With cornerback Tre Herndon out in Week 1, the Jacksonville Jaguars had to turn to rookie cornerback Tyson Campbell. Herndon won’t be available for the Jag’s Week 2 matchup versus the Denver Broncos, so the Jags will lean on the rookie corner once again on Sunday.
Herndon has been dealing with an MCL injury since the preseason and has been day-to-day. Although the fourth-year cornerback practiced in the days preceding the matchup, he will need to wait to make his debut in the 2021 regular season. Thus, Campbell will once again get playing time. Against the Houston Texans, the 33rd overall pick in the 2021 draft played 29 snaps and allowed five receptions on five targets. He’s been having issues locating the ball in coverage, and the coaching staff has been working with him to fix them.
Regardless of the reason Campbell is struggling, the team needs him to get out of the funk. Back in the preseason, he gave up two touchdowns. Again, he has trouble turning his body around when playing the ball. He could benefit from watching from the sideline but the Jags don’t have that luxury with Herndon out. Maybe the coaching staff thought the former Bulldog was ready but he hasn’t shown he is.
Besides ruling Herndon out, the Jaguars listed rookie EDGE defender Jordan Smith as questionable for Sunday. He had the same designation last week and ended up on the inactives list. Lerentee McCray played 19 percent of the team’s defensive snaps and 83 percent of the special teams snaps. He was listed as limited on the days ahead of the Jaguars’ Week 2 matchup versus the Broncos.
The Jacksonville Jaguars’ secondary must limit big plays in Week 2.
Campbell himself was listed as questionable but got the same status last week and ended up playing against the Texans. In Week 2, he and the rest of the Jaguars’ secondary must contain the Broncos’ passing game. The fact that wide receiver Jerry Jeudy won’t play will help but they will KJ Hamler and Tim Patrick are nothing to scoff at. Also, Jacksonville’s defense needs to account for tight end Noah Fant, so this will be a tough matchup despite the fact that Denver will be without their top wideout.
Of course, the Jaguars’ defensive front must do a better job of rushing the quarterback. No cornerback can cover a wide receiver forever and the front seven needs to make quarterback Tedy Bridgewater uncomfortable when throwing the ball. Still, Campbell, along with Shaquill Griffin and sophomore C.J. Henderson must reduce the number of big plays they allow. Against the Texans, the three of them gave up at least one.
If the Jacksonville Jaguars’ defense can prevent Denver’s offense from getting to the end zone and can force a couple of turnovers, the offense won’t have to play catch up. That would increase their chances of beating the Broncos in their home opener.