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NY Jets: Marcus Maye is playing his natural free safety position again

NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
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The NY Jets have moved Marcus Maye back to his natural position at free safety.

The NY Jets had high hopes for Marcus Maye entering the 2020 season. Following the departure of Jamal Adams in the offseason, the hope was that Maye could be the primary player to pick up where Adams left off.

While it would have been foolish to ever expect Maye to produce quite as much as Adams did, his performance in the summer left many excited for what could have been a breakout campaign for Maye.

The Jets began to expand Maye’s role in the defense and allowed him to play the Adams-esque role that saw him lined up everywhere from box safety to slot cornerback to even patrolling the middle of the field as a linebacker.

And in Week 1, Maye took center stage as the true star of the defense living up to his pre-season hype. Unfortunately, since that game, the rest of his season has fallen rather flat.

Despite being ranked by Pro Football Focus as a top-five safety after his elite Week 1 performance, Maye fell all the way to 34th in the league prior to Week 6. That’s still starting-caliber, but certainly a far cry from the potential he showed in Week 1.

In fact, that grade was on track to be the worst of his four-year career. Fortunately, the Jets made an important and necessary change that provided Maye with a much-needed boost.

The team officially put an end to the experiment that saw the talented safety being used in the Adams-esque role and put Maye back in his typical center-field role in Week 6.

The result was an elite game from the former second-round pick.

Marcus Maye thrived as a deep safety with the NY Jets in Week 6.

Maye finished with a 93.2 overall grade from PFF in Week 6 which ranked fourth among all players in the NFL. For the first time since Week 1, Maye looked like the defensive playmaker everyone knows he can be.

The highlight of the day was a circus interception where he pinned the ball against his backside to secure the turnover.

Through the first five weeks of the season, Maye played right around 20 percent of his snaps as a deep safety. Around 22 percent was spent in the slot and over 50 percent of his snaps saw him down in the box.

But in Week 6, Maye was used as a deep safety for over 80 percent of his defensive snaps — a figure that even trumped his 2019 average. And given how well he played, it’s safe to say that the change was the correct decision.

Marcus Maye isn’t Jamal Adams. While he showed the ability to expand his game not only in the summer but in Week 1, Maye is best served roaming the defensive backfield as a deep safety.

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And it seems as though the Jets have come to that conclusion as well.

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