The New York Giants added a familiar face in safety Andrew Adams as training camp commenced. Adams was signed by the Jerry Reese regime in 2016 as a UDFA out of Connecticut. He played 1,031 defensive snaps in two seasons with Big Blue before ultimately being waived in favor of Curtis Riley.
The Buccaneers quickly scooped up Adams after Chris Conte suffered an injury. Adams bounced around the practice squads of Detroit and Philadelphia before heading back to Tampa Bay for the 2021 season. Adams played 217 snaps for the Buccaneers in 2021, with some impressive tape.
According to Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll, Giants’ personnel raved about the character of Adams when he donned Giants’ blue. That, and the lack of proven depth at safety behind the starters, were contributing factors to the Giants signing the 29-year-old.
Adams is 6-foot, 198 pounds, and he was aligned all over Todd Bowels’ aggressive defense last season. He was used in the post, in two-high read coverages, in the box, and as a blitzing asset. Adams rushed the passer 14 times last season, batting one pass down and pressuring the quarterback four times.
According to Pro Football Focus, Adams has 14 passes defended and seven interceptions with a 62.5 percent catch rate in his career. Last season, Adams had a pick, and two passes defended. Let’s see some clips from last season.
Andrew Adams is No. 26
boundary safety (top of screen)
Adams is playing a two-read coverage type where he is reading the No. 2 to the No. 1 receiver. We see him lock onto the No. 2 receiver, Quez Watkins (16). Once Watkins heads to the flat, Adams transitions his focus to DeVonta Smith (6). Two-safety read coverages allow the defense to account for four vertical routes while providing the defense the ability to drive on underneath routes quickly. Adams turns his attention to Smith as the rookie wide receiver decelerates; Adams clicks downhill and aggressively plays through the catch point to force an incompletion.
boundary safety (top of screen)
The Panthers attempt to manipulate the PALMS type of coverage assignments with a scissors concept to the boundary. Tight end Tommy Tremble (82) runs the corner route with Robby Anderson (11) running the post route. Adams does a phenomenal job reading the concept and switching his coverage with the boundary cornerback. He peals off Tremble’s corner and works underneath Anderson’s post. Sam Darnold (14) releases the football right as Anderson commits inside, but Adams is in an excellent position to play the ball. This play shows Adams’ overall awareness and ability to adjust responsibilities based on the offense’s intentions.
safety middle of the field
Adams does a good job reading Hill’s eyes from the middle of the field against Ty Montgomery’s (88) vertical route at the numbers. The window is very tight for Hill, and Adams narrowly misses coming away with an interception on the play.
safety, bottom of screen
The Buccaneers align in a Cover-4 look pre-snap and buzz the weakside safety (Adams) downward over Allen Robinson (12) in the slot. Adams displays good eye discipline, seeing through Robinson’s release to get eyes on Justin Fields (1) as the rookie quarterback throws to the drag route from the backside. Adams waits for Fields to throw the football before driving downhill to help make a tackle against Cole Kmet (85).
safety behind No. 54
Adams makes an impactful tackle on physical quarterback/tight end Taysom Hill (7) in a third-and-2 situation. Adams deciphers the run blocking as the backside guard and full back pull to the play side. Adams fills the hole and delivers a physical shot to Hill’s legs for a gain of nothing.
Here we see Adams take a good angle outside, accounting for the path of Cordarrelle Patterson (84) as he reads the blocks and chooses where to go. Adams stays square, goes low, and forces Patterson close to the sideline for a minimal gain.
right of screen
Adams does a great job working through the H-Back’s block to force the play side tackle’s attention in his direction. Sean Murphy-Bunting (23) is the contain defender who gets outside, but Adams does a great job occupying two blockers and forcing Patterson to cut the run inside, giving Murphy-Bunting less space to fret.
defensive back, top of screen
On opening day, the Cowboys run a quick option play to Ezekiel Elliott in the red zone. Blake Jarwin (89) attempts to block Adams but takes a poor angle into contact. Adams expands outside to avoid Jarwin’s block while limiting the angle for Elliott to the end zone. Elliott attempts to bounce the run outside, but Adams closes width and makes an impressive open-field tackle for a 1-yard loss on third-and-2.
