The Carolina Panthers were without the services of Donte Jackson for the majority of their season opener, but could the cornerback be ready to go in Week 2?
The Carolina Panthers suffered a big blow when top cornerback option Donte Jackson went off with an injury in the first quarter against the Las Vegas Raiders. This was a crushing blow to the player and the organization, which undoubtedly contributed to their eventual demise.
Jackson is looking to fill the No. 1 corner void left by James Bradberry after he departed in free agency for a big-money move to the New York Giants. This was not the start he or the Carolina Panthers envisaged by any stretch of the imagination and it left the defense with an inexperienced group who were picked apart consistently.
The Panthers will need Jackson on the field and firing on all cylinders against a Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ passing attack that is loaded with playmakers. There is some doubt about the availability of wide receiver Chris Godwin, who is in the concussion protocol. But ignore their other options at your peril.
Some good news for the Carolina Panthers and Donte Jackson.
There was some good news from Carolina’s perspective as Jackson practiced on Wednesday. This is a positive sign in his bid to make a successful return in Week 2. But this is a situation that needs to be monitored closely by the Panthers’ coaching staff in the coming days.
Not asking the former LSU standout to do too much in the way of strenuous activity before they make the trip to Raymond James Stadium. Jackson is a high-twitch player thanks to his exceptional burst and this style of play tends to bring more tweaks and strains than most.
If the Panthers are without Jackson on Sunday, it would be nothing short of a disaster. They are already missing free-agent signing Eli Apple, who was put on injured/reserve before their season opener. So the pressure on Jackson to be out there and producing the goods is immense.
The early signs are positive regarding the 2018 second-round pick’s chances of being in the lineup from the outset at the Bucs. Carolina’s outlook on defense would alter dramatically as a result and this is arguably the opponent where he will be needed the most.
This is not a game that the Panthers are expected to win. Tampa Bay has some serious postseason ambitions following an unprecedented offseason in the spotlight. But if Carolina’s defense lives up to its end of the bargain, they can keep the contest competitive, at the very least.
Jackson is going to play a pivotal role providing he is healthy. And the outlook looks more positive today than it did when he limped off against the Raiders.