RENTON, Wash. — Beginning the second quarter of the Seattle Seahawks’ season-opening victory Monday night, Jamal Adams shot through the line of scrimmage on an unobstructed path for Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson. With Adams glued to his feet and about to drop him for a sack, Wilson threw a dump-off that was batted for an imperfection.
This is what 2022 should have looked like for the former All-Pro safety – the Seahawks’ new defense eventually reignites the healthy Adams as the blatant threat he used to be.
“I’m back in my element, man,” Adams said days before the opener about how the change in Seattle’s plan put him in a position to make plays. “I feel like I’m back in the defense game.”
But instead of foreshadowing Adams’ bounce-back season, the drama probably ended it. Following his near takedown from Wilson, Adams was taken off the field and later taken to the locker room with an injury to his left quadriceps tendon, which he is expected to sideline for the rest of 2022.
It’s a huge loss for a Seahawks team that relies on its defense and run games, both of which must be at full strength to cover their boundaries at quarterbacks. And it’s another devastating blow for Adams, who was rarely injured early in his career but has now suffered a major injury in three straight years. After missing only two games in his first three seasons with the New York Jets, Adams – assuming he is out for the rest of 2022 – will miss 25 of a possible 50 regular-season games over three years with Seattle .
• Bears Gordon thrives on center stage
• Adams injury big blow for Seattle
• Ravens Dobbins is elusive about the situation
• Is the hot seat appropriate for Cowboy McCarthy?
• RB’s key to unlocking Packers’ young WR
• Kupp, the bond between the Falcons’ assistant
• Have the Colts started kicking yet?
• How the Broncos plan to use RB Williams
“It means a lot to him and the frustration of not being healthy has struck him again,” coach Pete Carroll said earlier this week. “He’s questioning and thinking and all that because he wants to be out here a lot, he wants to be with people and in every way we do what we do. So it’s really frustrating for him. Is.”
Clearly, the Seahawks haven’t gotten enough of a return to match the package of picks they get from Adams (two first-rounders and then some) and the massive contract (a four-year, $70 million) to keep him. The extension made him the NFL’s highest-paid security).
But Adams looked worthy of those investments during his first season at Seattle in 2020, when he set the NFL record for defensive back with 9.5 sacks in 12 games (he missed four with a torn left shoulder labrum). The belief in the organization is that Adams’ disappointing follow-up in 2021 – when he was held without a sack in 12 games before suffering another tear in his left labrum – was largely the result of offenses seeking extra attention. , Seattle’s defensive staff couldn’t figure out how to put him back in advantageous blitzing positions, leaving fewer passes opportunities and more time spent in coverage.
Seattle’s new defense was expected to address that problem. Under first-year coordinator Clint Hurt, the Seahawks have transitioned to a more hybrid front, with a greater emphasis on the 3-4 look. On the back end, they are using more split safety alignments designed to make Adams and Quandre Diggs more interchangeable than a typical strong and free safety. The idea is to make it harder for the quarterback to determine which defenders are going where.
“He caught like 10 picks in training camp,” said receiver DK Metcalf. “I know people aren’t used to him doing it, but I know I’ve seen it. And he’s very capable of catching picks. He’s blitzing from the sidelines, playing the blitzing linebacker position in the middle. He was just over the field at training camp and I was excited for him to do that and play the role this season. It kind of got derailed, but I think he’s going to come back.”
Adams’ sack had the desired illusion in action. Linebacker Jordan Brooks hovered over the A gap before the snap, showing a blitz, but then fell into coverage, as did outside linebacker Darrell Taylor. Adams, who headed to the line of scrimmage pre-snap, was left untouched by the B gap.
“he got hurt [running] Free at quarterback,” said Carroll. “So he’ll tell you something. So he got a shot with a straight bat.”
With Adams out, the Seahawks will likely turn to Josh Jones to start with Diggs. They also have Ryan Neale, who has returned from his ankle injury, and recently added Tej Tabor for safety depth. Jones, a 2017 second-round pick, finished 2021 with the Seahawks and considered retirement this off-season before a call from Carroll to recall him. He was part of Seattle’s three-safety package, then took over when Adams went down.
Of Adams, Hurt said, “It hurts because that guy is a great football player.” “… So it’s a shot. We don’t have many people who are like that. But like I said, we have so much confidence in Josh and Ryan and their ability. … It sucks. I hate it It’s for Jamal. But at the same time, for these guys, they get to take advantage of their opportunity and they’ve shown they can do it.”
The Seahawks are losing more than their best blitzers in Adams. They are also missing an emotional leader. This was another reason why they were attracted to her in 2020, believing that they needed to set some fire in their locker room. They tended to favor players with easygoing personalities, they were tired of the drama they had to manage since the days of the Legion of Boom. That change meant fewer headaches to deal with, but it left his locker room less of an edge.
With Adams, he’s gotten some of it back.
His contract likely links him to the Seahawks during at least the 2023 season, as it will cost a prohibitive amount of dead money before he moves on. So Adams should get another chance next season for his bounce-back, as long as he can shake the injury bug that has hit him hard.
“I know seeing him down and hurting him really hurt us as a team because to be the kind of person who has struggled with injuries in the past and to come back for another injury. ‘You really have to pray for him and hope he’s in good mental overall,'” Metcalf said. “But like I told him, man, he has big plans for this season. He’s going to overcome it like he’s outdone everything else in the past and he’s going to be a stronger person.”