There were several times Adams blitzed as an extra unblocked defender off the edge, but I want to focus on two blitzes in particular. The first one is a run blitz against Dallas.
Strong side LB spot
The Cowboys are in singleback, and Adams run blitzes; his designated hole was the B-Gap between Tyron Smith (77) and Connor Williams (52), but he does a great job altering his path and reacting to the blocks in front of him. Dallas used Dalton Schultz (86) in a split-zone manner to take care of the backside defender. Adams read the blocking concept and accounted for the gigantic hole between Williams and center Tyler Biadasz (63) in the A-Gap. He changed direction and filled the gap, making a sound tackle on Elliott for no gain on second-and-4.
Strong side LB spot
Adams aligned in the box 55 times in 2021. He tends to play bigger than his size. Pre-snap, it appears that Adams’ focus is Dawson Knox (88), but the 29-year-old safety is blitzing. He doesn’t tip his hand and does a good job timing his blitz to ensure he goes in unabated. The 3-technique to the weakside will occupy that guard; Rakeem Nunez-Roches (96) penetrates and goes through the outside shoulder of the center, forcing the center to expand away from the weakside guard, and Devin White (45) attacks Devin Singletary (26) in pass protection. Bowels dials up two blitzers into the A-Gaps while expanding the guards and center outward, creating a 2vs1 against a running back. Adams flies into the pocket for a pressure, but Josh Allen (17) finds Knox for a short gain.
The sample size is small for Adams, but there are reasons for intrigue. However, he has a 14.6 percent missed tackle rate in his career. It was only 9.5 percent last season (again, very small sample size); he, at times, can come into the tackle point a bit wild. I appreciate his physical nature, but he could take better and more controlled angles when coming from depth and the ball carrier has more operating space (i.e., he’s not close to the sideline). He’s not a bad tackler, but it’s an observation worth noting. He also was a bit grabby last year, drawing some unwanted yellow laundry.
safety, top of screen
safety, middle of the field
On both plays, Adams shades his body and makes unnecessary contact; he’s essentially allowing the offensive players to run “through contact’ which will draw the flag. On the Panthers’ play, it appeared that Adams thought the Panthers’ receiver was stopping, so he aggressively stayed tight, which isn’t a bad thing in the red zone. However, this visibly disallowed the receiver to flow with Darnold, leading the refs to throw the flag.
Andrew Adams returns to NY...here are some quality reps of him in coverage, in the box, as a blitzer, and in run support— Nick Falato (@nickfalato) July 27, 2022
In 217 total snaps (only 65 in run support), Adams was the 12th highest graded safety overall and the 11th in run defense (PFF) pic.twitter.com/rOSFjKa0d8
Adams offers a varied skill-set that fits well in a Wink Martindale scheme. His ability and toughness as a run defender, combined with his blitzing prowess, can easily be leveraged on this team. He also handled a lot of pattern match types of concepts last season. These concepts require high mental processing and athletic ability; a lot of the concepts eventually turn into man coverage.
The Giants currently have Xavier McKinney and Julian Love as their starting safeties. Rookie fourth-round pick Dane Belton will work into the rotation, but there are safety snaps that a fourth player can earn. Adams has a path to the final roster. He’ll compete directly with two interesting UDFAs in Kentucky’s Yusuf Corker, San Diego State’s Trenton Thompson, and Giants’ 2021 cornerback Jarren Williams.
The Giants’ secondary is full of young players like Dane Belton, second-year starter Aaron Robinson, backup Rodarius Williams, and rookie Cor’Dale Flott. Schoen and Daboll may appreciate the veteran presence of Adams over some of the more inexperienced players. It’s also worth mentioning that Adams played 294 special teams snaps last season for the Buccaneers and has 13 career special teams tackles.
The safety camp battle is even more interesting now with Adams in the mix. He’ll look to earn a roster spot over Jarren Williams and the two UDFAs. He has a real shot at making the roster and earning snaps on the defense.