The Green Bay Packers defense may be more talented this season than it has been in years. Fans and members of the media concentrate their attention on Pro Bowl players like Jaire Alexander and Kenny Clark or on up and coming players like Eric Stokes and Rashan Gary or exciting rookies like Quay Walker and Devonte Wyatt.
But one player who is a key component of the team’s success on defense but it often overlooked is safety Adrian Amos.
It’s easy to see why Amos doesn’t get the attention of his higher profile teammates. He’s a veteran so there’s no anticipation surrounding what he may develop into. He’s never made the Pro Bowl in his seven seasons in the NFL. He also doesn’t make too many dramatic plays. In seven years in the league, Amos has never had more than two interceptions in a season and has nine total picks for his career.
But for those in the know, teammates, scouts and coaches, Amos is one of the most valuable players on the Packers defense. Why? Because his is smart, consistent, always in the right position and leads by example both on and off the field. He is also a leader on and off the field. In short, Amos’ consistency and versatility helps makes his teammates better.
Defensive coordinator Joe Barry explained this to reporters midway through the 2021 season. “Smash is a stud. There’s a reason he was voted a captain. He played a lot of football at a high level even going back to his high school days,” Barry told reporters. “He’s a joy to work with, not just him as a football player, but it’s more than that. I think he’s so good with the young guys. He’s just so mature and squared away and he’s definitely a guy like a young player…ever came to me and asked, I’d say watch Adrian Amos. If you want to know how to be a pro, everything he does, the way he conducts himself, on the practice field, the meeting room, walk throughs. Obviously, the way he plays, but he’s an unbelievable family man. So, he’s an A-plus in every category.”
“When you make it in this league and play a few years, you grow and you learn and you mature,” Barry added. “But a guy like Adrian, I noticed that at a young age, how mature he was, how football savvy he was, how football aware he was. So, it’s no shock that he’s gotten to the level that he’s at.”
Another reason Amos is so valuable is his reliability. In three years with the Packers, Amos has played in all 49 regular-season games the team has played and all five playoff games. He has never been on the field for less than 97 percent of the team’s defensive snaps since signing with Green Bay. Amos is on the field in all situations. He plays in the base defense and in all packages. He can play centerfield in the passing game and help support on run defense.
One player who clearly benefitted from Amos’ presence was the Packers other starting safety, Darnell Savage. Savage was drafted by the Packers in the first round the same year Amos signed with the team. The younger safety says he learned a lot from his veteran counterpart.
“Adrian always seems the same. That’s good because it keeps everybody around him even-keeled as well, not too high, not too low,” Savage said. “It’s just business as usual with him. Start with me, just taking that big brother role to me. Half the time I don’t have to say anything or ask anything, I can just kind of watch him and take notes off that by just being observant. He’s meant a lot to me. My locker’s right next to him, so I can ask questions whenever I need to, watch film with him, his house is always open to me, all that kind of stuff. He’s been a great role mode and just leader. Extremely dependable. Always in the right place. Really, to have a good defense you need those kinds of players.”
Amos may not make a lot of interceptions, but when he does make them, they often come at the most important moments. In his first game with the Packers, he intercepted Mitch Trubisky in the end zone to preserve the Packers 10-3 win over the Bears during Matt LaFleur’s head coaching debut. He later had an interception of Tom Brady in the 2020 NFC Championship Game and had another interception in the Packers playoff game against San Francisco last season.
“I think he’s been awesome in terms of, you know, just consistency,” LaFleur said. “Just a calming veteran presence that can make plays on the football. And just a consistent guy, whether it’s practice, games. He’s the same every day and you can always count on him.”
Packers GM Brian Gutekunst also acknowledges how important Amos’ versatility is to the team. “He’s an explosive athlete, very good tackler. I thought he could play in the box, near the line of scrimmage,” Gutekunst said. “You can move him around, blitz him, do some different things with him. He can play the post, as well. In his career, I thought you saw as he grew and his instincts grew, he became more and more of a playmaker.”
Amos is heading into the final year of his contract in 2022. He will turn 30 next offseason and the Packers will have a tough decision to make when deciding whether to offer the former Penn State star a new contract or let him leave in free agency. Don’t bet against Amos making a strong case to stay in Green Bay with his outstanding play this season.
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