Patriots need to have their heads on swivels against a pissed-off Jamal Adams

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By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

FOXBORO, Mass. -- Jamal Adams is mad at the NFL, and he might want to take his anger out on the Patriots.

The Jets safety declared "This league is a damn joke!" to start a defiant tweet on Wednesday night, calling out the league for fining him over a late hit against Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield on Monday Night Football. Adams drew a flag for roughing the passer when he lowered his shoulder into Mayfield after he'd released the ball. What really set Adams off is that the NFL also slapped him with a $21,000 fine for the hit. Per Ian Rapoport, the league confirmed the call was accurate and will uphold the fine.

Adams, who earned All-Pro honors in just his second season as a 22-year-old, also said that he's going to continue to play "MY brand of football", and won't change just because the league is enforcing what he perceives as "soft rules" designed to protect quarterbacks. And that promise just happens to come days before he faces Tom Brady and the Patriots.

With that in mind, the Pats need to be cognizant of where Adams is on every single play. They would anyway.

"He's very aggressive, a physical player, a contact player, very aggressive in the running game," said head coach Bill Belichick on Wednesday. "He's fast, he's a tough player. He's around the ball a lot, too. Similar to Mosley, different position but he gets involved in a lot of plays, plays with great effort, hustles all the time, has a great motor."

Although Adams' tweet implies that he's going to be looking to light up Tom Brady, it's less likely he'll have that opportunity. Brady will get rid of the ball quicker than Mayfield and won't be rolling out of the pocket much.

But if Adams has a chance to lay the wood to James White, Sony Michel, Rex Burkhead, Matt LaCosse, Julian Edelman? He is as punishing as they come and certainly not a player you want to lose sight of when you have the ball.

"He's a smart, instinctive football player, he's physical, he's always around the football - he's a tough guy to prepare for," said White on Thursday. "He could be in the middle of the field, he could be down at the line of scrimmage, and he's got good reaction skills, so he's a hard guy to play against."

Nov 25, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ: New England Patriots running back Sony Michel runs the ball against New York Jets safety Jamal Adams during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
Nov 25, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ: New England Patriots running back Sony Michel runs the ball against New York Jets safety Jamal Adams during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

As gifted as Adams is, he lost focus near the end of the Browns' 23-3 win over the Jets. He drew flags for offside and encroachment on consecutive plays in the fourth quarter, which led Jets head coach Adam Gase to take him off the field for the team's final five defensive snaps. Though Gase said his decision was "absolutely not" a benching and reportedly cleared the air with Adams, the safety told Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News that he was benched.

Gase told reporters before Wednesday's practice that he simply felt Adams was too fired up, and removed him before he could make another mental error. Now, Gase has to hope Adams can channel that frustration into more disciplined football on Sunday against the Patriots at Gillette Stadium, because it's likely that he'll look up the scoreboard and see a similar deficit.

But regardless of the outcome of the game, Adams can make an impact with his physicality. And he basically flipped the NFL a double-bird over the fine, meaning he may have more anger to vent when he takes the field in Foxboro.

The Patriots' ball-carriers will certainly need to be aware of Adams. If any single Jets player can change the course of a game with such long odds for them to win, it's him. But the Patriots also need to stay focused on their own jobs and make sure Adams' vow to play his own way is little more than empty bluster.

"It's just football at the end of the day," said White. "Obviously he's a good football player. He's just one of those guys you've got to key on, because he makes a difference out there."

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].