Jamal Adams is a ball of energy, excitement and confidence. His passion is contagious. He isn’t shy about letting us know that greatness awaits sooner than you think.
Six months after the Jets safety tweeted that he will never miss another Pro Bowl, the second-year starter looks at you as if you had two heads when asked why he’d make such a bold public proclamation that could wind up on @OldTakesExposed.
Why put it out there at all?
“Why not? Do you believe in yourself? I believe in me,” Adams told the Daily News this week. “I just say, ‘Why not?’ If you set your goals and mind to something, you go get it. Go get it if you’re motivated and you’re confident in yourself.”
Confidence is always high with Adams, who hit the ground running after the Jets invested the No. 6 overall pick in him last year. He has made his presence felt from jump street, a natural leader and pretty damn good young player whose ceiling touches the clouds.
But was it necessary to fire off this tweet last December after he was a third alternate for the Pro Bowl? “I won’t miss another Pro Bowl. Believe that.” Surely, he doesn’t need that kind of self-induced pressure, right?
“No pressure, no diamonds,” said Adams, channeling his inner Robert Griffin III. “Man, you get pressure in New York. Period. So, why not say that?”
Adams has the skill set to make it happen. Todd Bowles and defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers moved him around everywhere in their scheme. He finished with 83 tackles, six pass deflections and two sacks. Most impressively, he missed only 15 out of the 1,116 snaps. In other words, the coaches trusted him.
Adams was tied with Miami’s Reshad Jones for most run stops among safeties (26), according to Pro Football Focus. He led all safeties with run tackles for gains of five or fewer yards (28).
Adams takes pride studying Earl Thomas’ adeptness in the middle of the field, Tyrann Mathieu and former greats Troy Polamalu, Ed Reed, Brian Dawkins and Sean Taylor.
“I try to steal bits and pieces of their games to add to mine,” Adams said. “But at the end of the day, I got to go out there and execute.”
He’ll have to improve his eye discipline in pass coverage to take the next step in his development. Looking at the wrong spots and/or wandering eyes got him in trouble last season. He’s still looking for his first career interception.
“It’s very rare that people just beat me just based off talent,” Adams said on his coverage skills. “It’s more what I did to myself to put myself in a bad position. I got to be more disciplined with my eyes. It’s tougher than it seems. But you just got to be more disciplined in your craft, be a technician and continue to get better each and every day.”
Adams has the talent to become an annual difference-maker, but will there come a time in the near future when he’s regarded as the league’s best safety?
“If I do the little things the right way…” Adams said. “I can’t predict the future. I can’t. But with my confidence level and how I believe in my abilities, I feel like I can be in that talk, be in that race for that label.
“But I’m not focused on those things in the future. I’m focused on now and what I can do to help this team get better and what we can do to win games. That’s it. As far as all those other things — the individual play — let the chips fall where they fall. I just got to go out there and do my job.”
If he does his job, will the 2018 Jets be legitimate playoff contenders?
“What do you think?” Adams said. “I believe in this team. I’m going to always believe in this team. It doesn’t matter who’s at quarterback. We’re going to be fine. Whoever’s going to be picked at quarterback is going to do a hell of a job. So, we’re excited for it. It’s going to be a great year for us.”