The Detroit Lions are struggling against the Carolina Panthers on offense and defense, and one of the biggest plays in the game so far involves a deep pass over Jeff Okudah.
Detroit’s rookie cornerback was burned on a deep pass, and wasn’t close to catching up. The play would set up a touchdown later on, and was a great example of how badly Okudah has struggled this season at times.
Moore burns Okudah pic.twitter.com/NoLZU0T8HE
— Billy M (@BillyM_91) November 22, 2020
After the play, many on the internet started roasting Okudah for his play and wondering if the Lions have a problem wth their rookie cornerback who has been inconsistent at best this season.
This Okudah situation is … concerning.
— Chris Burke (@ChrisBurkeNFL) November 22, 2020
All I heard last spring was what a great pick Jeff Okudah was for the Lions. All I ever see of him is number 30 on his back as he is chasing a receiver who burned him. They let Darius Slay walk away for this?
— Fred Heumann (@unclefred6) November 22, 2020
Obviously, the Lions have to stick with the rookie considering his talent and the fact that the 2020 season was not normal for anyone’s adjustment. Still, it’s been downright troubling to see Okudah get burned the way he has been so far this season. He’s been good in run defense, but leaves much to be desired in other ways so far.
Jeff Okudah Stats
So far this season, Okudah hasn’t been the statistical dynamo that folks expected. He has collected only 37 tackles, 1 interception and 2 passes defended. This year, Okudah has been more known for the plays he has given up such as this one rather than the ones he has made on the field.
In college, Okudah was known for playing solid coverage but so far that has not translated to the NFL.
Jeff Okudah’s Case for Improving
If there’s one thing that can be said, it’s Okudah will get back in the lab and try to improve quickly from the messes he has seen this season. He’s been described as a football junkie by his Ohio State coaches, and Matt Patricia has seen that as well early while working with him. Okudah isn’t likely to burn the tape from his rookie debut, but rather use it to improve and study it intently. It’s likely he will be even more frustrated by his debut this season than the angriest fan.
This offseason, Okudah was said to already be studying wideouts he will match wits with routinely such as Adams. Essentially, he’s learning on the job, so expect things to get worse the rest of the way before they ever get better. In time, as Okudah gains more confidence and understands the league more, some modest strides could be expected to be made.
As the defense continues to struggle as a group, don’t cast your frustration in the direction of Okudah. The Lions have plenty of problems, and a rookie cornerback learning a tough position on the fly isn’t likely to be their biggest issue by the time the season ends.
The significant bet is Okudah will improve greatly in time following what was a rough debut so far this season. It’s never easy to ask Lions fans to be patient, but in this particular case, it’s the only realistic command even as awful as Okudah has looked at times this year on the field.