Jamal Adams has been a highly-scrutinized player this season. Fair or unfair, the microscope makes sense given the exuberant cost it took for the Seahawks to acquire him in a trade from the Jets.
Adams has been a stud as a pass rusher. His 5.5 sacks are a team-high despite missing a month due to a groin injury. He’s just one sack shy of matching his career high. But Adams’ play in pass coverage has been more turbulent. Adams has just one pass defended through six games, and his Pro Football Focus coverage grade has dipped a whopping 40 points, plummeting from 87.5 in 2019 to 44.5 in 2020.
That’s an inexplicable drop from a safety that spent the last two seasons as one of the best at his position defending the pass. It’s a storyline that has garnered lots of attention, especially since the Seahawks are on pace to give up more passing yards than any team in NFL history.
However, Adams shut down the notion that he has struggled in that area this year.
“I’ve had one bad play vs. Stefon Diggs versus the Bills, and I went from being one of the guys that can take away all the tight ends to all of a sudden can’t cover,” Adams said on Friday.
Adams, presumably, is speaking of this catch from Diggs. But this conversation started well before that Week 9 matchup, and there have been other points where he seemed to have trouble in coverage as well, notably against Julian Edelman in Week 2.
Either Adams has indeed regressed some (something that would make sense as he gets comfortable in a new defensive scheme) or the Seahawks coaching staff hasn’t put him in the right spots to maximize his skill set. The safety vehemently denied the former while potentially giving credence to the latter.
“To answer your question, brother, I’m fine,” Adams said. “I’m doing fine in coverage. I haven’t been in a lot of man situations, believe it or not. But things can change, and I’m looking forward to those things changing.”
It should be noted that Adams has blitzed more predominantly than ever before. He’s been a focal point of Seattle’s pass rush to a far greater degree than any other defensive back in football.
But it’ll be curious to examine what might “change” in the weeks to come. Maybe it is as simple as getting Adams in man coverage more regularly. None of this is to suggest Adams is broken or a bad player or overrated or any of that. It’s simply a situation worth asking about and monitoring, even with Adams’ confident statements to the contrary.