What are the New York Jets getting in UDFA CB Lamar Jackson?

New York Jets

The New York Jets signed Lamar Jackson! No, not the electric QB/RB that’s coming off an MVP campaign. Instead, the Jets got a corner (who played QB in High School) who was projected to be a late-round pick. Lamar Jackson, a CB from Nebraska adds versatility and continues to add more depth to the secondary. He could be a solid pickup, so let’s breakdown his skill set.

Strengths

Lamar Jackson adds a few key things the Jets like. Durability and leadership. He was the defensive MVP in 2019 after a breakout season. Besides that, he was a 3-year starter. Jackson is an accountable corner capable of being left on the island. He has an excellent size which makes him a very physical press corner. Do you know who likes corners like those? Gregg Williams. Lamar Jackson will fit very well in Williams scheme and has the potential to be an impact player at some point. He played his best football last season when he put up 40 tackles, 4 TFLs, 3 INTs, and allowed a 55.7 passer rating. Lamar is capable of being left on an island and is a player overall capable of being a starter at some point at the next level.

Weaknesses 

As much as I raved about Lamar, he does have weaknesses. Although he’s a lockdown corner against physical receivers and in the red zone, in the vertical game he leaves much to be desired. He lacks speed to hang with some of the speed threats at the next level. He lacks a strong football IQ as well. He’s a more matchup specific player who would excel in 1v1 matchups. If he can’t prove his worth on special teams and doesn’t draw the eye of any of the higher-ups, he won’t stick on the roster.

Overall Outlook

Lamar Jackson has some of the most potentials of not just the UDFAs, but even some of the draft picks. The issue is, he also is flawed in his game. Ultimately, the scheme fit is going to benefit Lamar’s chances of sticking on the roster, but he’s still going to need to develop his IQ and speed if he wants to be a long term NFL player.

Did Scott Frost Secure His Job With Michigan State Victory?

Nebraska has a signature win. If it’s possible for a team of their stature to have a signature win during a season where they’ve only won four games at this point in the season, that is. It wasn’t a pretty win, but Nebraska fans can’t ask for style points at the moment, and everyone will be proud of it because it’s a gritty win where the defense showed up and held Michigan State to six points for the entire game.

Michigan State, of course, aren’t in the best shape themselves. They came into the game with four losses, and it’s a far cry from when it seemed like they could defy some expectations and jump back into the race for the Big Ten East following a loss to Arizona State early in the season, and a scare against Central Michigan. But it just isn’t the Spartans’ season. Still, despite Michigan State struggling, it’s a big deal for Nebraska to beat them.

It’s the type of win that gets at least some momentum back going into next season, and helps prevent a rookie head coach from losing the locker room before the new regime can get off the ground.

For Michigan State, though, the opposite is true. Blowing a lead in the fourth quarter and doing it by allowing three field goals to give an opponent the win is embarrassing, especially when the three field goals are the opponent’s only points of the entire game. They were without their usual starting quarterback because of injury, but that doesn’t justify Rocky Lombardi’s 3.6 yards per completion and his overall poor completion percentage. Of his 41 passes, only 15 were caught.

It’s what head coach Mark Dantonio pointed to afterwards as one of the main reasons for the loss. “We had too many drops, I felt. If you had to point to one thing in the football game, you got to look at the dropped passes,” he said after the game.

He also explained the decision to start Lombardi in the first place. “We just felt like we needed to rest Brian [Lewerke] this week until he was able to sort of settle himself a little bit, settle his shoulder. He could have played.”

Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez hardly had a better game, but Nebraska was able to get three more points than Michigan State at the end of the day after kicking a field goal to take the lead late in the fourth quarter. Could this be a win that helps head coach Scott Frost in keeping his job?

It seems unlikely that he would be fired after one year, but Nebraska is having their worst season in forever and adding one more win adds some more security. Especially if this isn’t the only win they pick up before the end of the season.

While things are mostly lost at this point, Nebraska would do well to fight hard for a win in their final game against rivals Iowa. Momentum is what’s important right now. And Scott Frost managed to pick up some of it by coaching the team to its best defensive performance this season… Even if that performance came much later than any Nebraska fans would have wanted.

Big Ten: The Biggest Winners And Losers From Week Five

The fifth weekend of college football is over, with less upsets this week but still some interesting results. The Big Ten especially had an exciting weekend, with the result of the Ohio State versus Penn State game causing a shakeup in the polls as Ohio State moved into the top three, and Penn State fell out of the top ten entirely and most likely out of the race for the Big Ten East.

Who emerged as the winners, and who emerged as the losers on Saturday?

