Carolina Panthers camp: 5 things we learned from Week 1

(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Christian McCaffrey
(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Christian McCaffrey /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Donte Jackson /

Donte Jackson eager to repay faith

The stakes could not be higher for Donte Jackson in 2020. The Carolina Panthers have given him the lead role in the cornerback room. And he will now be tasked with covering the opposition’s best wide receivers consistently for the first time.

Jackson has had the security blanket of James Bradberry to fall back on during his first two years in the NFL. The former No. 1 option departed in free agency in favor of a big-money move to the New York Giants. And the onus will now fall squarely on the former LSU standout to make the necessary step up in class.

That would be easier said than done against some of the very best in the business. But Jackson has received plenty of reassurance from head coach Matt Rhule and defensive coordinator Phil Snow regarding their confidence in him to deliver.

"“Definitely, me and Coach Snow talked a lot this offseason. Me and Coach Rhule talk a lot throughout the offseason. And we have that same thing that we talk about. I know what I can do, they know what I can do. That’s why they trusted me – they trusted me to lead the cornerback room and be one of the best in the league.”"

This is a huge vote of confidence in Jackson. But it will count for nothing if he underperforms.

The player has invested heavily in his body to ensure he avoids the niggling injury problems that have blighted his time with the Panthers so far. And if Jackson can emerge as a cornerback with shutdown potential. Then it could result in a significant pay rise next spring.