RENTON — He has been the most scrutinized player on the NFL’s most dreadful defense.
Jamal Adams? The NFL’s highest-paid safety? He doesn’t care what you or anyone else has to say about his play. He says his confidence in himself, and in this Seahawks defense, hasn’t been shaken by the team’s unsettling start to the season.
“I can do it all, man,” Adams said Thursday. “You know what I mean? That’s just the confidence I have. All I can do is come to work each and every day and put my best effort out there, on and off the field, in the classroom, and just handling my business as a pro. Because that’s what I am — I’m a pro.”
Adams, 26, has been the subject of much debate on local sports radio, and on Seahawks Twitter, during the team’s 2-4 start. The Seahawks’ defense ranks dead last in the NFL in yards allowed (433.2) entering what amounts to a must-win game Monday night against the New Orleans Saints (3-2) at Lumen Field.
Adams was trending on Twitter after his high-pitched “best in the nation” comment aired during NBC’s player introduction at the beginning of the Seahawks’ Sunday night game in Pittsburgh. Turns out, that was a tribute to a decade-old clip of a Florida high school running back named Trabis Ward, who went on to play at Tennessee State. Ward was shot and killed in Florida last year.
“It was a viral video that’s been around for a long time … and I gave him some love. Rest and peace to him,” Adams said Thursday.
The discussion, and the debate, continued on social media late in the game when Adams missed what could have been his first interception of his Seahawks career, the pass from Ben Roethlisberger bouncing squarely off Adams’ face mask. Adams never saw the ball as he drove to make a play on the intended receiver.
That came a week after Adams made two grave mistakes in pass coverage during the Seahawks’ Thursday night defeat against the Los Angeles Rams.
Asked specifically about those three plays, Adams essentially shrugged them off Thursday.
“It didn’t happen. Got another opportunity (this weekend),” he said.
Adams did get more opportunities against the Steelers to rush the passer, something coaches have not asked him to do much this season. In 2020, Adams’ 9.5 sacks set a record for an NFL defensive back, and overall he blitzed on 13.2% of defensive snaps last year, according to Pro Football Focus.
Through the first five games this season, he was blitzing just 5% of the time. He did rush the passer more against the Steelers — eight times — but he has yet to register a sack or even a QB hit this season.
“I’m not really here to complain about the opportunities that I don’t have or that I don’t get from last year to this year,” he said. “I’ll be honest with you, I’m not here to prove anything to anybody. You know what I mean? I’m here to prove myself right. I’m grateful to continue to play this game at a high level. I don’t get caught up in the outside noise. I don’t get caught up on mistakes. Because at the end of day, we are human. We make mistakes.
“But, hey, the good thing is I got another opportunity to make up for it.”
Why, he was asked, hasn’t he been asked to blitz as much this season?
“I don’t know, man,” he said. “I can’t really answer that one. That’s a good question.”
Pete Carroll said he’s had ongoing conversations with Adams about how the strong safety fits into the team’s game plan each week. Adams has made it clear he believes he could be more effective if he’s blitzing more often.
“He’s a tightly-wound, high-strung guy,” the Seahawks coach said. “He wants things to happen and he wants to make it happen.”
Adams missed almost all of training-camp practices while “holding in” for the $70 million contract he signed Aug. 17, a record deal for an NFL safety. Carroll pointed to the missed time in camp as at least part of the reason for Adams’ slow start to the season.
“Jamal and I both know that slowed down the process,” Carroll said. “Because we just had to get him ready in two weeks (before the season opener). That was just a natural part of how that unfolded. We’re no longer in that mode. We’re in full mode. He’s ready to do whatever we can think of, and he’s excited to do it.”