Winner: Ohio State Buckeyes

There’s a very real chance that Ohio State finishes the regular season undefeated. The toughest opponents on their schedule at this point are Michigan and Michigan State, but it looks like they can run everyone else over easily. Upsets happen, but one shouldn’t just assume that a top three team will be upset because it’s technically in the realm of possibility.

No, it looks like the Buckeyes will either take a loss against one of the Michigan teams, or play for the Big Ten title with an undefeated record. They’re listed here as winners because they just got past the hardest game on their schedule, even if it took some bizarre missed tackles and a similarly ridiculous playcall near the end of the game to let them take the lead. Still, despite the Penn State team collapsing, the Buckeyes earned the win.

Now, they just have to get through the rest of the season with an even bigger target on their back. Can they do it? It would have sounded unlikely at the start of the season, but with the way Dwayne Haskins Jr. is playing in his first season as a starter, it’s not so bold of a prediction anymore.

Loser: Scott Frost And Nebraska Fans

This once great program can’t catch a break. Nebraska has started the season with no wins and four losses, the latest one coming at the hands of Purdue. Some predicted that the 0-3 start would make the Huskers come out with something to prove, leading them to a division win against an opponent that has shown up with mixed performances and close losses this season. This game, though, wasn’t as close as the other ones featuring Purdue this season.

The Nebraska defense still isn’t much better. They allowed 42 points, giving Purdue their best offensive performance of the entire season. It’s not the way that Scott Frost wanted things to start off in his first year as Nebraska’s head coach, and it certainly won’t help the Cornhuskers in recruiting. It doesn’t matter that this is a rebuilding year and that the team wasn’t expected to win.

While they weren’t expected to be good, an 0-4 start is worse than anyone but the most pessimistic of fans imagined. It’s going to severely hurt the confidence in head coach Scott Frost, and while he’s still supported by the fans for now, none of the hype that existed before the season is still there. The hype is what went away first. How long will it be before the locker room is lost, or the rest of the confidence held by the fans?

The answers to those questions depend on when Nebraska picks up win number one.

Loser: Good Playcalling

Penn State called an interesting play on their last possession of the game against Ohio State, which ended with a turnover own downs. To call the play interesting, however, is really sugarcoating it. Let’s tell it like it is. It was a bizarre call, and it helped the Buckeyes win the game. In the end, it came down to one play to continue the drive with a chance to win the game by kicking a field goal.

And instead of going for literally any other option, the staff called a play to send Miles Sanders right up the middle, where he would be stopped far short of the first down marker. The same Miles Sanders that had less than 50 yards for the entire game.

“We knew they were going to make their linebackers jump when we moved Miles, and they weren’t going to be set in position, and it was going to give us a chance to get a hole up the middle and crease them,” said Trace McSorley, in an attempt to explain the thought process behind the play. “We weren’t able to pick up a twist, and a guy got in the backfield and made a play.”

Look on any fan forum of choice, and you can find plenty of confusion about this playcall not just from Penn State fans, but from fans around the country. That’s why this is the second thing in the loser’s section. It’s fitting because in this case, it might have lost Penn State the game.

 

Big Ten: Things Get Worrying For Nebraska After Michigan Loss

When is the losing streak going to end? It’s only at three games, which wouldn’t be the end of the world in the NFL, but this is college football. Nebraska’s three game losing streak would seemingly signal that the season is over, for most teams. But for a team of their stature, it’s even worse. Three losses to open up the season, including one at home against Conference USA opponent Troy, is catastrophic.

While there will always be some fans that argue for a new head coach to be given time to fix an inherited roster, the majority is not usually level-headed. The honeymoon period for Scott Frost is over, and it’s not because the Cornhuskers lost to Michigan, but because of the way the loss happened.

The fact of the matter is that Nebraska didn’t look like a team coached by someone coming off of an undefeated season, at all. The coaching staff can’t fix a roster up immediately and take a bad team to the Playoff, but they can make the losses better than the ones Nebraska has had so far. Getting blown out by Michigan isn’t that bad in isolation, considering the current situation in Lincoln.

But opening the season with a loss to Colorado, and then getting beat at home by Troy, and annihilated by Michigan one week later? If the culture is changing at Nebraska, it looks like the changes won’t be complete until much further down the line. You could argue that any progress could have easily been lost in the results through the first three weeks.

It sounds harsh, but the Michigan running game made the Nebraska defense look like a high school one at certain points when Michigan made big gains. Their offensive line also didn’t do much to protect Martinez, who will be quickly injured once again at this rate.

“After the first series, when we went back out there, we just knew they wanted to give up. You could just see it in their eyes. It’s not anything I can really put into words [but] you could tell by the way a receiver is running his route, or the way you get blocked or the type of passion they’re playing with. We just sensed they didn’t have it, so we used it to our advantage,” said Michigan safety Josh Metellus, following the game.

