads plays better than this guy in the league today. We detailed Adams’ ability to diagnose the play-action in our last breakdown. This time, we begin with his play against the screen.

In Orchard Park in 2018, Adams defends this screen to perfection.

What allows him to recognize it is his ability to read the guard (who stands straight up) while still getting out to his curl-flat responsibility in the Cover 3.

Notice how he handles being a bit out of position. Buffalo does a tremendous job in the execution, and despite only a four-man rush, the Jets defense is in a bit of trouble. With Avery Williamson coming from the inside, Adams must get low and maintain an outside-in position.

Nothing can get outside of him yet he needs to squeeze the play in and force it inside while taking the blocker on with his right shoulder. To punch the blocker and reassess the situation, only to finish like that is something no other safety in the NFL can do on a routine basis.

Sometimes, his recognition is all that’s needed. Here, against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 16, he snuffs out the Y screen before it even has a shot.

Take note of the way the tight end attempts to block the edge. His hands are on the outside—a no-no when blocking. Inside hands that are looking to control the breastplate are the key, and Adams realizes this and smells a phony all the way.

Hustle/Relentless Attitude

Let’s face it: everybody in the league has talent. Nobody who signs on with a team (for any period of time) is without talent. All of these guys can play. The players with the relentless attitude to do whatever it takes to stomp the opponent out are usually the ones who are met with superstardom.

Everybody also remembers the Marshawn Lynch chase down play on the goal line:

What’s special is the idea this wasn’t a one-time situation. What the man did to Leonard Fournette this past season is something only a maniac can accomplish:

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