Jamal Adams now out for the season; Ryan Neal can be great though

Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /

Per a tweet from NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, Seattle Seahawks safety Jamal Adams tore his labrum and will need season-ending surgery. Ryan Neal should replace Adams. And now we can ironically all breathe a sigh of relief that defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr. never used Jamal Adams the way he should have this season.

Adams tore his labrum and suffered additional significant shoulder damage in Week13’s victory over the San Francisco 49ers. Unfortunately, this is the same shoulder he injured in 2020 but he is expected to make a full recovery for next year.

I know Seattle’s coaching staff has argued that there have been many times where Adams was supposed to blitz but didn’t because the offensive alignment wasn’t good for him to do so. But this is kind of bogus because Adams was blitz less anyway. A huge part of Adams’ productivity in 2020 was his ability to chase down quarterbacks. He had 9.5 sacks last year.

Jamal Adams out for the season with a shoulder injury

This year? Zero sacks and just 2 quarterback hits. He also has just 4 tackles for loss compared to 11 in 2020 in the same number of games – 12 – for Adams. Adams doesn’t have lesser ability than last year but the way he is used is different. This means more help in the run game and in coverage.

Thankfully, Ryan Neal is fairly comparable to Jamal Adams as far as straight-up play. According to Pro Football Focus, Neal actually grades better than Jamal Adams this year overall (62.9 for Neal and 60.1 for Adams), grades better in run defense (78.7 to 77.3), grades better in coverage (55.2 to 47.4) and isn’t much worse in pass rush (78.2 for Adams and 74.6 for Neal).

I am not saying that Neal has the upside of Adams, he doesn’t. Jamal Adams has the ability to change the outcomes of games consistently. But the Seahawks haven’t really asked him to do that much this year and that might accidentally be a good thing because putting Neal in Adams spot doesn’t fundamentally change the defense.

Next. 5 defensive-minded coaches who could replace Pete Carroll. dark

Plus, another good thing is hopefully we have wholesale changes on the coaching staff this offseason and when Adams does return in 2022 he will be playing under a different defensive coordinator and one who knows how to use Adams best. So while Adams is out for the rest of this season, he will probably be better in 2022 anyway.