FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Jamal Adams can’t wait for Monday, but the Jets second-year safety isn’t sure what he’s going to do with himself until then.
The Jets open the season in Detroit on Monday Night Football. The Jets haven’t played on Monday night since 2016 so this will be Adams’ first time.
“It’s different for me,” Adams said after practice Thursday. “I dreamed about playing on Monday night. I dreamed about playing on Sunday night, Sundays period. Monday Night Football, there’s nothing like that. I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be exciting. Playing a hell of a ball club in a great atmosphere. I know the energy is definitely going to be there.
“It’s going to be tough, sitting around and playing on Monday [night]. It’s going to be tough but it’s something that comes with it. At the end of the day we’re on a big stage so I’m looking forward to that big stage.”
The Jets play two night games the first three weeks of this season. They’re at Cleveland on Thursday night in Week 3. A Baker Mayfield-Sam Darnold meeting that night doesn’t appear in the cards unless something happens to Browns starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor between now and then.
But the Jets could become a team that plays night games more often in the future, especially if Darnold lives up to the lofty expectations that have been placed on him and the front office adds more playmakers to the roster.
The Jets obviously needs an edge rusher. They reportedly met with former Colts offensive linebacker/defensive end John Simon this week. But the Jets ultimately could try to land a more impactful pass rusher in a trade or free agency this offseason and in the draft.
Even without one, the Jets believe they have enough to surprise in the league this season when few have picked them to be a playoff team.
“The sky’s the limit,” Adams said. “As long as we click and do the little things the right way at all times it’ll be fine. At the end of the day, we’re just focused on winning each and every day.”
The defense has high expectations for itself, particulary the secondary. It has been nicknamed “New Jack City” by defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson.
“It started when I first got here about changing the culture and having something a group can identify with,” Wilson said. “I’m not big on having individual guys. If they all play well then they’ll all have success. “It goes back to those standards and our standards are being intelligent, being resilient, being tough and being a brotherhood. That’s the genesis of what New Jack City stands for.”
The Jets secondary might be the most talented group on the team, especially after signing former Ram Trumaine Johnson.
When healthy, the Jets core is Johnson and Morris Claiborne at corners, Adams and Marcus Maye at safety and Buster Skrine in the slot. There is some question as to whether Maye will play Monday against the Lions. He’s been dealing with a foot issue, and appeared on the Jets’ first injury report of the season. Maye hasn’t practiced all week.
The entire Jets’ defense will be challenged in Week 1 against Matthew Stafford and the Lions. Without pass rushers coming off the edge, it’s possible Bowles and defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers could dial up some safety blitzes.
They have to find a way to put pressure on Stafford, limit Detroit’s diverse running game that now includes former Patriot and Eagle LeGarrette Blount and not allow big plays to receivers Golden Tate, Marvin Jones Jr. and Kenny Golladay.
" 'Nine' is going to sit back there in the pocket,” Adams said of Stafford. “He gets paid the big bucks. As everybody knows he can throw the football. We have to do our best to throw him off his rhythm. At the same time, he has a lot of great targets he can get the ball to. We have to hopefully slow those guys down.”