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John Blanchette: Newcomer Jamal Adams gives Seahawks a jolt

UPDATED: Sun., Sept. 13, 2020

By John Blanchette The Spokesman-Review

If there’s an entry anywhere in the Seattle Seahawks’ record book for Best Honeymoon, surely it now belongs to Jamal Adams.

Not to be confused with Most Honeymoon.

Any record-keeping on the sustainability of this wedding day bliss will have to be ongoing, and it could be an anxious watch given the mercurial safety’s recent history in New York as a partner hell-bent for divorce.

But you couldn’t beat the I-dos for his second stab at compatibility.

Opening day 2020 for the Seahawks was an odd, eerie, moving and, conclusively, jubilant affair. It began with the 22 players on the field for the opening kickoff taking a knee once Seattle’s Jason Myers put his foot into the ball, two teams united in a message against the issues of racial injustice and police brutality that have boiled over this summer. It played out in an empty Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, the crowd noise piped in like Muzak and almost as uplifting. And it finished with the Seahawks 38-25 winners over the Falcons – the kind of no-doubt debut the team hasn’t enjoyed since 2014.

A lot of elements went into that, but the jolt came from Jamal Adams.

“You couldn’t help but watch Jamal Adams,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll marveled on Sunday. “He’s all over the place.”

This, of course, is precisely what the Seahawks had in mind when they threw two first-round draft picks, a third-rounder and capable safety Bradley McDougald at the Jets for the unhappy, pay-me All-Pro – who, it has to be noted, has been a model teammate in his new surroundings.

They wanted his multi-dimensional game and his playmaking and his “juice,” as Carroll likes to call it.

But in fact, even the crankiness that marked Adams’ final stages as a Jet may have been something Seattle coveted.

Despite the best efforts of their own good-guy All-Pro, linebacker Bobby Wagner, the Seattle defense once known for its hard edge and pop – and popping off – has dulled over the years. Its flintiest talents and characters – Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas, Michael Bennett – have aged and been injured and sometimes culled, having become, uh, too much trouble.

But as a result, the Seahawks didn’t make enough trouble.

Well, now they have someone to set the tone in that regard. Or someone else – Adams crowed Sunday that playing with Wagner was like “Batman and Robin.”

The game wasn’t four plays old when Adams found himself matched against Atlanta’s splendid Julio Jones on quarterback Matt Ryan’s first pass. There was no Kam-like collision or Sherm-like swipe, but Adams’ coverage kept the pass from going complete, and the day was on.

On a blitz in the second quarter, Adams sacked Ryan on third down, and the next Falcons series he hauled down Jones short of a first down with the kind of second-effort tackle you didn’t always see out of Thomas or Sherman.

By game’s end, Adams had 12 tackles – not including his takedown of teammate Shaquill Griffin on an Atlanta touchdown. There were two tackles for loss, a sack and two more quarterback hits. He was covering, blitzing, knifing through on Atlanta’s running backs.

Seattle has a limited sample size of big-ticket acquisitions of late, but consider that Jadevon Clowney managed a sack and one other tackle in his Seahawks debut last year, and Jimmy Graham six catches and a touchdown back in 2015.

Beyond the numbers were two revelations – the first being that Carroll wasn’t just plugging Adams into center field.

At least it must have been a revelation to Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who after the trade threw this barb at both the Seahawks and Adams: “Jamal may get bored there because they don’t use their safety-type things in all the different complexities.”

OK, pal. Maybe explain that to Ryan, who acknowledged on Sunday that the Seahawks were using Adams in ways the Falcons hadn’t see Seattle employ a safety in certain packages.

“I wasn’t bored,” was Adams’ report. “I was blitzing. I was having fun.”

Carroll had some fun with Williams’ analysis a month ago, and more Sunday when he joked, “He’s totally free-lancing … we have no control over the guy.” But as in love as Carroll is with his keep-it-simple defensive concepts, he did acknowledge that, “You’ve just got to put (Adams) in positions to give him chance, and then stuff happens.”

And then there’s the juice.

“He’s such an energetic personality,” Carroll said. “He’s got so much fire in him and he’s an incredible competitor. Does it rub off? Yes, and that’s why I’m so thrilled he’s on our team and we got him.

“This game, with nobody in the stands, it calls for us to maintain the juice and the energy and he’s the player to exemplify that.”

The juice didn’t get turned off after the game. Lauding Russell Wilson and the offense for their 38-point day, Adams couldn’t help himself.

“I’m not used to it,” he said.

Which, naturally, set off a river of fan lava in Jetland.

But then, that honeymoon was over long ago.

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