The Detroit Lions are still trying to figure out what the plan is at cornerback, as injuries have cleared their depth at the position. With top corner Jeff Okudah out for the season, third-round rookie Ifeatu Melifonwu on injured reserve for the foreseeable future and free agent addition Quinton Dunbar not working out, the Lions have turned to their youth for answers.
After too many struggles from converted safety Bobby Price, the Lions handed the starting job to undrafted rookie Jerry Jacobs against the Minnesota Vikings. Tasked for most of the game with shutting down the talented Adam Thielen, Jacobs was up to the task. Lions head coach Dan Campbell came away impressed with the rookie’s first start.
“I think Jerry was pretty good,” Campbell said.
Throughout the entire game, Jacobs was targeted just three times and allowed two receptions for 35 yards. And while it appeared he may have been responsible for both of the big Thielen big catches on the final drive that led to the Vikings’ winning field goal, Campbell said the issues lied elsewhere with at least one play.
“(The Vikings are) throwing out bait and you’ve got an underneath receiver who’s trying to make you bite on it, and in the first one A.J. (Parker) bit on it and then they threw the dagger right behind him,” Campbell said.
Overall, PFF credited Jacobs with just a 52.8 coverage grade, but considering the tough draw in his first NFL start and the fact that he was not responsible for much of the Vikings’ success in the passing game, I would say it was mostly a successful debut for the rookie.
Jerry Jacobs had Adam Thielen ⬇️— PFF DET Lions (@PFF_Lions) October 11, 2021
0 touchdowns pic.twitter.com/O8grZLKt2E
- Campbell also sang the praises of linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin, who he called one of the most improved players this year. Justin Rogers of the Detroit News has more.
- Speaking of improved players, Charles Harris is starting to resurrect his career. Through five games, he has already set a career-high with 4.0 sacks on the year, and he’s even breaking some franchise records in Detroit:
OLB Charles Harris has had sacks in four consecutive games for the #Lions.— Detroit Lions (@Lions) October 11, 2021
His four-game sack streak ties for the longest in team history and is the longest that a free agent acquisition has had in his first season with Detroit.#OnePride pic.twitter.com/I2tBNcNMLX
- Jeff Risdon of Lions Wire has an interesting article on Detroit’s lack of downfield passing on third down. Per his findings, Jared Goff threw beyond the sticks zero out of nine times on third down.
(Note: Goff actually threw beyond the sticks on his first third-down throw, but Risdon’s point still very much stands.)
- And to highlight Risdon’s point, Goff’s completed air yard average (average yards each completion travels beyond the line of scrimmage) is painfully low right now:
Jared Goff's average completed air yards yesterday was 2.5, per the NFL's NextGen Stats. That's tied for the second-lowest number of the season, behind only ....... Jared Goff in Week 3, at 2.1 yards.— Chris Burke (@ChrisBurkeNFL) October 11, 2021
- In happier news, MLive’s Kyle Meinke has a neat story on the Lions’ two-point conversion that nearly won the game against Minnesota. Apparently, that play had been months in the making, and it was designed for Quintez Cephus—but KhaDarel Hodge had to run it with Cephus injured. Check out the full story here.
- The Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit’s Week 6 opponent, is dealing with a COVID issue:
The Bengals placed OL Jackson Carman and RB Samaje Perine on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) October 11, 2021