“An AFC secondary coach called him a ‘culture changer’ based on the way that he holds his teammates accountable for their preparation and performance,” NFL.com draft analyst Bucky Brooks said about Jamal Adams in 2017. “The coach went on to tell me that Adams has the ‘it factor’ that every coach covets in a leader and top player.”
“With LSU’s coaches also touting Adams as one of the best leaders to ever come through the program, I’m willing to bet on his intangibles pushing him toward greatness.”
Since before he came into the league, Jamal Adams was thought of not only as a potentially Hall of Fame-level player but as a rare leader. His first three seasons in the NFL did little to dispel those ideas, as Adams established himself as an All-Pro safety and a tone-setter. However, during Adams’ time with the Jets, you could also sense the frustration coming from a player who knows the right way to do things toward a franchise that has been doing things the wrong way for decades.
In that sense, Adams and the Seahawks were the perfect match between a player who is desperate to lead a special group and a franchise with a long-established and uniquely positive culture.
When they made the trade to acquire Adams, Seattle knew they weren’t just trading for an elite talent on the field, but someone who would help to shape and guide the culture of the building off of it. No doubt that played a part in Pete Carroll’s infatuation with the player. Adams’ energy has already been infectious; his absurd talent impactful.
After the Seahawks’ new safety was forced out of their Week 3 win over the Cowboys, it was his ‘it factor’ as a leader on full display. Clearly in discomfort due to injury and frustrated due to the defense’s performance, Adams could have sat dejected on the bench. Instead, he prowled the sideline with a level of intensity that matched those actually on the field, still in combat.
Adams was shouting, gesturing, clapping, basically doing everything he possibly could without actually being on the field. That, evidently, included coaching.
After the win, fourth quarter hero Ryan Neal, who made the game-sealing interception after being elevated from the practice squad on Saturday, told reporters Adams continued to relay advice to him from the sideline, including before the biggest play of the game: “I tip my hat off to a man like that, because a lot of people in that situation would go in a hole, but he didn’t. He stayed there and he was there for me.”
Despite being forced out of the game, Adams managed to have a positive impact and help guide the Seahawks to victory, with Neal getting a heroic moment as a result.
Through two-and-a-half games, Adams has been everything Seattle wanted and expected at safety. During the second half on Sunday, when Adams wasn’t able to be that for his team, he proved to be the difference-maker they expected him to be off of the field.
Whether he is playing or simply being a supportive teammate, Adams is unwavering in his push for greatness.