The Oakland Raiders have been devastated by injuries in the secondary all season. Their starting cornerbacks to begin the year were only able to play together for one half before injuries victimized the position. After trying many different combinations with varying success, the Raiders may have finally found their cornerback answer in Phillip Adams.
Adams was drafted in the seventh round of the 2010 NFL Draft out of South Carolina State by the San Francisco 49ers. He played in 15 games his rookie season then bounced around to the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks before finding a home with Oakland. Adams was signed just two days before Oakland played their first game of 2012 and has appeared in all 13 games this year.
When the season started the Raiders starting cornerbacks were Ron Bartell and Shawntae Spencer, who they signed as free agents. Then Bartell injured his shoulder in the first half of the season opener. Then Spencer sustained a foot injury and has since been placed on injured reserve. Free safety Michael Huff moved to cornerback as a stopgap and injury replacement. He was placed in a very difficult situation and has had difficulties adjusting. On Thursday night Huff injured his wrist and was replaced by Adams.
“Mostly because of the wrist, but really we talked about it early in the week that we wanted to get Phillip [Adams] in there some and he’d earned the right to get more playing time,” Raiders head coach Dennis Allen said. “So we had a plan to get him in there anyway.”
It was no surprise Oakland wanted to give Adams more game time. He has been steadily improving throughout the season. He mostly played on special teams earlier in the year and had problems fumbling on punt returns. He corrected those issues and as the injuries built in the secondary, Adams took advantage of his increased reps at cornerback. Two weeks ago against Cleveland, Adams broke out with an interception and a pass break-up. He followed that performance with a terrific diving interception and two more pass defenses of Peyton Manning the next game.
“I was real pleased with the way Phillip Adams played and Phillip has earned the right to get more playing time,” Allen said after the game.
Now with three games left in the Raiders' season, Adams could be in line for his first career start. He has impressed the coaching staff with consecutive solid games. With a 3-10 record, the Raiders are trying to find players to build around next year. If Adams finishes the season like he has played the last two games, he will be one of those players.
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