The Seahawks opened their season, like nearly every other team in the NFL, playing in an empty stadium. But if the lack of fans at Mercedes-Benz Stadium could have potentially affected the Seahawks energy level, they had a countermeasure to that issue.
Enter Jamal Adams.
The Seahawks acquired Adams, an All-Pro safety, in a blockbuster trade with the Jets earlier in the summer, and while his playmaking ability was evident to anyone who had seen him play in his first three seasons, what was less obvious, until he took the field in training camp, is the level of energy Adams plays with and the way it's contagious for the entire defense.
And in the Seahawks 38-25 win over the Falcons, Adams was everything he showed in training camp—a playmaker, a hype man, and seemingly the person having the most fun on the field.
"There's no doubt," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said when asked if Adams' energy is infectious. "There's no doubt. He is such an energetic personality. He's got so much fire in him, and he's an incredible competitor. Does it rub off? Yes. And I'm so thrilled he's on our team and we got him, not just for the play but for what he brings and how he affects other people. And he'll continue to do that. I thought during the day, when we go back home, our fans won't be able to see it in the stadium early in the year, and I wish they could, because a lot that goes on is happening off the playfield and on the sidelines and cheering up guys. This game now with nobody in the stands, really does call on us to really maintain the juice and the energy, and he's a wonderful player to exemplify that."
Of course, Adams was a lot more than just juice and energy. He also looked for much of the game like one of the best players on the field along with the likes of Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner and Julio Jones. Adams led the Seahawks with 12 tackles, he sacked Matt Ryan once and hit him another time on a blitz to cause a wobbly pass that, if not for the aforementioned Jones' freakish abilities, should have been an incomplete pass or interception. Adams also had a tackle for a loss on run defense, and made a couple of impressive open-field tackles and broke up a pass intended for Jones. Adams also could have had an interception on a Hail Mary late in the game but teammate and good friend Quandre Diggs leapt in front of Adams to take the interception for himself.
Heading into the season, the question wasn't if Adams would be a big part of the Seahawks defense, but rather how he'd be used. And not surprisingly, the answer appears to be: all over the field.
"Defensively, you couldn't help but watch Jamal Adams," Carroll said. "He was all over the place. He had 12 or so tackles, a sack and was close on a couple others. He just made some beautiful plays, tackles and hits and pressures and all of that. He's an extraordinary football player."
With the Jets, Adams was used in a variety of ways, including as a blitzer—he had 6.5 sacks last season—and after the trade, Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams suggested that Adams might get bored in Seattle's defense because he would be used as a more traditional box safety. On Sunday, however, Adams' role was anything but conventional, and he was far from bored while helping his team to a season-opening win.
"I wasn't bored," he said. "I was blitzing. I was having fun. It's is about the same, to be honest. It might have been a little bit more. It reminded me a little bit of (former Jets coach) Todd Bowles, the way Todd Bowles used me my first two years. I'm just out there making plays. Whenever my name is called or my number's called, I'm trying to do whatever I can to help the team win and get put in the best position to get the ball back to 3 (Russell Wilson), because obviously you get the ball back to 3, he's going to make special plays. So that's my focus. I'm never trying to be a one-man guy. I'm just trying to do my job to the best of my ability."
One week into his Seahawks career, the best of Adams' ability looks like it's going to make a big difference for Seattle's defense.