Sunday will be the first time Jamal Adams gets to join the Seahawks-49ers rivalry. It's also the first time that Kyle Shanahan will have to game plan for the star safety.
Adams missed the earlier meeting between the two teams back in Week 8, a game Seattle won, 37-27. Shanahan shared that Adams presents a unique challenge compared to other talented defensive players around the league.
“When you have a unique player like Jamal who is the best at what he does, it changes a lot of stuff,” Shanahan told NBC Sports Bay Area. “I don't think there's many players in this league that can affect what you have to do schematically, what the other 10 guys around him are doing like Jamal.”
Adams is having a tremendous year with 9.5 sacks despite missing a month due to a groin injury. He's also battled through a painful shoulder injury and currently has two broken fingers. That hasn't mitigated his ability to make plays on a regular basis rushing the passer, stopping the run and in coverage.
“He's a game changer,” Shanahan said, “one of the best guys in the league right now, and having him plus getting Shaq (Griffin) back with him, that's why they're playing so well.
“Those two guys make a huge difference. Wish they didn't have them, but I know why they went and got them because they’re some special players.”
Shanahan surely knows that both players will be looking for new contracts this offseason. Adams won't play a snap on his fifth-year option while Griffin is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent. That's not to suggest Shanahan was being disingenuous in his praise of both players, but it's probably fair to assume he hopes at least one of them isn't with the Seahawks next season.