Due to the shakeup of the New York Giants’ secondary, rookie cornerbacks Deonte Banks and Tre Hawkins III have started on the outside, while veteran Adoree’ Jackson primarily plays in the slot. Prior to the season, it was clear that the defensive lineup severely lacked experience. That lack of experience has shown so far this season.
Adoree’ Jackson is struggling in the slot
Jackson has a single-season career high of 86 slot cornerback snaps. This season, he has already accumulated 73 slot corner snaps.
The increased playing time at the position is causing Jackson to have the worst season of his career, allowing the second-worst stats in his career in yards per target (10.1), yards per reception (15.5), and passer rating against (114.8), according to Pro Football Focus.
With 25 snaps played in the slot and 24 snaps played out wide in Week 1, Jackson graded the lowest with a 32.9 PFF coverage grade (40.6 DEF). In Week 2, he received even more playing time in the slot, with 31 snaps inside compared to just 25 snaps out wide. He finished the game with a coverage grade of 60.3 (55.5 DEF).
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Against the 49ers however, Jackson moved back to primarily playing on the outside and it made a difference. With 17 slot snaps and 56 wide snaps, Jackson had his best grades of the season: 66.7 coverage grade (67.5 DEF).
Because of this, Darnay Holmes has gotten back some of his playing time, with 15 of his 19 snaps this year coming in Week 3 in the slot. He also played exorbitantly better than Jackson, with two targets, one pass breakup, and a very nice tackle for loss on a screen. Holmes finished with a 73 tackling grade and a 71.5 coverage grade, good for a 66.5 DEF grade per PFF.
Will the Giants make a change at slot cornerback?
Going forward, Holmes is likely to see increased playing time, as he has proven to be the most proficient when it comes to playing in the slot. Additionally, Jackson’s presence as a No. 1 CB must be utilized for the Giants’ defense to play to their scheme and strengths.
Jackson playing on the outside will only help the rookies as well, giving them much more time to rest, and more flexibility in matchups. Exhibited through Banks, in his two better-graded games, he played a total of 40 coverage snaps. In the Arizona game where Banks was exposed, he played 35 coverage snaps.
For any rookie, especially a rookie cornerback, getting physically acclimated to being a weekly NFL starter takes a little time. It’s important that the coaching staff recognizes this, and moves some stress off of their young secondary.