GREEN BAY – It took four years in the NFL for Adrian Amos to make it to the postseason, and the Packers’ new safety has no desire to wait that long again.
“It’s like getting a taste of that winning, getting a taste of what it takes to get to that point, what it takes to have a great defense, a dominant defense,” said Amos, Green Bay’s big free-agent addition at safety, coming over from the highly regarded Bears’ defense as Chicago made the playoffs last year for the first time since 2010.
“At times we were very dominant last year. It shows you what it means to be in a winning locker room, what it takes to go forward.”
Green Bay is counting on Amos to help lead another step forward for Mike Pettine’s defense as the Packers look to get back to the playoffs themselves after two straight football-less Januarys.
When the 2018 season ended, the Packers had no starting safeties entrenched for the future. Veteran cornerback Tramon Williams had switched positions to help fill the gap, but Ibraheim Campbell and Eddie Pleasant were headed for free agency. Former 2017 second-round pick Josh Jones hasn’t yet solidified where he fits, and the Packers chose not to tender a qualifying offer to restricted free agent Kentrell Brice.
Enter Amos, a fifth-round pick out of Penn State back in 2015 who made the PFWA All-Rookie Team. He then took a step back before firmly establishing himself in Chicago’s back end over the past two years.
When the Bears let Amos test the market, the Packers pounced, agreeing to contract terms very quickly.
“Green Bay basically let it be known that they wanted me,” Amos said. “I just feel like they came on in the forefront.”
Amos doesn’t have any flashy, big-play numbers. Those belong to his safety partner in Chicago, Eddie Jackson. But he did intercept two passes last year, plus another in the playoffs, and his overall and coverage grades from Pro Football Focus rank in the top eight in the league each of the last two seasons.
Pettine is sure to like the fact that Amos can play wherever he’s asked to. As successful as Chicago’s defense was, Amos doesn’t consider himself a system player.
“I feel like you can plug me in anywhere, and I feel like that’s what I have been doing,” he said. “I’ve only been in one system in the NFL, but who’s to say that another system is not my best system?
“I had four different D-coordinators in college. I’m able to do multiple different things. I just don’t have to be in the box, I just don’t have to be in the post or I just don’t have to play the half. I don’t even have to just play safety. I feel like I can move around in that way.”
That’ll help as the Packers search for a partner to pair with Amos in the back end, whether through another free-agent acquisition or via the draft. That’ll determine, in part, if Amos will settle into a particular role or continue to perform multiple ones all over the field.
However it shakes out, Amos plans to bring two things to the Packers’ defense above all others. The first is physicality, signified by the jeweled chain with the word “Smash” in all caps he wears around his neck. The second is accountability.
“I feel like that’s the biggest thing – everyone can count on me to do my job and be where I’m supposed to be when I’m supposed to be there,” he said.
As for a potential leadership role in what could be – Williams’ presence notwithstanding – a very young Packers’ secondary in 2019, Amos said if his teammates begin to look to him that way, he’ll take it on. As Chicago rebuilt its defense early in his career, he learned a lot about handling both adversity and success that he feels will continue to serve him well.
“The Packers felt that it was in their best interest to get me here, and they valued me,” he said. “I’m thankful for my time in Chicago and I’m just looking forward to being a Packer.”
Snapshots of newly-signed Green Bay Packers S Adrian Amos