Although the 2017 season for the New York Jets was subpar for most, one of the bright spots was the emergence of their rookie safeties; Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye.
Even though many fans weren’t as excited in the organization selecting back to back safeties in the first two rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft, the majority were silenced by the growth and maturity each player showed as the season progressed.
With Jamal Adams, the Jets have a safety that is impactful near the line of scrimmage and has the ability to drop back in coverage and defend opposing tight ends. On the flip side, Marcus Maye offers a disciplined last line of defense that has outstanding vision and instincts to clean up blown coverages from his fellow defensive teammates. The combination of the two has the makings of becoming one of the top safety tandems in the league.
How can they improve on the New York Jets’ defense?
Last fall, Adams and Maye became the first rookie safety tandem to start Week 1 since the AFL/NFL merger in 1970. As expected, both players had their struggles adjusting to the speed and physicality of the game. Jamal Adams ended the year with 83 tackles,2 sacks, 1 Forced Fumble and 6 pass breakups, which is quite impressive for any safety.
The only downside was his inability to create turnovers, in which he didn’t record a single interception in the year. Marcus Maye finished his first year with 79 tackles, 2 interceptions, 1 forced fumble and 2 pass breakups. Overall, Marcus Maye proved to be reliable at the back end of the Jets defense. His only downside was his stamina diminishing towards the end of the season leading to big plays down field.
With a year under their belt, both safeties have taken the off-season to study game film and make the strides together in communicating with one another in becoming an elite tandem in the Jets secondary. Adams has been flawless in camp thus far, improving on his positioning during plays preventing Quarterbacks from attempting throws.
Maye went under ankle surgery after last season commenced and is expected to be ready for training camp. He has focused on his time off to become more of a ball hawk at the backend of the Jets. Both players have provided vocal leadership on the field and as well as curing the toxic locker room environment that hindered the Jets back in 2016.
They have allowed Todd Bowles to dial up plays that showcase their strengths while learning from their mistakes to conceal their weaknesses. With improvements in the secondary in the signing of Trumaine Johnson and the resigning of Morris Claiborne, the safeties are in position to take a major leap into stardom and making Gang Green a perennial threat in the league.