The Identity of the Jets: Jamal Adams

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With the sixth overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft, the New York Jets selected LSU’s Jamal Adams. Since that moment at the podium in Philadelphia, safety Jamal Adams hasn’t looked back. In just two years of play, Adams has become a fiery force in the New York secondary, and more importantly has changed the entire culture of the Jets

When Adams walked into the locker room in 2017, a losing culture plagued a New York Jets roster. After a 5-11 season under the helm of Coach Todd Bowles, the Jets were satisfied with defeat. They were comfortable with a loss, and didn’t expect anything more of themselves. Jamal Adams, the warrior, competitor, rookie out of LSU, was shocked and utterly disgusted by this existing culture. Adams was determined to change this.

He observed teammates not knowing the plays, not knowing their assignments, and not taking pride in their performance. His mindset and thought was simple, if I take “the dog mentality” to the Jets, it will spread to all my teammates and cure the Jets culture. With that signature energy and passion that Adams brings to the field, he began to see a shift. His energy, passion, and emotion rubbed off on his teammates.

The Greatest Showman

Today, it’s not unusual to see the man they call “The Prez” raving on social media: primarily talking smack and boasting about his place as “Head Honcho.” Adams is a force on the field and a force in the media, having quickly transformed himself into the face and voice of the New York Jets.

In his sophomore season, “The Prez” took his play to the next level. Adams in 2018, played all 16 games, sacking opposing quarterbacks 3.5 times, and forcing 3 fumbles, earning himself a trip to Orlando, and a spot in the Pro Bowl.

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If Jets fans didn’t appreciate Jamal Adams before the Pro Bowl, they sure did after. Adams had a Pro Bowl to remember: not just on the playing field. It’s important to still acknowledge that Adams tore up the real Pro Bowl game. He intercepted Adam Thielen on a flea flicker, and would go on to win the Pro Bowl Defensive MVP. However, the most important of his accomplishments occurred on the practice field. It’s not an overstatement to say all fans, except Patriots fans, despise the Patriots. Adams appealing to all fans, made a bone-crushing tackle on an unsuspecting Patriots mascot. Jamal Adams went viral.

Year Three and Beyond

It’s year three now. Adams is a hit around the league and a sensation for the Jets organization and fan base. But it’s finally time for business. The Jets front office has declared by firing Todd Bowles and spending tens of millions in free agency that it’s playoffs or bust. An attitude similar to Adams’ from day one.

The Jets haven’t made a playoff run since 2010, when they reached the AFC conference  championship for a second consecutive year. The culture and identity of that roster was set by another defensive star, Darrelle Revis. It’s arguable that no Jets star, other than Joe Namath, has represented the team like Revis. Other teams knew that they couldn’t throw it near number 24, and fans widely adopted the term “Revis Island.” 

Revis and the Jets defense in 2009 and 2010 were untouchable. With Revis locking up each teams primary wide-receiver and a stellar defense keeping opposing offenses at bay. Now in 2019, with Jamal Adams like Revis in the secondary, the Jets look to repeat similar success.

Jamal Adams is eager to assume the mantle as the face of the Jets franchise, something he hasn’t been shy about expressing. Adams’ confidence is beaming and his will to work for success is clear. He’s ready for the responsibility and believes he has all the traits of a born leader. 

However, the new question is if the Jets can stall a riptide pulling the NFL into offensive dominance. Jamal Adams represents the old in a league swaying towards this new football reality. Adams relies on contact, hard tackles, and unadulterated swagger, which in this era has become a rarity. Adams has the skill and power to be the face and star of a franchise that shows the league that defense still reigns supreme. But to do this, Adams and the Jets’ objective for 2019 is simple: win.

 

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