If Jamal Adams is going to live up to his Pro Bowl promise, he’s going to have to find a way to stop the league’s elite players.
The rookie Jets safety hasn’t quite figured that out yet, with pass coverage still a weakness for Adams heading into the Jets’ season finale with the Patriots.
In their first meeting this season, Adams was tasked with stopping Rob Gronkowski, who promptly torched him for 83 yards with a pair of touchdown receptions in Week 6. The Jets safety will likely receive the same assignment Sunday.
“You find out where you are,” Adams said following his tough day against Gronkowski earlier this season. “Everybody’s going to say what they want about me, which they can. That’s fine. I’ll learn from it and I’ll build from it. I’ll learn from the mistakes.”
Of course, Gronkowski is one of the best in the business. He’s a huge force with great hands and a knack for the big play, as Bill Belichick told reporters Tuesday.
“Rob gets to a lot of balls, and he catches a lot of balls and he makes a lot of tough catches,” Belichick said of his tight end. “He makes some remarkable catches on the practice field as well as in game situations. He does a pretty good job on all that.”
And that’s all true. Adams, among others around the league, got beat by a great player, something that happens to even the best.
But the safety’s problems continued Sunday against Antonio Gates. A future Hall-of-Famer, Gates reeled in six catches for 81 yards, including a touchdown.
Perhaps more concerning this season have been Adams’ missed opportunities. His biggest blown chance on Sunday came on a low throw from Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, which bounced off the rookie’s hands and onto the turf.
It’s an all-too-common theme for Adams: He’s put himself in position to make big plays in big moments, only to come away empty. But for now, the safety is focused on coming up with those types of plays in the future.
“I’m not scratching my head man, I’m a rookie,” he said Sunday. “I make plays and I make mistakes and I get it. I’m always going to make mistakes playing this game of football. If it comes, it comes, and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t.
“I can get criticized for my ball skills and that’s fine. I think my ball skills are great, to be honest with you. I dropped the one, but it is what it is. Again, it’s not about me or interceptions. It’s about this team finishing ball games and getting wins, laying that foundation and building for next year. That’s what it is about and it will never be about me or interceptions. You can write about it, but that’s my least concern.”
Still, in a promising rookie campaign that could’ve been even more, Adams has a chance to finish on high note. He has a chance at revenge against Gronkowski and the Patriots. Now is his opportunity to show what he’s learned — and that his mistakes this year weren’t all for naught.
After being released by the Steelers on Saturday, James Harrison will be suiting up for the Patriots.
The longtime Steelers linebacker posted on Instagram that he had joined Tom Brady in New England.
The 39-year-old has seen just 40 snaps this year, recording one sack.
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