If preparing for an introductory Zoom conference call with the media is indicative of how prepared Jamal Adams is going to be for Seahawks games, he’s already Seattle’s most meticulous star.
The All-Pro safety the Seahawks acquired Saturday in a trade with the New York Jets was about 15 minutes late getting on Thursday afternoon’s call.
“Everything has to be precise,” Adams said. “Believe it or not— they didn’t tell you guys— but we were kind of figuring out what I wanted to do with the room, as far as being on the Zoom call.”
The 24-year-old Adams’ earnestness and motivation dominated the Zoom screen throughout his 39 minutes on Thursday’s call. His first words demanded justice for the killing of Breonna Taylor. Then he declared he wanted to retire as a Seahawk. That’s even though he’s two years away from his rookie contract ending.
When talking about his room prep for the media, he moved his hands around to pantomime the rearranging he was doing in his new Seattle-area digs before his first Seahawks video call in the way of our COVID-19 world.
“So I had to make up the bed. Had to do a little bit of everything for you guys, man,” he said, grinning.
“So I’m very particular, as far as my details, and I want to hit it on the nose.
“And be perfect.”
The Seahawks traded away a ton — two first-round draft choices anda steady, veteran starter — believing the Pro Bowl selection in two of his three years in the NFL with the Jets will be perfect for their defense.
They need Adams to be. Seattle dropped from 11th overall in 2018 to 26th in total defense last year. The Seahawks were 27th in pass defense in their first year playing without All-Pro safety Earl Thomas, since they drafted Thomas for the back of their secondary in 2010.
In the last year, after Thomas signed with Baltimore, Seattle has in just the four-man defensive secondary:
• Watched Tedric Thompson fail to replace Thomas as the last line of defense
• Traded with Detroit for Quandre Diggs to replace the since-released Thompson at free safety
• Traded with Washington for Quinton Dunbar to potentially replace Tre Flowers, who gave up big plays at the end of last season, as a starting cornerback. That’s pending Dunbar’s armed-robbery case in Florida from May
• Traded starting strong safety Bradley McDougald and the two first-round picks to the Jets for Adams.
Pro Bowl cornerback Shaquill Griffin is the only member of the starting secondary from the beginning of the 2019 season who is returning as a sure starter in 2020.
The “Legion of Boom” — Thomas, Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor starring in an unparalleled secondary leading the Seahawks’ biggest years of winning NFC titles and the Super Bowl— is long gone.
Adams appreciates that. In fact, he welcomes it.
He shook his head side to side then up and down when asked about the legacy of Seattle’s secondary.
“First off, I want to say that I respect every guy that was in the ‘Legion of Boom,’” he said. “I used to watch those guys, from Earl to Chance to Sherm, just all throughout college. After every game — you know, Saturday we play, and then Sunday here comes NFL football— man, I used to watch those guys and used to be inspired by the energy and the love and the passion that they played with.
“And I always had that passion and energy, so I admired it from afar. …So I have so much respect for those guys.
“But, you know, again, their chapter is over with. And we have to, as a defensive group and as a defensive-back group, we have to create our own legacy, right?”
Adams said he intends to reach out to Chancellor “very soon.”
He’s already talked to the Legion of Boom’s creator and molder.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was a defensive back at the University of the Pacific in the early 1970s. Carroll’s first full-time, fully-paid coaching jobs were coaching defensive secondaries at Iowa State and Ohio State, in 1978 and ‘79. He was a defensive coordinator in college and the NFL before becoming a head coach for the first time with the Jets in 1994.
Carroll, 68, has been playing and teaching Adams’ position group since before George Adams, Jamal’s father and a former NFL running back for the Giants and Patriots, was 8 years old.
“The first time we had a conversation he said, ‘Man, I’m going to let you be you,’” Jamal Adams said of Carroll and their talk when the trade went down.
“He’s not going to change me. He’s going to help me. He’s going to coach me.
“I strongly feel, 100%, about Pete putting me in the right position to make plays. He’s a guy that’s been around ball for a very, very long time. He’s close with a guy, a coach, named Ed Orgeron (Adams’ coach at LSU and a former USC assistant under Carroll).
“Oh, man, I heard a lot about him from Coach (O)!”
Adams said Orgeron’s LSU teams had the same practice program and themes Carroll’s had at USC and has leading the Seahawks.
“‘Competition Tuesday. Turnover Thursday,’” Adams recited from college.
“I’m excited to learn from him, man. …I’m very fortunate to be in this situation.”
The coach, the teammates, the contract, the trade — even the city. This is all new for Adams.
“I’m a boy from Carrollton, Texas, man. I’m a country boy,” he said. “Never been to Seattle. First time was, obviously, flying up (this week). And when I landed, it was quite the scenery.”
Adams raised his hands again, this time to sweep them across his head, as if recreating the trees, water and mountains around the Seattle-Tacoma metropolitan area.
“It’s very beautiful out here,” he said, before referring perhaps to the renowned “Seattle Freeze.”
“People are really nice, believe it or not.”
He does, however, already know about the famed noise of Seahawks fans at CenturyLink Field. The team is likely to be without most or all of that uniquely Seattle home-field advantage this season. Seahawks home games seem destined to be played without fans in the stands. That is, unless still-restricted King County’s COVID-19 case trends and social-distancing restrictions change over the next six weeks or so.
“I’m excited to play in front of the 12s, that loud stadium,” Adams said. “They say it’s very similar to my college days, as far as Baton Rouge fans (inside LSU’s famed ‘Death Valley’ for visiting teams).
“I’m excited. I can’t wait to get started.”
So why, Adams was asked, did he list this offseason the Seahawks as one of the seven teams to which he’d welcome a trade from the Jets?
“Why not? You know what I mean?” he said, deadpanning.
“I just felt like Seattle was a first-class organization, from top to bottom.”