What does it mean for Nebraska and their new head coach Scott Frost? It means that they need some urgency going into the Purdue game, which could end up being one of the most important ones of the season. Not because Purdue is a highly ranked opponent, but because coaches have been fired for less and an 0-4 start would risk turning Nebraska into another Tennessee: a program where the fans have no faith in the staff and where every loss worsens the situation until things spiral out of hand.

Scott Frost was expected by many to be the savior of Nebraska football. But right now? Nebraska is worse than they’ve been under any of their previous coaches in recent memory. They haven’t had a record like this at the start of the season since 1945. If things don’t turn around soon, the Frost era could easily be derailed before it can get off the ground initially.

And that’s why the Huskers should be worrying about Purdue, a team that not many thought they’d be circling on the schedule before the season started.

Highlights: Two Big Ten Teams Go Down In Big Upsets

Three weeks into the college football season, and we’ve already seen plenty of great close games and upsets that few would have predicted before they happened. Week three didn’t disappoint in that area, with teams around the country going down to unexpected foes. The Big Ten in specific had a couple of the most notable upsets, as both Wisconsin and Nebraska fell.

#6 Wisconsin vs BYU

Wisconsin probably needed to run the table to get into the College Football Playoff. They missed out last season, and it was directly because of their loss in the conference title game. It was a decision that was debated for months after it happened, but in the end, the strength of schedule just wasn’t good enough for Wisconsin to reach the playoff despite losing to the winner of the east.

This season, though, getting to the Playoff might just be a distant dream for the Badgers. Entering the game as the sixth ranked team in the country, they didn’t go down to a tough conference opponent. No, they went down against an unranked BYU team in a loss that won’t look good to the voters. Will they bounce back? Was the performance at least a good one, despite the loss?

Check out the highlights above and decide for yourself.

Nebraska vs Troy

The Scott Frost era isn’t off to a good start. First, the Huskers loss starting quarterback Adrian Martinez to injury and lost to their old rivals from Colorado. Now, replacement quarterback Andrew Bunch couldn’t do enough to win the game in Martinez’s absence, as Nebraska lost at home to Conference USA opponents Troy.

Really, Nebraska just handed Troy a decent amount of money to come to Lincoln and beat them in front of a stunned set of fans. Special teams made a difference as Troy returned a punt for a touchdown, one that would eventually ensure they had enough points to survive through the end of the game. Check it out above, and decide for yourself if it’s the biggest upset of the weekend.

Nebraska Football: Huskers Will “Figure Out” Adrian Martinez Injury

Last weekend wasn’t a good one to be a Nebraska fan. Not only did the Huskers take a 33-28 loss to rivals Colorado, in a close game that went down to the wire, but quarterback Adrian Martinez was injured in what had a chance to be a successful debut for the freshman.

He had completed 75% of his passes and thrown for 187 yards, but was forced to exit the game after being hit in the back of the legs in what was possibly a dirty play. It will go down as a knee injury, and now, Nebraska is forced to not only recover from the early season loss, but find out where to go from here at the quarterback position.

After all, Martinez was the one that was hyped up as the starter. Losing him at any point would hurt, but losing him this early in the season is even worse. There’s not a clear-cut solution about who should step up and replace Martinez, and even first year head coach Scott Frost admitted that himself.

“We’ll figure it out as it goes along, but we’re doing our best to get every quarterback on our roster at least familiar enough with the game plan to be able to go out there and function and execute,” said Frost. Additionally, it seems that Frost won’t be giving up much information about the injury. “It’s hard to keep secrets in this day and age, but what’s in-house needs to stay in-house.”

We do know, however, that Nebraska has three other quarterbacks to choose from following Martinez’s injury. None of them, though, are juniors or seniors. Nebraska has a young group of quarterbacks this year, and Andrew Bunch was the one that took snaps against Colorado after the injury to Martinez.

Bunch threw for 49 yards on 9 passing attempts, but the other options are sophomore Noah Vedral and freshman Matt Masker, who helped continue a long tradition at Nebraska when he walked onto the team earlier this year. Masker, who is from the state of Nebraska, would be a quick fan favorite if he found himself getting playing time.

However, neither Vedral or Masker took snaps in the Colorado loss, and it seems that Bunch is more likely to start against Troy if Martinez doesn’t make a quick recovery.

It’s unknown how long Martinez should be out with this knee injury, but fortunately for the Cornhuskers, they have a bit more margin for error against their next opponent, a Conference USA school that lost their only game against FBS opposition by the score of 56-20.