NY Jets’ safety Marcus Maye has been one of the biggest standouts from training camp thus far.
From a possible trade piece to the idea that he was surely a goner after this season, Maye’s future with the Jets has remained murky ever since the team selected Cal safety Ashtyn Davis in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
But as of right now, few players remain more integral to the success of the Jets’ defense than Maye. And he’s made that very apparent through his showing in training camp so far.
Following the Jamal Adams trade, the conversation regarding Maye shifted. No longer did the Jets have to worry about paying Adams a monster extension that was likely to spell the end of his position-mate’s future in New York.
Instead, Maye enters the 2020 season as the team’s longest-tenured defensive back and arguably their best as well. And when all is said and done, there’s a good chance he might be sticking around for the forseaable future.
With the acquisition of veteran Bradley McDougald, many expected the former Seattle Seahawks’ safety to take over the role that Adams filled last season.
After all, Maye had primarily been used as a prototypical free safety to this point — which in Gregg Williams’ scheme means playing 20-30 yards off the ball.
But that hasn’t been the case so far. In fact, it’s been Maye who’s filling the shoes that Adams wore last season.
Marcus Maye has been playing the Jamal Adams role in the NY Jets’ defense.
The former Florida star has transitioned into more of a do-everything role. That includes playing near the line of scrimmage, lining up in the slot, and hovering around the linebacker position — three things that Maye hasn’t done really at any level to this point.
And he isn’t just filling that role. He’s excelling in it.
Few players have been as disruptive as Maye has been through the start of training camp. Williams has asked Maye to play the role of a blitzer, be in man coverage, middle zone, deep zone, and even a little off-ball linebacker.
Maye isn’t the same player as Adams, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been thriving in a similar role.
On Tuesday, Maye narrowly missed recording his first interception of camp when he undercut a throw from Sam Darnold to Chris Herndon. Unfortunately, the ball would deflect of Maye’s hands and into the awaiting arms of Herndon who picked up the first down.
But that play is an example of Maye’s ability to read the quarterback’s eyes and anticipate plays — something Adams always did exceptionally well.
Marcus Maye isn’t asked to be Jamal Adams. That’s never been his game on or off the field. Instead, he’s being asked to become an expanded version of himself.
And the early results have been promising, to say the least.