Despite an impressive late-season showing with the Oakland Raiders in 2012, cornerback Phillip Adams still can’t seem to get any sort of respect. If he keeps playing the way he did in the 2013 preseason opener, though, someone will have to take notice eventually.
For those of you who may have missed it, I’ve been talking up Adams all offseason as a potential breakout candidate for the Raiders. The third-year cornerback gave us glimpses of greatness last season, and could be in position to emerge as a dependable cover man for the silver and black this upcoming campaign.
His first outing of 2013 – the Raiders’ preseason opener against the Dallas Cowboys – was a good one.
In 29 snaps, Adams racked up four tackles and didn’t allow either of the passes thrown his way to be completed, notching one defended pass in the process. According to Pro Football Focus, he was the highest-rated Raiders defender of the game, finishing with a 2.0 rating.
While his coverage was stout, the really impressive part of Adams’ performance was his run defense. He consistently stepped up when the ball came his way, allowing him to pick up four tackles and finish with a 1.1 rating against the run. His stats and rating might have been even better had Anthony Armstrong not gotten away with a hold.
Considering that current starting cornerbacks Mike Jenkins (-0.4) and Tracy Porter (-0.7) both graded out negatively in less snaps, there’s a good chance that Adams could earn some significant playing time with the Raiders if he stays consistent throughout the preseason. The fact that rookie first-rounder D.J. Hayden still hasn’t been cleared for contact is also helping his case.
Even after a 2012 season that saw him pick off future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning and end the year with a 4.7 rating, Adams continues to fly under the radar in Oakland. The Raiders, however, are starting to get the picture that he’s a reliable cornerback who can be efficient against both the run and pass.
Keep a close eye on Adams this season. He might just be starting for the Raiders sooner rather than later.