What should we expect of Jamal Adams in year two with the Seattle Seahawks? Well perhaps defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr can confirm your priors.
After Tuesday’s training camp, Norton had his media session and addressed the Seahawks defense as a whole, but focused a bit on the All-Pro safety and indicated that we won’t see him blitz as often this season.
“He came into a new situation last year where he didn’t know a lot of the defense and had to learn it really fast,’’ Norton said (via Seattle Times). “We’ve had an offseason with him now, and he’s been able to learn all of the coverages at a slow pace because he hasn’t been out there. You’ll see more of a balanced guy, not just a blitzer. You’ll see a blitzer as well as a cover guy. He’s a guy who play both sides so he will certainly be more well-rounded.”
So if the offensive side of the ball is Pete Carroll talking about being more balanced without saying we need a 50-50 pass-run split, the defensive side is on one individual but should have greater implications for playcalls as a whole.
Last year Adams led Seattle in sacks with 9.5, an NFL record for defensive backs, but that’s not necessarily a good thing when your safety is your best pass rusher. This was often the case throughout 2020 but was eased a bit when Carlos Dunlap was acquired via trade.
There were some struggles for Adams in coverage, which can be partially attributed to the lack of a normal offseason in addition to missing game time due to injury. He’s not actually participated in training camp or any drills this offseason as the team works on his contract extension and he recovers from surgeries.
Pro Football Reference credited Adams with 98 blitzes in the regular season, the most of his career and a higher percentage than any of his seasons with the New York Jets. You can see just how vastly different Seattle’s splits were with him on and off the field.
More on Jamal Adams... On/Off Splits show his impact— Sports Info Solutions - Football (@football_sis) June 11, 2021
Seahawks Defense (with Adams | without)
43% | 53% - Positive Play% Allow.
36% | 18% - Blitz%
7% | 3% - Sack%
24% | 9% - Man Coverage
6.2 | 7.1 - Yards/Dropback
4.1 | 4.4 - Yards/Rush
It’s an interesting situation for the Seahawks because Adams is no doubt exceptional at getting after the quarterback, but the cornerback depth by default ought to discourage continuing to send Adams as extra pressure.
The hope for this year is that the Seahawks d-line becomes a strength again. Seattle already blitzed at an above-average rate last season, but the defensive line notably bringing back Carlos Dunlap, signing Kerry Hyder Jr, and Aldon Smith (whose future is still far from certain even with his battery trial pushed back) surely was with the intention of primarily generating pressure through the defensive line as we’ve grown accustomed to at the height of Seattle’s defensive success.
Hopefully Seattle’s plans create something resembling better defensive balance than we’ve seen over the past two years.