Robert Saleh Went out of His Way to Hide Young Jets Standout

Robert Saleh, Jets

Getty New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh celebrating a massive play during the preseason.

The New York Jets identified and targeted defensive back, Tony Adams, following the 2022 NFL draft. Gang Green had him graded as a draft-eligible player, however, they ran out of selections after trading up earlier.

Fortunately, he was still available after the draft in undrafted free agency and the Jets were able to successfully recruit him to New York. Although something you may not know is how much the Jets tried to hide him throughout training camp.

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Can You Keep a Secret?

When Adams made the roster a lot of fans’ responses on social media was, who?

Even the most die-hard Jets lovers were left scratching their heads. Although after the latest nugget from Rich Cimini of ESPN, you should feel a little bit better:

“Jets head coach Robert Saleh has conducted 27 news conferences since the start of training camp in late July, and the name of rookie safety Tony Adams didn’t come up until this week. Reporters didn’t ask about him during camp and Saleh, not wanting to tip off other teams, wasn’t about to volunteer an opinion. The sleeper of all sleepers, Adams made the roster as an undrafted free agent out of Illinois. Now, of course, they’re gushing about him.”

During press conferences, you’ll often hear reporters ask softball questions like, who has stood out in camp? In asking that, reporters are hoping the head coach will give them some intel on a player so they can obviously write and cover that story.

However, when the reporters overlooked Adams, Saleh was more than happy to not provide any free information. Why do that?

Well every NFL team employs pro scouts whose job is to study every roster in the league. They do that for potential waiver wire claims, future free agents, trades, and any acquisition that you could possibly think of.

The only information that the Jets have to give to the other teams is whatever shows up on tape during preseason games. Everything else is behind closed doors.

If Adams didn’t make the Jets roster, they would’ve liked to sneak him through waivers to get him on the practice squad. However, if there was any buzz created by something Saleh said, maybe he wouldn’t have made it.

Ultimately the Jets chose not to even risk it with Saleh saying the team “would have been sick” if they lost him. So they kept Adams on the 53-man roster.

A Plan That Makes Sense

Every offseason there is a player that is surprisingly cut that we didn’t see coming.

One of those releases in 2022 was cornerback Javelin Guidry.

He originally made the team as an undrafted free agent out of Utah back in 2020. During his two years with the squad, Guidry played in over 28 games and started in five of those contests.

The 24-year-old cornerback seemed slotted to fill the backup slot role behind Michael Carter II. Although when he was dumped it left a lot of us looking around the roster asking, who the heck is going to do that job now?

We may have learned the answer to that question on the latest episode of the official Jets podcast. The featured guest was assistant general manager Rex Hogan and he dropped a lot of fascinating nuggets on an unlikely solution to that problem:

“We had always identified Tony as a guy that we wanted on our roster. He had a background as both a cornerback and a safety at Illinois. So when he first got here our numbers were a little down at corner with some injuries so he hopped right in during OTAs. Adams is the ultimate team guy stepping in at corner because we brought him in to play safety.”

Jets senior reporter Eric Allen then followed up by asking about that level of positional flexibility could Adams be an emergency nickel guy?

“Potentially. We like guys who have that value, asset, and traits. So we see that [option] as an asset with him,” Hogan responded.

Adams spent five seasons at Illinois and delivered a ton of production:

  • Over 206 total tackles
  • 11.5 tackles for loss
  • Six interceptions

Now the 23-year-old will be able to contribute at safety, slot corner, and of course on special teams where he really impressed the coaching staff during camp.

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