It wasn’t a dream first start for Adoree’ Jackson with the Tennessee Titans, but there were positive signs for the rookie cornerback.
Former USC Football star Adoree’ Jackson made his first start Sunday as the Tennessee Titans squared off with the Chicago Bears.
The Titans selected Jackson with 18th overall pick in the first round of the 2017 NFL draft. In the first two preseason games, Jackson was working primarily with the second defensive unit, but entered the game as a first teamer on Sunday.
Jackson had a rough time during his first start giving up a pair of first down catches, before surrendering a big 28-yard gain.
Unfortunately, the problems continued for Jackson as he was hit with a defensive pass interference call, which helped set the Bears up for their first touchdown of the game.
Later, he then fielded a punt inside the five-yard line, which resulted in him being tackled at the three-yard line.
After the game, Jackson owned up to his struggles:
"“You just have to keep fighting. You can’t do things like that in a regular season game, so I’m glad I got that out of the way. Everything happens for a reason, so I’m glad I got that out of the way. I know I have room to improve. There’s going to be adversity throughout games, and you want to make sure you have more ups than downs. I just have to keep getting better.”"
While it was clear that Bears were targeting the rookie defensive back, there were some positives.
Even though Jackson gave up catches, he did not appear lost or blow a coverage. He was always in a position to make the tackle or force the player out of bounds, holding his man to little or no yards after the catch. He also showed decisiveness and a trust in his instincts when coming up to support the run later in the game, including helping to make a stop in the backfield.
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Titans Head Coach Mike Mularkey made it clear that no starting positions have been decided. However, Jackson getting an opportunity to start in the “dress rehearsal” game is a good sign.
For only his third game in the NFL, there is clearly progress. Jackon’s hard work on the practice field is showing. The more comfortable he gets within the scheme, the more he will trust what he sees. Once that happens there is little question Jackson will become the playmaker the Titans drafted him to be.
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How long it will take for Jackson to get comfortable remains to be seen. Though, that time does not appear to be too far into the future.