What You Might've Missed: Smart, sneaky safety

Packers veteran Adrian Amos uses instincts to play fast and effective on back end


GREEN BAY – Watching film of Packers safety Adrian Amos makes it easy to forget all the things he isn't.

He isn't the fastest or more athletically dynamic safety. He's not a league leader in interceptions. He's also not a Pro Bowler, though he's been an alternate once and there's an argument he's deserved the recognition more often.

But Amos is one smart safety who brings a heck of a lot to the Packers' defense. He's also sneaky fast, which shows up on the film when he uses his instincts to anticipate plays and get to a spot sooner than it appears he could.

The Jets game didn't go the Packers' way, but Amos was his usual smart, sure-footed self on the back end for Green Bay. Here's a sampling.

Play No. 1: First-and-10 from the New York 15, first quarter, 4:40 left

Result: 3-yard completion to TE C.J. Uzomah

Off play-action, Uzomah leaks out from a blocking assignment into the flat, and at the time QB Zach Wilson looks his way, Amos is at least eight yards away from the tight end. But he sees exactly where Wilson is going with the ball and starts to close the gap before the QB even throws it. Combined with the pressure from LB Jonathan Garvin (53) in Wilson's face forcing a slower, lofted throw, Amos gets there to keep it a minimal gain.

Play No. 2: Second-and-10 from the New York 8, second quarter, 10:55 left

Result: Incomplete pass

This is a new look for Amos, coming up to the line of scrimmage and blitzing the QB. The real savvy move is how he slaps away the hands of RT Alijah Vera-Tucker (75), just like an edge rusher would, to prevent the bigger blocker from locking him up. Once Vera-Tucker realizes he's beat, he tries to turn back inside to help on LB Preston Smith (91), but RB Breece Hall (20) has already stepped in to cut-block Smith, leaving Amos a clear path to Wilson to force the throwaway. It's slightly questionable whether Wilson was out of the pocket to avoid an intentional grounding penalty in the end zone, which would've been a safety, but there's no flag.

Play No. 3: Second-and-9 from the Green Bay 17, second quarter, 6:45 left

Result: 3-yard run by Hall

Similar to Play No. 1, the all-22 is the only way to see how much ground Amos covers, and how quickly. When Hall gets the handoff on the motion sweep, Amos is about 15 yards away from him, and the Jets have thrown two seal blocks inside with a lead blocker in front of the back. Amos closes that 15-yard gap in no time and limits what looked to be a much bigger gain. Two plays later, the Jets are getting only a field goal.

Play No. 4: Third-and-2 from the Green Bay 35, second quarter, :41 left

Result: Incomplete pass

This is a little different RPO action from Wilson, as he pulls the ball to keep it but also rolls to his left looking for a short, easy throw for the first down. With Wilson not showing much threat to run, Amos stays disciplined, and he manages to actually cover both WR Corey Davis (84) and Uzomah at the same time. With LB Rashan Gary (52) getting in the QB's face, Wilson tries to throw past the shorter targets to WR Garrett Wilson (17) along the sideline, but CB Jaire Alexander (23) is there for the breakup. On the next play, the Jets miss a field goal.

Play No. 5: Second-and-goal from the Green Bay 1, fourth quarter, 3:55 left

Result: 3-yard loss for Hall

This is an impressive play in goal-line defense. DL Kenny Clark (97) is the one who wrecks it, blasting into the backfield and pushing C Connor McGovern (60) back into Uzomah, who's trying to cut across the formation to throw a block. Clark's work slows down the play and opens a clear lane for Amos to knife into the backfield, and he does so quickly enough to avoid a potential block by WR Elijah Moore (8), who's actually chasing Amos through the hole. Unfortunately, the 3-yard loss is nullified by a personal foul on DL T.J. Slaton (93).

Play No. 6: Second-and-goal from the Green Bay 5, fourth quarter, 3:45 left

Result: 4-yard run by Hall

Two plays later, Amos is once again his smart and steady self. With Hall taking the wildcat snap, Amos has to hang with QB Wilson in the flat just in case Hall wants to toss him a short TD pass. As soon as Hall has no choice but to run, Amos attacks for the tackle, alertly diving at Hall's outside leg, knowing all the defensive help is to the inside. The move by Amos forces Hall to leave his feet, and the inside pursuit and hit by CB Eric Stokes (21) keeps the Jets out of the end zone.


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