Is Seahawks safety Adams really better than Thomas and Chancellor?
Aug 14, 2020, 9:38 AM
In a recent ESPN.com article by Brady Henderson, it was reported that there is a feeling at the Seahawks’ practice facility that prized offseason acquisition Jamal Adams, a two-time All-Pro safety, is a better player than Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor, the two safeties who helped bring the legendary Legion of Boom secondary to the forefront of the NFL and gave Seattle its first Super Bowl title.
That’s remarkable praise for a player who has yet to play a down with the Seahawks, especially since most believe Thomas is a future Hall of Famer and that Chancellor may have joined him if not for a career-ending neck injury.
But is Adams really a better player than the two Legion of Boom safeties ever were – or still are in Thomas’ case? Former NFL receiver Michael Bumpus tackled the question with 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant on Wednesday.
“(Thomas and Chancellor) did something in this town that no one’s ever done before and were kind of big components in changing the culture,” Bumpus said. “But when you look at the stats and you compare them side to side, Jamal Adams is a better football player.”
Adams is entering just his fourth NFL season and has earned First- and Second-Team All-Pro honors the last two seasons as well as two Pro Bowl nods. He entered the league as the No. 6 pick in the draft out of LSU by the New York Jets. It’s an already impressive resume, but how exactly is Adams a better player?
“He has more hits on the quarterback, more sacks, just about the same amount of interceptions, he has 28 tackles for loss and those guys don’t have tackles for losses,” Bumpus said. “And then you’ve got to look at how Jamal Adams has been used and how Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor have been used.”
Adams is seen as a box safety since he plays close to or on the line of scrimmage. He’s a fixture in opposing backfields, as evidenced by his 6.5 sacks, 13 QB hits and 10 tackles for loss in 2019.
“I would say when it comes to tackling, when it comes to blitzing, when it comes to playing inside the box, Jamal Adams is the better player,” Bumpus said.
But “out in space,” Thomas gets the nod.
“There’s no one other than I would say (Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed) over the last 10 years who covers space like Earl Thomas does when that ball is in the air,” Bumpus said. “Jamal’s better in the box, I would say Earl is better in space, and Kam is just a mix of both. Because if they wanted to, they could have put Kam in the box like they do with Jamal Adams. They could have sent him after the quarterback constantly and getting these sacks and getting these hits and tackles for loss, but that’s just not what they did. For what Jamal Adams was asked to do, he is the better player.”
Getting the mojo back
The Seahawks were one of the worst defenses in the NFL in 2019 and the hope is a player of Adams’ caliber will be able to right the ship. One area that many hope Adams can help in is with mentality.
“There’s something about playing with a guy who plays at the level and intensity that Jamal Adams does,” Bumpus said. “It just rubs off on you whether it’s offense, defense or even special teams. If you’ve got a guy flying down and smacking dudes, it elevates everyone’s play.”
Bumpus added that if other players around Adams don’t get better or feed off that energy he brings, “there’s something going on with their personalities.”
“There’s no way as a professional that you’re going to line up with a man standing next to you and have him be balling, playing with intensity and you’re just going to stay the same,” he said. “When you add talent, guys around you get better. That’s what I expect to happen here.”
But to let Adams help others play better, the Seahawks coaching staff needs to do something important, Bumpus said.
“They’ve got to let Jamal be Jamal, though,” he said. “You can’t bottle him up or keep him on a leash, you’ve got to let this young man go and let him play and let him be special. If they do that, I see this defense getting better, I see everyone around there getting better.”
Listen to the full conversation and much more at this link or in the player below.