Bills Urged to Bench Veteran Cornerback After High-Profile Struggles

Dane Jackson

Getty Dane Jackson warms up before a Buffalo Bills game.

With the long-awaited return of Tre’Davious White finally here, the Buffalo Bills are being urged to bench his veteran counterpart after some high-profile struggles.

Buffalo’s All-Pro cornerback returned for the Thanksgiving Day win over the Detroit Lions after spending a full year rehabbing a torn ACL, but was limited to just two series as head coach Sean McDermott has opted for a gradual return to his duties. With White expected to continue increasing his workload, some insiders believe it might be time to bench Dane Jackson and allow the team’s pair of rookies and a longtime veteran to continue playing a bigger role.

Troubles for Jackson in Coverage

Jackson has struggled in recent games, giving up a number of key receptions in a loss to the Minnesota Vikings and win over the Cleveland Browns. He was also in coverage on Lions receiver DJ Chark when he scored the go-ahead touchdown early in the fourth quarter of the November 24 game.

Jackson, a seventh-round pick in 2020, has started all 10 games this season after starting eight in his first two years combined. He has made 43 tackles with two interceptions this year, but has struggled in coverage in recent games. Insiders noted that other teams have started to pick on him in coverage.

“Dane Jackson is a problem,” tweeted Sal Maiorana of the Democrat and Chronicle. “Teams know who to attack and they are.”

Ryan Talbot of urged the Bills to move on from Jackson.

“Jackson deserves plenty of praise for his play over the past year since being inserted into a starting role, but it’s time for Jackson to get benched,” he wrote.

McDermott has remained publicly supportive of Jackson, however, encouraging him to bounce back quickly from his recent slump.

“He’s going to learn from some of these natural ups and downs of the position,” the Bills coach said, via Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News. “That’s a position, probably more than any on the football field, where you got to have a short memory. So we’ll get him back this week and get him going again.”

Bills Get More Help in the Secondary

Aside from the return of White to the active roster, the Bills also have another veteran addition who could help fill in for Jackson. The team signed former All-Pro cornerback Xavier Rhodes to the practice squad, and after losing several weeks due to injury, he was elevated to the active roster for the win over the Lions. They have handed big roles to rookies Kaiir Elam and Christian Benford, though Benford will be missing for the near future as he was placed on injured reserve.

Some other additions could help Jackson move beyond his struggles as well. As WGR 550’s Nate Geary noted, Jackson’s more recent difficulties in coverage could be in part due to the absence of linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, who often keeps the middle of the field locked down.

“Teams are going to target Dane Jackson every single week until he can prove otherwise,” he wrote. “You’d be surprised, but I think the return of Tremaine Edmunds will help Jackson a TON. Offenses are using (Jackson’s) outside leverage against him knowing the [middle of the field] is open. No Edmunds has been HUGE.”

Read More