New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) warms up next to New York Jets strong safety Jamal Adams before an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J.
(AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

The New York Jets’ inactives include injured Jamal Adams, which changes everything about the team’s matchup against Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens.

BALTIMORE, MD—The New York Jets have a better shot of victory Thursday night in Baltimore if Jamal Adams participates.

What’s the appropriate response to such a statement? I believe the “word”… “duh” comes to mind. Combine that killer 1990s comeback with a three-word phrase involving Sherlock and we’re already off to an oblivious start.

Luckily, oblivion isn’t a desired place at the moment, and, fortunately, the “Adams needed to play Thursday night” narrative travels much deeper than it appears on the surface.

On Wednesday, it was finally announced the man the kids call the President was doubtful to strap it up against Lamar Jackson. On Thursday night, it became official when the team announced their inactives.

Quinnen Williams, Chuma Edoga, Bilal Powell, Brian Poole and Arthur Maulet will join Adams in street clothes when they strap it up against the Baltimore Ravens.

No Adams. It hurts. Unfortunately, it cuts even deeper than the average football fan thinks.

Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams needed months to finally mold his unit around a certain strength while forming a true identity. Instead of playing from a traditional inside-out look, Williams’s stud strong safety combined with Marcus Maye and Brian Poole served as the strength the defensive proudly showcased on a weekly basis.

No NFL team blitzed defensive backs as frequently as the Jets. Very few defenses disguised zone coverages like Williams and his secondary.

That all changed in the Jets’ 22-21 win over the Miami Dolphins in Week 13. With Adams out, the team’s entire defensive identity vanished. The DB blitzing was called off and the prior aggression showcased on a weekly basis disappeared.

Instead, Williams, with Darryl Roberts playing strong safety, showcased a two-deep look that allowed Ryan Fitzpatrick to gain yards underneath with very little pushback. While yards were surrendered, the Fins settled for seven field goals.

Now, on Thursday night, Williams’s bend-but-don’t-break defense will have to find something magical or hope for an off night from arguably the best offense in the NFL. Without Adams’s ability to cover an incredible radius outside of the defensive play design, defending a scrambling Jackson will serve as a near-impossible task.

Interestingly, this Ravens offense, one that relies on its rushing, would have represented a more favorable matchup for this Jets defense, a unit that excels against the run. (This Jets defense is much more vulnerable against the elite pocket passer equipped with a solid offensive line and great weapons.)

Now, with Jamal Adams out and several other key injuries in play, Lamar Jackson should run wild. Expect a ton of zone from this New York Jets defense on Thursday night. It’s the only shot of limiting Lamar Jackson’s 20-yard scampers to just 10 or 12.

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