The Seahawks will finish the 2021 season without one of their top defensive players, as the Pro-Bowl and All-Pro safety is set to have surgery this week on the shoulder he injured in Sunday's win over he 49ers.
"Jamal Adams is going to have surgery, I think it's tomorrow, on his shoulder," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "Unfortunately, he got hit just the wrong way, and he's going to have to get fixed up. He's been through this before, and he's really rocked by it of course. We're all pulling for him to get out of this thing and get back as soon as possible. Really disappointed for him as well as us."
As Carroll noted, this is the same shoulder Adams injured late last season, leading to offseason surgery, though Carroll said the injury, "wasn't as bad as the last time is what I understand."
Carroll said the injury was the result of Adams getting, "hit in exactly the wrong spot. It just was unfortunate that it happened." And not surprisingly for a player as passionate about the game as Adams, finding out he needed surgery was hard news to take.
"He was really emotional about it last night, just because it means so much to him to keep playing, and he's been through this before and to have to go through it again," Carroll said.
The Seahawks will now turn to Ryan Neal, a player in whom coaches and teammates have a lot of confidence. Neal started four games in place of an injured Adams last year, and he has had a regular role on defense this season in dime packages. But even though the Seahawks are expecting to get good play out of Neal, there's no replacing everything Adams brought to the team.
"You lose all of the fire that he brings and explosive plays, big hits," Carroll said. "He's had a couple of picks. He's been doing everything except for we haven't gotten the sacks that we got a year ago, but other than that he's been playing really hard and tough, and he's got a lot of energy for us, it's been very positive."
Linebacker and defensive captain Bobby Wagner said the team would miss, "His energy for sure. It's another playmaker out there, a guy that you have to plan for in the game plan. You got to know where he's at, when you're watching film, you can see that offenses have to know where he's at because they have to be conscious of him blitzing. It's going to be a lot from his leadership, his energy his passion for the game, we're definitely going to miss that."
"The passion is the one that jumps off the tape. The way he plays the game, you can see how much he loves the game. Then his ability to blitz is unmatched. For a guy like that to be able to apply that amount of pressure to quarterbacks and strike that much fear into offenses, that's something special."
The Seahawks acquired Adams in a trade prior to last season, and Adams responded by recording 9.5 sacks in 12 games—a record for defensive backs—while helping lead the Seahawks to an NFC West title. The sacks haven't been there for Adams this season, in part because he is blitzing less and in part because team's have done a better job accounting for him when he does, but he still was a big part of Seattle's strong defensive play, particularly of late. Through 12 games, Adams ranks third on the team in tackles with 87, second in tackles for loss with four, fourth in passes defensed with five, and second in interceptions with two behind fellow Pro-Bowl safety Quandre Diggs' four picks.
"Immediately last year he had a huge impact, and he's continued to have a huge impact," Carroll said. "Our safeties have played terrific football, these guys are really, really good together and playing off of one another… He's meant a tremendous amount. He's physical, he's tough, he's got great energy, he practices like crazy, it's really important to him. The leadership that comes from a guy who plays that hard and throws his body around like he does, it's hard to measure that. He's been a fantastic get for us."
Thanks to a technology assist from Microsoft, organizations from various non-profits being recognized during the Seahawks' My Cause My Cleats game were able to chat with players in the tunnel before warming up at Lumen Field on December 5, 2021.