Heaps: Jamal Adams lacks ‘feel’ in coverage, Seahawks not using him right

Oct 10, 2021, 9:45 AM
Seahawks Jamal Adams...
Seahawks SS Jamal Adams walks off the field after losing to the Los Angeles Rams 26-17 at Lumen Field. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Among the many disappointing aspects of the Seahawks’ defense to kick off the 2021 season, the lackluster play of safety Jamal Adams is at or near the top of the list.

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Last year, the Seahawks traded two first-round picks, a third-round pick and safety Bradley McDougald for Adams and a fourth-round pick. He responded by setting an NFL record for sacks by a defensive back with 9.5 in just 12 games on his way to second-team All-Pro honors. And after the season, the Seahawks gave Adams a long-term deal making him the highest-paid safety in NFL history.

But this season, the explosive plays we saw regularly from Adam are nowhere to be found.

In five games in 2021, Adams has 26 tackles, two tackles for loss and a pass breakup. He also hasn’t recorded a sack or a quarterback hit through five games.

So why has Adams started 2021 on such a down note for the Seahawks? Former NFL quarterback Jake Heaps shared his thoughts on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy on Friday.

“What’s been disappointing is that he is not taking that step forward in coverage that everybody was anticipating,” Heaps said.

For all the great things Adams did on the field for Seattle last year, pass coverage was an area he did not excel at. That’s proving to be the case once again in 2021, Heaps said.

“Jamal Adams is extremely talented. He is athletic. It is not that he’s stiff, it’s not that he doesn’t have good hips or that he doesn’t have the speed,” Heaps said. “He’s got all those things. But the feel, it’s really what it comes down to.”

One play in particular stands out to Heaps, and that was DeSean Jackson’s long catch that set up the Los Angeles Rams’ first touchdown in Week 5 and gave them a lead over the Seahawks they wouldn’t surrender.

‘That post route that he got beat by DeSean Jackson, Stacy, you ask how does that happen? He doesn’t have feel,” Heaps said. “He doesn’t have feel for how to be in phase with the receiver and also be able to find and track the football and make a play on it.”

Adams isn’t totally at fault, Heaps said. He thinks the Seahawks aren’t playing to the fifth-year safety’s strengths.

“It’s been shown time and time again that he is a player that can, if he’s moving forward and he’s reacting forward, he does much better,” Heaps said. “And what’s disappointing to me is that regardless of the coverage situations, what does he do so incredibly well? Playing at the line of scrimmage. And to me there has not been enough of that by the defense by Ken Norton Jr., by Pete Carroll to try and get him going in that regard. Have him be a factor as a sack artist, have him be a factor at the line of scrimmage and tackles for loss.”

By allowing Adams to wreak havoc near the line of scrimmage, it makes his play in coverage easier to swallow, Heaps said.

“To me, last year the production that he got, it excuses any cover issues that you have because he’s making big plays for you in those other two phases and right now he’s not making any of those plays,” he said. “And a big part of that is the role that they want him to have on defense.”

Listen to the audio at this link or in the player below.

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