Dane Jackson will be a key player for Bills opener
Buffalo's temporary replacement for Tre'Davious White has a chance to make a name for himself on prime time with his matchup against Cooper Kupp
CC: Buffalo Bills
BUFFALO, N.Y. (9-5-2022) - Buffalo Bills cornerback Dane Jackson played a significant role during the second half of the 2021 season. This Thursday, Bills fans should pay attention to him as he prepares to take on one of the league's elite in Los Angeles Rams receiver Cooper Kupp.
Jackson played 620 snaps in 2021, showing impressive coverage and tackling abilities. During training camp, he gained the respect of his teamates and coaches with defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier saying he gave all he could with the opportunites he had.
“His experience matters although it’s limited in the grand scheme of things,” said Frazier. “For us, he’s ahead of the rookie corners that we have.”
Jackson had to fill in for cornerback Tre'Davious White, who suffered a season ending ACL tear during the team's 31-6 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Thanksgiving. In six games, Jackson recorded 27 total tackles, six passes defended and zero interceptions. However, the corner out of the University of Pittsburgh contributed to the defense finishing no. 1 in the NFL.
White has not participated at all during training camp and is expected to miss the first four games of the season, according to the Bills organization. The media picked up on this beliving losing a huge part of the defense will leave the team shook saying, "It's hard to believe the Bills would not be a little nervous maybe a lot nervous about what could transpire through at least the first month of the season," WGRZ's NFL Insider Vic Carucci said. It's not a good time for the Bills to be shaken as Kupp finished 2021 with one of the best seasons for a receiver in NFL history.
Kupp led the league with 1,947 receiving yards, 145 receptions and 16 touchdowns while falling short of single season records. His athleticism and route running contributed to the Rams winning their second Super Bowl with him winning game MVP.
However, Jackson's performances last season had him going against big time receivers such as Mike Evans, Rob Gronkowski, Kyle Pitts and Calvin Ridley.
During the week 14 33-27 loss against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jackson showed good spacing in both his horizontal and vertical routes while defending Evans. Against Gronkowski, he showed he could keep up with anyone who outmatches him. The same thing happened while he defended Pitts in the team's 29-15 win against the Atlanta Falcons.
Jackson's coverage got the attention of his teammates with fellow cornerback Cam Lewis nicknaming him, 'straps.'
“I’ll say his football IQ, his knowledge of the game is good and he’s getting better each and every day,” said Lewis. “Like I said his man coverage is good like really good.”
However, Jackson has showed struggles during his time as a top corner. In week 16 against the New England Patriots, receiver N'Keal Harry, who many fans said never lived up to expectations, broke free from Jackson's coverage rather quickly. Sometimes he lacked aggression and trail technique which caused problems against Tyreek Hill and could do the same against Kupp
Jackson will have safeties Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde giving him backup while rookie Kair Elam will also depend on their veteran support.
"It's very, very, very helpful. For me, being a rookie, what they're doing, it's just mind blowing," Elam said.
Thursday's season opener will be comprised of interesting matchups. For Jackson, this will be an opportunity to have a breakout performance and give the Bills some comfort until White is cleared to play.