On Thursday, September 9th, Andrew Adams terrorized the Dallas Cowboys.
Playing his first game with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers since logging a single defensive snap for the squad in Super Bowl LV, Adams was all over the field in his first game back in Central Florida, losing three tackles, a tackle for loss, and a QB hit on a smoking hot Dak Prescott.
Now granted, Adams wasn’t like, the best player on the field or anything, or even the best player on the Bucs’ defense. That honor surely goes to Veta Via, who blew up the Cowboys’ interior line with ease, but in a game where Tampa Bay lost Sean Murphy-Bunting to a brutal dislocated elbow, getting something out of Adams, an early-September signing, surely helped the team secure a W in a shootout win over one of the best offenses in the NFC (more on that here).
If you’re a Philly fan who remembers Adams from his limited run in a midnight green jersey, you may feel somewhat salty about yet another former defender shining in their new home, but frankly, you shouldn’t be. Why? Simple: Andrew Adams didn’t earn a spot on the Philadelphia Eagles‘ 53 man roster.
Andrew Adams was a preseason non-factor for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Assuming he doesn’t make his way back to the City of Brotherly Love, Andrew Adams’ statistical tenure with the Philadelphia Eagles will go as follows: Five total tackles, one solo tackle, and one pass defensed in 122 defensive snaps.
When watching back his preseason performances, Adams’ play nary jumped off the tape like, say, Josiah Scott, Patrick Johnson, or Milton Williams, and his occasional lapses in coverage stood out sans any sort of “wow” plays to offset them.
This, obviously, wouldn’t be a huge issue if Adams was a 22-year-old rookie still figuring things out early on in his NFL career like, say, eventual practice squad safety Elijah Riley, but at 28-years-old with a Super Bowl win on his six-season NFL resume, committing a roster spot to just a guy over an intriguing option like Tarron Jackson simply didn’t make sense.
Considering the Eagles have since added a pair of defensive backs to their active roster following the announcement of their initial 53 man roster, the team clearly identified their secondary as a position of need, but in a way, doesn’t that say more about Adams’ play than anything else? If he was good enough to garner a spot on the 53 man roster, he’d surely still be there, as his experience alone lapped that of Andre Chachere and Mac McCain 79 times over.
Why? Because Adams just isn’t very good.
Outside of a flukey 2018 season where Adams picked off four passes in 13 games – three of which came off the arm of a particularly brutal showing by Cam Newton – Adams has never been considered a renowned coverage safety, lacks the size to be an elite run defender, and doesn’t present the sort of versatility many teams crave from a utility reserve capable of playing in the slot, back deep, or in the box.
As a third safety with a very defined role, Adams can be a solid contributor, as he showcased on his first game back in Tampa Bay, but in Philly, that wasn’t available. The Eagles already have K’Von Wallace as their developmental box/slot, Marcus Epps as their reserve free safety with Minnesota experience, and now Chachere as a do-it-all reserve capable of playing any position across the secondary. While one could argue whether Adams is a better player than any of those players individually, he’s notably older than the trio, is at his NFL ceiling, and surely won’t be replacing Anthony Harris or Rodney McLeod any time soon in the starting lineup.
Considering the transitional nature of the Philadelphia Eagles’ 2021 season, playing Adams over any of those three youngsters would be a serious dereliction of the team’s developmental duties.
Between you and me, Howie Roseman’s decision to sign Andrew Adams on the first day of free agency back in March was always a head-scratcher. He wasn’t much of a contributor for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020, wasn’t widely regarded as a special teams ace, and, at 28, didn’t present much upside. While the idea to move on from Jalen Mills wasn’t wrong per se, expecting to replace him with Adams felts very project-y at best and a total disaster at worst. Fortunately, the Philadelphia Eagles were able to secure Anthony Harris’ services not too long after and now look to have an improved secondary than their 2020 iteration, a move that largely made Adams superfluous. But hey, considering his Game 1 success, I would imagine he isn’t too upset with how things turned out either.