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Panthers rookie: I played in the SEC, NFL speed is not overwhelming


Rookies frequently report after their first NFL practices that the biggest adjustment they’ll have to make is getting accustomed to the speed of professional football. But Panthers rookie receiver Joe Adams doesn’t see it that way.

Adams, a fourth-round draft pick out of Arkansas who says he has run a 4.25-second 40-yard dash, told that he has no trouble adjusting to NFL speed.

It’s not overwhelming at all. I played in the SEC, where guys are pretty much this fast,” Adams said. “Now, they’re probably not this big.”

Football in the SEC isn’t really as fast as football in the NFL, but Adams certainly showed in the SEC that he’s fast enough for the NFL. He’s best known for an incredible punt return against Tennessee in which he dodged six tacklers before breaking into the clear and turning on the jets.

“A lot of people come up and ask me if I’m the guy that returned those punts,” Adams said. “And every time someone realizes who I am, they always bring up Tennessee. . . . That probably was the craziest punt return I’ve ever had. I remember breaking all those tackles and all the fans screaming. Afterwards, I went home and watched it on highlights. It was on ESPN for a couple of weeks. I was pretty amazed at the things that I did.”

So Adams is amazed at his own speed. But not the speed of the NFL.

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43 Responses to “Panthers rookie: I played in the SEC, NFL speed is not overwhelming”
  1. vtsquirm says: May 17, 2012 5:15 PM

    “Now, they’re probably not this big.”

    i was going to say… wait till a 6-3 linebacker flattens him running over the middle.

  2. footballfanatic1906 says: May 17, 2012 5:16 PM

    Save the bravado dude until you play a regular season game!

  3. trodriguez89 says: May 17, 2012 5:16 PM

    Just wait until he’s blanketed by those corners

  4. lolb23 says: May 17, 2012 5:17 PM

    It’s not so much the speed that’s over-whelming, it’s the end result of being completely blind sided by a 250 lb. LB at that speed.

  5. sgtr0c says: May 17, 2012 5:24 PM

    Wow, a football player who might actually understand simple physics. Running 100 mph is one thing, running 100 mph into a bag of cotton balls,…probably the same thing, running 100 mph into a John Deere lawn tractor going 100 mph also…..The NFL.

    Good for him, I hope he does well. Not a Panther fan, but good for him.

  6. bozosforall says: May 17, 2012 5:26 PM

    He went to Arkansas…they aren’t too bright over there.

    See: Petrino, Bobby

  7. bobulated says: May 17, 2012 5:29 PM

    His first mistake is believing the Panther D he’s practicing against is even average by NFL standards.

  8. tombrookshire says: May 17, 2012 5:29 PM

    My man is painting a big red bull’s eye on his back. He’ll be hearing the words “welcome to the NFL, son”, with a bunch of little birdies circling his rookie noggin.

  9. bass1717 says: May 17, 2012 5:30 PM

    The ONLY reason he is saying this is because he will be a KR/PR only, he sucks as a WR and won’t get much time there….meaning he won’t get hit too much…..if he was gonna actually “play” instead of just returning kicks, he would be singing a different tune….he is terrible as a WR

  10. rubicon202 says: May 17, 2012 5:33 PM

    I’ll be watching this brother 2 C how he does if he even gets on the field…wait until veterans on opposing teams here what he said…has concussion written all over it…

  11. ken0west says: May 17, 2012 5:34 PM

    Tim Tebow has said the same thing. He said it is the anticipation and not the speed. He then joked that the SEC is 1/2 of the NFL DB’s.

  12. tigers182 says: May 17, 2012 5:40 PM

    He was probably paid more in the $EC than in the NFL too.

  13. renaissanceman87 says: May 17, 2012 5:40 PM

    When NFL players talk about the ‘speed of the game’, they’re referring to the mental aspect of the game, the decision making, quick-recognition of complex offensive and defensive schemes happening in high-speed over a few seconds. When players say “The game has slowed down for them”, it’s their mind catching up to the whirlwind around them.

