Second year safety Jamal Adams has already established himself as a vocal leader for the Jets, as recently evidenced when he spearheaded players-only meetings that helped the Jets put an end to a frustrating losing streak on Sunday.
How is Adams progressing on the field, though? The good news is that however you decide to measure his progress, he's making more of an impact and playing more consistently in all phases.
For the following statistics, Adams' numbers for the current season are listed in bold, followed by his numbers for the first five games of 2017 in italics and the full season numbers for 2017 (pro-rated to create a five-game sample where relevant).
Total tackles: 37, 25, 26
Sacks 1, 1, 1
Passes defensed 3, 2, 2
Interceptions 1, 0, 0
Forced fumbles 1, 0, 0
Overall 80, 64, 69
Run Defense 77, 64, 76
Pass Rush 91, 56, 55
Coverage 71, 68, 66
Other Stats (via PFR/PFF)
Stops 15, 8, 11
QB hits 2, 1, 1
Tackles for loss 3, 3, 3
Total pressures 6, 2, 3
Pressure rate 25%, 7%, 11%
Coverage TD allowed 0, 1, 2
Coverage QB rating allowed 51, 121, 130
Completion percentage allowed 56, 64, 63
Yards allowed 109, 93, 124
Yards per catch allowed 12, 13, 14
Longest play allowed 21, 35, 35
Penalties 1, 2, 1
Missed tackles 2, 5, 4
Clearly you can see that Adams has improved his output and efficiency pretty much across the board, both in terms of comparing his first five games of this year with the first five games of his rookie year and in terms of comparing these first five games with a pro-rated sample from his entire rookie season.
The only areas where he didn't show any statistical improvement are fumble recoveries (where he had two last season but hasn't had one yet this year), special teams tackles (where he had one last season but doesn't have one yet this year) and coverage yards allowed at the start of the year (which is merely a by-product of being employed in direct coverage more - 16 targets in the first five games in 2018 as opposed to only 11 as a rookie).
While penalties, sacks and tackles for loss show no improvement, the 2018 numbers are better if you don't round up/down (those numbers would be 1.3 penalties, 2.8 tackles for loss and 0.6 sacks per five games).
What these numbers also show, if you compare the second and third numbers from each subset, is the improvement between his numbers for the first five games of his rookie year and the overall rookie season numbers. In most cases the difference between those numbers is less significant than the improvement in 2018, which underlines how Adams has made real progress this season, in terms of his coverage numbers, pass rush efficiency and overall statistical productivity.
It will be interesting to see if Adams can keep up - or even build upon - this early pace or if his numbers will fall back to earth because some of his more productive performances so far will prove to be outliers. There have been a few games this year where Adams has had a monster first half but been quieter in the second half, so perhaps that's a sign teams have begun to actively stay away from him.
Either way, Adams has made an excellent start to his NFL career and seeing him ramp up his productivity while still being efficient in terms of not making many mistakes is an encouraging sign. Hopefully, he's establishing himself as the core building block the team was hoping for when they drafted him.