For all the steady praise aimed at safety Tony Adams during training camp, nothing speaks to his elevated place with the Jets quite like his role in the preseason opener.
Adams played zero snaps.
In other words, just like almost every other projected starter, Adams was deemed too valuable to be left susceptible to injury against the Browns.
“I’ve kind of gotten to the point where I’m playing a lot better now,” Adams said, “so my coaches, I guess, didn’t think I needed to play. That’s a compliment to how I’ve been playing, how I’ve been feeding off my teammates and how I’m understanding the defense. It’s all a blessing.”
What a difference one year makes. Adams fought his way onto the roster as an undrafted rookie last year in part because he impressed the coaches during 91 defensive and 26 special-teams snaps in the preseason.
“Pressure is only for those who aren’t prepared,” Adams said, reciting advice he is given by Jets safeties coach Marquand Manuel. “I’m always working on what I need to work on. It’s no pressure. I don’t feel like that kind of stuff. When I go out there, I feel free.”
Heading into the offseason, Adams seemed an unlikely candidate to replace the departed Lamarcus Joyner as a starter — just making the team again seemed like a reasonable goal.
But trade acquisition Chuck Clark is sidelined by a torn ACL and career 122-game starter Adrian Amos has not been able to wrestle away the job.
The Jets have arguably the NFL’s best cornerback trio — Sauce Gardner, D.J. Reed and Michael Carter II — and safety Jordan Whitehead entrenched in the secondary.
“I think this defense is really good,” Adams said. “I think we can compete against anybody. We’re not scared of anybody.”
That doesn’t mean a lack of respect, however.
The Jets will get a look at the No. 1 pick from the 2023 draft — quarterback Bryce Young — over the next two days during joint practices with the Panthers.
Young might not have as much experience as Aaron Rodgers — the defense’s opponent all camp — but there are plenty of tools in his arsenal.
“I don’t underestimate anyone,” Adams said.
Young is an Alabama product. The Jets have two former Crimson Tide players on their starting defense: defensive tackle Quinnen Williams and linebacker C.J. Mosley.
Williams referred to Young as “my Alabama young.”
Mosley said that one of his best friends growing up always joked that Mosley should “be on a reality show.”
Well, Tuesday night marked the debut of this season of “Hard Knocks” on HBO featuring the Jets.
“This is my first taste of it,” Mosley said, acknowledging there are “cameras everywhere” in the facility.
The Jets signed DT Bruce Hector (14 career games played) and DE Pita Taumoepenu (11) before practice.
Both most recently played in the XFL. Taumoepenu was the league’s Defensive Player of the Year after he had 7.5 sacks, eight tackles for loss and four forced fumbles.
DT Isaiah Mack, who joined the Jets in February, was released.