    Running a 4.25 has absolutely nothing at all to do with this concept that separates all-pros from the all-joes.

  14. joetoronto says: May 17, 2012 5:45 PM

    This just in, the speed in May is NOT the same as the speed in September.

  15. squared80 says: May 17, 2012 5:56 PM

    It’s not about just speed of the players – it’s about the speed of the game… if that makes sense. A lot more going on than in college in a smaller frame of time.

    Good luck with that, rook.

  16. Deb says: May 17, 2012 6:00 PM

    @bozosforall …

    He went to Arkansas. No, Bobby Petrino isn’t too bright when it comes to managing his personal life. But Adams played his college ball competing in the SEC West. Alabama, Arkansas, and LSU alone have drafted 48 players in the last four years. So he has seen a lot of NFL-worthy talent.

  17. ruvelligwebuike says: May 17, 2012 6:06 PM

    Big Ten guy: The speed is an adjustment, but my teammate’s inability to read has been the biggest hurdle.

  18. chiadam says: May 17, 2012 6:07 PM

    The speed of the NFL has nothing to do with how fast you run 40 yards in your shorts. If this guy – whomever he is – can mange to get open in the NFL, it’ll only last for a fraction of a second. Then he’s covered, then he’s hit, then the DB is running the other way with the ball. That’s the speed of the NFL.

  19. rhymenosaurus says: May 17, 2012 6:20 PM

    It’s not that NFL players *run* that much faster than collegiate players. It’s that they *react* much faster. He’ll soon notice the difference.

  20. sguy2130 says: May 17, 2012 6:29 PM

    Not exactly a ringing endorsement of his fellow draft picks…

  21. randomcommenter says: May 17, 2012 6:30 PM

    Bama had a bunch of guys drafted but none of them were speedsters. This notion of SEC speed is completely overblown. The combine proves it every year. The SEC on average may have a few more speed guys per team but still that means each team has like 2 or 3 guys who run at what is considered fast by NFL standards.

    SEC people like to act like every guy on every team in the SEC runs a 4.3 forty.

    I remember Darren McFadden saying something similar when he came out and then proceeded to do nothing for the first few seasons of his career because he thought he could just outrun everybody. Same with Reggie bush.

  22. latchbeam says: May 17, 2012 6:39 PM

    “Hey, do you know who is really awesome?? Me!”
    This guy is totally full of himself!! Side note: He did not run under a 4.3… ever! He probably didn’t break 4.4.

  23. darthhitman77 says: May 17, 2012 6:44 PM

    renaissanceman87 says: May 17, 2012 5:40 PM

    When NFL players talk about the ‘speed of the game’, they’re referring to the mental aspect of the game, the decision making, quick-recognition of complex offensive and defensive schemes happening in high-speed over a few seconds. When players say “The game has slowed down for them”, it’s their mind catching up to the whirlwind around them.

    Running a 4.25 has absolutely nothing at all to do with this concept that separates all-pros from the all-joes.


    Because the players in the NFL being faster, getting to the QB quicker, sticking with WRs better in the secondary etc. would have anything to do with quicker reads and decision making now would it? Fool

  24. Deb says: May 17, 2012 6:45 PM

    @randomcommenter …

    I’m a Bama diehard, but the NFL is my first love. Why? It’s a harder and much faster game. Even so, when the SEC is mentioned, I gotta represent. It’s in the DNA. 😉

  25. bullcharger says: May 17, 2012 6:51 PM

    That’s about the 5th thing I’ve read where rookies are saying how they know everything. They all should just be quiet and listen more. This guy is a 4th rnd pick. He could be cut in 1 second.

  26. granadafan says: May 17, 2012 7:05 PM

    DeSean Jackson’s punt return TD at CAL against Tennessee was better.

