Jets secondary prepared for “championship-like” week against 3x All-Pro Davante Adams

Sauce Gardner Jets
Sauce Gardner (AP Photo/Matt Patterson, File)

FLORHAM PARK — Davante Adams is considered one of the best wide receivers in NFL history. In Week 10, Adams’ skillset is seen as the chief focus for the New York Jets defense in a marquee matchup on Sunday Night Football. 

Luckily for Gang Green, they have the perfect remedy for a receiver like him. 

The combination of Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed poses as the perfect medicine for the issues Adams presents more than any other secondary room in the NFL. Led by both, the Jets rank third against the pass and own the ninth-best total defense in football. 

They’ll need to be on their A-game though to deal with a future Hall-of-Famer like Adams.

“You have to take it seriously, like a championship week,” D.J. Reed explained. “Davante is still Davante. The numbers don’t show that but he’s still a #1 receiver. A lot of teams are still doubling him so they have high respect for him and his impact on the field…We have to take it seriously.”

Davante Adams and the Raiders take on the Chiefs
Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams (17) keeps his feet inbounds to score on a four-yard touchdown pass during the first half of an NFL football game between the San Francisco 49ers and Las Vegas Raiders, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

When it comes to Gang Green’s secondary, as strong as Reed’s career has been, Gardner has been the face of the group since he was drafted last season. His coverage rankings are similar to his rookie season where he was the first rookie since Ronnie Lott in 1981 to be named a First-Team All-Pro player. 

With his dominance unchallenged, all eyes will be on the two All-Pros going head-to-head for the first time in their respective careers – even if there’s no guarantee that the two will face off entirely throughout the game.

“When you just study, not necessarily studying his (Adams) targets, not necessarily studying his catches, his yards, you just see the movement and the route running, and the separation, and he’s still scary in all of those ways, so I know our guys are excited to play against him, because he is still one of the best wide receivers in this League,” Jets defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich said Thursday regarding Adams. 

While Ulbrich did not shoot down the idea of having Gardner travel to face off against Adams on Sunday, the defensive coordinator did acknowledge that the way the Jets play in their defensive scheme does not normally allow for such an act. 

New York has been able to succeed for most of the season in their secondary without needing their corners to travel. Against top teams like the Philadelphia Eagles, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, and Buffalo Bills, the top receiver on each unit was held in check for the most part. 

That kind of track record is enough for even the best wide receivers in the game to pay their proper respect to an elite unit such as this, even if the focus is more on Sunday’s game as opposed to what was done in 2022. 

“I look at the tape, but the All-Pros and Pro-Bowls mean nothing to me,” Adams stated Wednesday. “He’s (Gardner) a good player for sure and he has good tape and good measurables. He’s deserving of the attention he’s got in the league. You have to line it up every snap so the past accomplishments don’t mean anything for anybody, especially in this instance.”

New York knows they have their hands full with a new-look offense and coaching staff in the Raiders following the removal of Josh McDaniels. While the Raiders dominated the Giants in Week 9 behind rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell, Sunday’s contest in Vegas should offer a much different challenge for the young signal-caller.

“Our mentality is to go in and dominate,” Jets defensive captain CJ Mosley said. “No matter who the opponent, who the quarterback or what level or record. We have to have the same mentality. We’re going to treat him (O’Connell) the same way and hopefully, he has a long day.”

As with any matchup that features an All-Pro on both sides of the field, many will be glued to their televisions Sunday Night to see who comes out the better of the other in the Gardner-Adams debate. The Jets may not want their top corner to travel, and they have plenty of trust in Reed to handle his business on the other side, but Adams poses a unique problem that they have yet to see this season. 

How both handle that problem could be the deciding factor between the Jets getting back over .500 or falling in their second straight contest. 

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