Six secondary standouts from football’s week that was:
Mike Adams, SS, Colts (NFL) — In a league that places a premium on preparation, sometimes a defense is vulnerable when facing a backup or rookie quarterback, since there is little to no film to use to draw up a game plan. But the veteran Adams had no problem adapting to change in Indianapolis’ 41-17 win over the Titans on Sunday. He intercepted Tennessee backup Charlie Whitehurst (who was starting in place of injured Jake Locker) and got an INT off third-string rookie Zach Mettenberger.
Ishmael Adams, FS, UCLA (NCAA) — The junior safety left his footprints, and probably some scorched turf, all over the Bruins’ 62-27 win over Arizona State on Thursday. Adams returned an interception 95 yards for a touchdown right before halftime, then returned a kickoff 100 yards for a score in the third quarter. He finished with 296 all-purpose yards and became the first FBS player since Pacman Jones in 2003 to score on an interception and a kickoff return on the road.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB, Giants (NFL) — Last week, the Giants’ secondary made this list as a collective after racking up three interceptions and a sack against the Texans. This week, New York’s DBs notched four picks and a fumble recovery in a 45-14 win over Washington. But the standout was a guy who never touched the football and made only one tackle. Rodgers-Cromartie drew the assignment of sticking DeSean Jackson, and he held him to just one catch for nine yards. By blanketing Washington’s top receiver, Rodgers-Cromartie helped facilitate QB Kirk Cousins’ national-TV meltdown.
Tony Conner, SS, Ole Miss (NCAA) — On a weekend when Ole Miss honored the late Chucky Mullins, a Rebels defensive back who was paralyzed during a game in 1989 and passed away 18 months later, Conner helped lead a stellar defensive team effort. The sophomore safety/linebacker hybrid — he plays the “Huskie” position in Ole Miss’ 4-2-5 defense — had seven tackles, including two for losses, in a 24-3 win over Memphis on Saturday. The Rebels’ D carried its struggling offense, holding the Tigers to just 104 total yards.
Aaron Grymes & Ryan Hinds, Edmonton (CFL) — Grymes, a defensive halfback, and Hinds, a safety, each had an interception in the Eskimos’ 24-0 shutout of Saskatchewan on Friday. Grymes’ pick was especially big, as he snagged Tino Sunseri’s pass to a streaking receiver right in front of the goal line to help keep Saskatchewan scoreless. It was Edmonton’s first clean sheet since 2003, and moved them into a tie with the Roughriders for second place in the West Division.
Tavon Young, CB, Temple (NCAA) — The Owls’ defense has been so good this season, John Chaney would be proud. Temple has scored a defensive touchdown in each of its four games, creating 17 turnovers and posting a nation’s best 2.67 per-game turnover margin. In Saturday’s 36-10 win over UConn, Young kept the streak going with a 93-yard interception return for a touchdown on the Huskies’ first possession.