Rost on Seahawks: What’s a fair expectation for Jamal Adams’ return?

Sep 28, 2023, 10:11 AM

Seattle Seahawks Jamal Adams...

Seahawks safety Jamal Adams was a second-team All-Pro in his first year in Seattle. (Getty)


For the first time in more than a year, Jamal Adams will play a game for the Seattle Seahawks.

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His return couldn’t come at a better time. In theory, at least.

The Seahawks badly need defensive help. They’ve made enough big, timely plays to help the team to a 2-1 start — aided also by an offense averaging nearly 30 points per game — but are being carved up by opposing offenses. Their 328 passing yards allowed per game is the second-most in the league, and their 29.3 points allowed is better only than the Giants, Bears and Broncos.

So yes, Adams can help. But what’s a fair expectation for his first game back in such a long time?

Adams was once considered one of the best safeties in the league, is a former First-Team All-Pro, and commands one of Seattle’s top salaries. The answer in any other situation would be “that he play like one of the best defensive players on the field.” And that potential is certainly there, despite rising doubt from fans and critics concerned about his lack of playing time.

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Is the bar an interception? A sack? Getting through the game healthy? Bringing energy and fire?

The answer to what you want to see from Adams also depends on what you see as his greatest strength. You’d love to see interceptions and passes defensed from any defensive backs, but Adams’ best play is in the box, and it’s probably where he’ll be in three-safety sets.

It’s where he’ll find the greatest opportunity against the Giants. Like Seattle, New York has been dealing with injuries to starters up front. Unlike Seattle, they haven’t been able to overcome those through their first three games.

According to Pro Football Focus, quarterback Daniel Jones has been under pressure on 46.7% of his dropbacks (league worst) and the Giants have allowed the most pressures (27) in under two seconds.

They’ve had four different iterations of the O-line in as many games, so that kind of struggle isn’t overly shocking. But it’s certainly promising for a defensive back in Adams who recorded a team-high 9.5 sacks in 2020.

How will Seattle use him?

“They haven’t had a personnel package out there yet that we knew we wanted to see,” Michael Bumpus said during Tuesday’s Bump and Stacy show. “And that’s the Julian Love-Quandre Diggs-Jamal Adams look. When those guys come out there, I assume Jamal wants to be in the box a bit more, particularly if you’re playing a team that likes to run the football, which the Giants do. But I’m giving him 40-50% of the snaps, maybe 25-30 snaps, to see how he feels.”

Adams doesn’t have to leave an impact only with his play.

“I was on the Seahawks pregame show talking to one of our co-hosts,” Bumpus said, “and he said, ‘Look, we had a veteran back who was late into his career. Everyone knew that he’d lost a step, but just him being out there brought up everyone else’s level of play.’ I think that’s going to be the main factor with Adams (this week). These young guys are going to look and say ‘that’s Jamal Adams, we’re good to go. He’s going to put us in position, he’s going to be in the right spot.’ I think that does a lot for a team’s mental.”

More on the Seattle Seahawks

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• Lefko: The unexpected boost to Seahawks’ path to NFC contender
• Seahawks Beat Panthers: What sticks with us the day after
• Seattle Seahawks Win: Carroll on what’s good, what still needs work

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