  27. lpdog32 says: May 17, 2012 7:08 PM

    This guy has what it takes to make it on the next level already….CONFIDENCE. What he has upstairs will take him further than anyone here is giving him credit for. Welcome to the Panthers Joe! Looking forward to some excitement in the punt return game this year. Something this team hasn’t had in over a decade.

  28. qdog112 says: May 17, 2012 7:09 PM

    Joe – shut up !!! I am tHe biggest Panthers fan and I believe Adams to be an asset, but he should take a page from another guy who played pretty well in the SEC named Cam Newton, and try modesty. At least wait until you do something. I hope Cam and Smitty got him on the phone the minute his words were published and “locked his heels.”

  29. johnnyjagfan says: May 17, 2012 7:26 PM

    First some rookie corner talks about how often he’ll pick off Drew Brees and now this…

    However, the SEC has some teams that would have beaten Indy last season.

  30. zeke2517 says: May 17, 2012 7:27 PM


  31. zeke2517 says: May 17, 2012 7:28 PM

    The Carolina panthers are going to be awesome in never.

  32. objectivenflfan says: May 17, 2012 7:28 PM

    Man, we have a room full of posters on this site who apparently know SEC and NFL speed. I’m shocked so many of you have experience at these levels!

    Apparently, Joe Adams doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He only runs in the low 4.4’s and got drafted out of Arkansas.

  33. bamaboy3023 says: May 17, 2012 7:46 PM

    He will soon learn and eat those words.

  34. themonster49 says: May 17, 2012 8:49 PM

    His forearms are bigger than his calves. Its gonna be a rude awakening when a 350 lb guy takes him down by the legs. He might feel a little slower then.

  35. commandercornpone says: May 17, 2012 9:28 PM

    it isnt just speed, altho a lot of guys in the pros were fast coming out of college.

    it’s pads too. some are fast in them, and consistently. some are not.

    it’s speed… desire… money… keeping yer job… physicality… and now theyre all pissed at a possible new target. even people on his team.

  36. botchedextrapoint says: May 17, 2012 9:57 PM

    Watched the clip and no way he breaks those tackles in the NFL. TD in college and a 10 yard loss in the NFL.

  37. randomcommenter says: May 17, 2012 10:40 PM

    Of course some SEC person had to drop the SEC team would beat NFL team line.

    The Colts would beat Bama or LSU by 50. Easy. Freeney would have 8 sacks by halftime.

  38. detroitcityryda says: May 18, 2012 12:13 AM

    The new t.o. aka big mouth wr diva

  39. kenyonsupertramp says: May 18, 2012 5:46 AM

    Sleep at your own risk. 27th to 5th ranked offense in one yr w new staff new qb and no offseason. By all means continue sleeping. Fear these Panthers. Oh and if you think we comin w the same D as last yr…just remember who our coach is. Night night.

  40. brasho says: May 18, 2012 7:47 AM

    4.25? In what, the 35? Adams ran in the mid 4.5 range electroncally timed and barely broke 4.5 at his pro day hand-timed. I was surprised he ran that slowly, but for him to say he ran a 4.25 is ridiculous. He barely runs a 4.5. The NFL is littered full of ex-SEC studs that are now major duds.

  41. savocabol1 says: May 18, 2012 8:31 AM

    Considering that his only NFL action thus far has been with the Panthers, this is saying a lot about the Panthers speed.

    Nice one rook.

  42. Deb says: May 18, 2012 12:03 PM

    @randomcommenter …

    Oh, now just a minute. I’d take that bet on last season’s Bama defense vs. last season’s Colts. I watched both those teams play. Did you?

  43. jgedgar70 says: May 18, 2012 1:30 PM

    If Joe Adams played for the Giants, Jets, Patriots or Packers, everyone would be raving about his great confidence. Bus since he plays for the Panthers, everyone screams and yells about how he’s going to get destroyed on the field, and how much they hate him for talking like this.

    You’re haters, plain and simple. The Panthers are here to stay. The Super Bowl will soon be ours. Deal with it.

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