After Jamal Adams heard his name called at April’s draft and knew he would be heading to the Jets, he almost immediately thought about facing Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski in a divisional bout.
Nearly five months later, the rookie safety will get his opportunity.
The Jets face the Patriots Sunday at MetLife Stadium with sole possession of first place in the AFC East up for grabs.
“He’s a wonderful talent. Everybody knows,” Adams said of Gronkowski Thursday after practice in Florham Park. “Future Hall of Famer, big-bodied guy. Definitely is going to stretch the field, can definitely run all the routes, and we definitely got to get after him.”
Through five games, Gronkowski is third in the league in receiving yards among tight ends with 318 and two touchdowns.
Adams is sure to see time locking down Gronkowski on Sunday, but slowing down the tight end will be a team effort.
“It’s definitely going to be a wonderful matchup, man,” Adams said. “But it’s not about the matchup. It’s about the team. It’s never about an individual. So we’re just looking forward to the matchup with the Patriots.”
Adams, the No. 6 overall pick out of LSU, has lived up to expectations so far. However, he was very unsatisfied with his performance in Sunday’s win at the Browns, giving himself “below an F” for a grade.
Adams was in coverage on David Njoku when the rookie tight end hauled in a diving one-handed touchdown in the third quarter.
Through five games, Rob Gronkowski is third in league in receiving yards among tight ends with 318.
(Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
“I’m my biggest critic, man,” Adams said. “I don’t like to give up touchdowns and I definitely don’t like to get caught on.”
DE Muhammad Wilkerson (shoulder, toe) and running back Bilal Powell (calf) didn’t practice for the second straight day Thursday.
Todd Bowles said “it’s possible” Wilkerson could play Sunday without practicing. The toe injury, which Wilkerson sustained in last weekend’s win over the Browns, could require surgery if it doesn’t improve, according to Bowles.
Powell’s status for Sunday remains up in the air. Starting RB Matt Forte (turf toe) practiced in a limited role for the second straight day. Forte said his toe is feeling “a lot better” compared to two weeks ago.
Unimpressed with how his unit has been starting games, offensive coordinator John Morton opted to speed up the pace of practice this week. The Jets compiled just 67 yards of total offense in the first half Sunday in Cleveland.
“Right from stretch, boom, let’s go,” Morton said. “It’s just the mindset. This is a major focus. Let’s make sure we come out — whether it’s noise out there, it’s chaos, different snaps counts and things like that, let’s just make it game like and let’s come off.”
The Patriots signed former Jets and Giants tight end Will Tye to their practice squad Thursday.