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Jamal Adams brings the energy and attitude to make Jets' culture change stick

Jets safety Jamal Adams strikes a pose before

Jets safety Jamal Adams strikes a pose before speaking with reporters at training camp on July 25, 2019. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

FLORHAM PARK, N.J.

Jamal Adams is never one to pull punches, and if he thinks something needs to be said, he’ll be the first to say it. Especially when his team needs a reminder to step it up.

The third-year safety questioned the Jets’ losing vibe and accused players of doing the “bare minimum” during an interview with Bleacher Report last year. He ripped the team during a radio appearance on WFAN after a pathetic 41-10 home loss to the Bills last November and all but accused some teammates of quitting on the team.

But after a sweeping housecleaning in the offseason, with coach Adam Gase replacing Todd Bowles and general manager Joe Douglas succeeding Mike Maccagnan, Adams believes the Jets’ culture now is properly set.

“The culture is where it needs to be,” Adams said after Friday’s practice. “It’s moving in the right direction. Just coming out here and competing, getting better as a group. That’s what it’s about.”

The Jets no longer are afflicted by what former Lakers and Knicks coach Pat Riley famously called “the disease of me.”

“It’s not an ‘I’ game,” Adams said. “It’s not an individual game. It’s about the team. It’s about the organization. And I’m not just talking about on the field. It takes everybody, everybody that’s in the building. We’re one team, one goal.”

Change for its own sake often is a good thing, and there’s no question the Jets needed to try a different approach after three straight losing seasons. So it’s not a surprise that Adams would feel a certain amount of rejuvenation simply because there is a different voice in Gase and an infusion of new players such as veterans Le’Veon Bell, Jamison Crowder and C.J. Mosley as well as No. 3 overall pick Quinnen Williams, who showed up at camp Friday after signing his contract the night before.

But Adams believes his positive feelings are not some sort of emotional sugar high that might not last. He is convinced the stage is set for what he believes will be a legitimate — and perhaps long-lasting — chance for success.

“It’s definitely a good vibe,” he said. “We’re out there competing, talking noise, running fast. It’s competitive juices. When you can do that, you make each other better.”

Adams has been one of the few bright spots on the roster the last two seasons, a rising young safety who hits hard and leads with unrivaled passion. Watch him — and listen to him — in practice, and it’s constant motion. And yapping. He’ll high-five a defensive teammate after an interception. He’ll talk smack with an opposing receiver after breaking up a pass, bobbing his head for emphasis and strutting back to the sideline.

It’s an infectious attitude that is plain to see. Gase loves it.

“When [Adams] hits the grass, it’s all ball,” Gase said. “He brings energy. He gets both sides going, because he’s going from the time he’s out there until the time he’s off the field, and probably a little bit after. That does something to guys. You feel it. He’s got juice to him. He’s fun to be around, he’s fun to coach against when you’re on the opposite side in practice. It’s one of those things where you’re glad you’re on the same team as him because he brings fire every day.”

If the Jets do become a playoff contender, Adams will have a lot to do with it — with his play and with his attitude.

A terrific safety who covers a lot of ground and tackles with vengeance, he’s also an unquestioned leader in the locker room. And he’s only 23.

Now that he believes the right attitude and approach are in place, he’s convinced that good things are ahead, even if he’s unwilling to put any sort of guarantee on a playoff run.

“If this team can stick together,” he said, “you never know what can happen.”

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