How are former New York Jets mainstays such as Jamal Adams, Robby Anderson, Brian Winters, and Brandon Shell doing with their new teams?
After four years with the Jets in which he was consistent and durable but could never quite maintain his peaks for extended stretches, Anderson is putting it all together in Carolina. The undrafted success story from Temple is ranked sixth in the NFL in receptions (28) and receiving yards (377). It’s the best four-game stretch of his career in both statistics.
Anderson is ranked sixth in those categories despite running a route on just the 24th-most snaps (132) among wide receivers. His average of 2.86 yards per route run is second-best among all qualified wide receivers, trailing only Vikings rookie Justin Jefferson (3.70).
The most impressive thing about Anderson’s hot start is that very little of his production has come down the field. Long considered by some to be a one-trick pony, only two of Anderson’s 28 receptions this year have come 20-plus yards downfield. Seven of his grabs have come from 10-to-19 yards downfield, 16 have come in the 0-to-9 range, and three have come behind the line of scrimmage.
Shell has started for Seattle at right tackle in all four games. Most numbers suggest he has been mediocre. His overall Pro Football Focus grade of 63.1 ranks at the 28th percentile among qualified tackles. He has been credited with yielding eight pressures over 150 protection snaps, a rate of 5.3% that ranks at the 39th percentile. On 26 running back carries directed through the right side B-gap or C-gap (either side of the right tackle), Seattle has averaged only 3.0 yards per carry.
Winters began the season as a reserve for Buffalo, but started at right guard over the last two games, replacing left guard Quinton Spain (not injury-related). Cody Ford moved from right guard to left guard to replace Spain, while Winters took Ford’s spot. In Buffalo’s recent win over Las Vegas, Winters left early with a knee injury and is now considered day-to-day. Spain took his spot at right guard when we went out.
With five pressures allowed over 72 snaps in protection, Winters has yielded a pressure rate of 6.9% that ranks at the 20th percentile among qualified guards. His overall PFF grade of 46.9 ranks at the 6th percentile.
Beachum has started all four games at right tackle for Arizona, his first starts on the right side since his 2012 rookie season in Pittsburgh. He has allowed 10 pressures over 165 snaps in protection for a rate of 6.0% that ranks at the 50th percentile among qualified tackles. His overall PFF grade of 65.5 is a bit worse, down at the 39th percentile.
Roberts has manned the slot cornerback role for Detroit, logging 161 defensive snaps over all four games this season. Across 96 snaps in coverage, he has allowed 8-of-16 passing in his direction for 119 yards (7.4 per target), two touchdowns, and one interception. His average of 1.24 yards allowed per cover snap ranks at the 45th percentile among qualified cornerbacks. He also has three penalties (2 holding, 1 pass interference).
After a tumultuous one season in New York that featured plenty of drama and only three so-so starts, Osemele has found a home as Kansas City’s left guard, where he has started all four games this season. He has done a great job in pass protection, allowing only four pressures over 169 protection snaps for a rate of 2.4% that ranks way up at the 84th percentile among qualified guards.
However, Osemele is tied for the position lead with four penalties.
The Chiefs have averaged an impressive 5.3 yards per carry on attempts directed through the left side A-gap or B-gap, but only 1.2 of those yards have come before contact.
Osemele’s overall PFF grade of 60.6 ranks at the 49th percentile among qualified guards.
Adams has played 203 snaps over three games for the Seahawks this season. He left the team’s third game (vs. Dallas) with a groin injury, missed the following game in Miami, and seems unlikely to play this week against Minnesota.
For the most part, Adams has been the same dominant force.
Even with the missed time, Adams leads safeties with nine pressures, three more than any other player at the position. His average of 3.0 per game would break his own record for the most among safeties. If he gets it done, it would be the second consecutive year he has done that. Adams set a new positional record with 18 total pressures and 1.1 per game in 2018 before breaking it again with 23 and 1.6 per game in 2019.
Adams has recorded four stops against the run over just 57 run defense snaps, a run stop rate of 7.0% that ranks fourth-best among safeties. His PFF run defense grade of 85.3 is currently ranked #1 at the position.
The massive impact of Adams’ run defense was evident in Seattle’s game without him against the Dolphins in Week 4. From Weeks 1-3, the Seahawks ranked third-best in the NFL with only 3.0 yards per carry allowed, giving up an average under 3.5 in each game. In Week 4, the Dolphins – who entered the game ranked 25th with 3.8 yards per carry – posted an average of 4.7 against the Adams-less Seahawks, Miami’s best of the season to date.
Adams’ coverage has been a mixed bag. In a nationally-televised Week 2 clash against the Patriots, Adams had the worst coverage performance of his career, allowing 6-of-8 passing in his direction for 127 yards, one touchdown, and five first downs. The two incomplete passes were dropped by the intended receivers.
That led many observers to claim that Adams is not good in coverage, but that is completely false. The Patriots game was a massive outlier. His 2019 season-high for yards allowed was 27.
As bad as Adams was with all eyes on him that night, it does not change the fact that he has been one of the league’s best safeties in coverage since 2018. He showed just that in his other two games this season, allowing only 10 yards and one first down in his direction over 73 coverage snaps in Weeks 1 and 3. One game does not alter the body of work he has been building for two-plus years.
It is worth keeping an eye on whether Adams has any more games in which he is exposed in coverage as badly as he was against New England. However, until he has another game like that, Adams should be considered nothing else but a game-changing safety who thrives in every facet – including coverage.
Ask Gregg Williams whether he misses Adams in coverage. In 2019, the Jets allowed the second-fewest touchdowns (3) to tight ends – Adams wasn’t even the culprit on any of them. The Jets have already allowed three touchdowns to tight ends here in 2020. Those touchdowns were allowed to Jordan Reed (2) and Mo Alie-Cox (1), who combined for two touchdowns over 29 games in their most recent season prior to 2020 (Reed’s 2018, Alie-Cox’s 2019) and have combined for one touchdown in their five non-Jets games this season.
In fact, of the mere three touchdowns that Adams was credited with allowing over 1,128 coverage snaps from 2018-19, none of them were to tight ends (all three to wide receivers), even though Adams manned up against tight ends on a large portion of those reps. Marcus Maye just allowed two touchdowns to Reed in one game back in Week 2 – Reed had one touchdown in his previous 13 games.
Adams is an outstanding player, and the Jets defense misses him badly. We can keep an eye on whether his New England debacle is a sign of things to come, and if it is, his value will certainly take a big hit, but until then, he is the game’s best safety without much of a debate.
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