BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – “Next man up mentality” is something we hear the Bills say a lot when it comes to dealing with injuries. Sometimes it sounds cliche but in Sunday’s win against the Jets, the “next man up” at cornerback came up with a couple big plays.
Rookie Dane Jackson was called up from the practice squad on Saturday and started opposite of Tre’Davious White against the Jets because Josh Norman was out with a hamstring injury.
And in his first NFL start, the seventh-round pick made his presence known.
On the Jets’ opening drive, they were marching down the field all the way to the Bills’ 11-yard line until Jackson had a big pass break up as Sam Darnold was looking for Denzel Mims on 3rd and 4. That forced the Jets to settle for a field goal.
“I felt good, it felt kind of surreal out there and I went out there with a lot of confidence thanks to the older guys. They kept telling me they believe in me and kept telling me that I’m meant to be here so it just felt good,” Jackson said.
Then he intercepted Darnold with 49 seconds left in the second quarter and from there on, the Bills defense shut down the Jets offense only allowing four yards the rest of the game.
“We played with a lot of confidence, we just needed that play to spark us and get back to our style of play on defense,” Jackson explained.
“Yeah how cool was that? Guys were fired up on the sideline for him,” Bills head coach Sean McDermott said.
“I just felt like I was able to give the guys a boost and it wasn’t all on me thanks to the d-line, thanks to everybody up front, everybody else on the defense doing their job and we all came together. That didn’t happen by myself so I just want to give thanks to the other guys you know that gave us a boost,” Jackson said.
The Bills depth at cornerback is being tested right now as not just Norman is dealing with an injury but Levi Wallace is still on injured reserve with an ankle injury and Cam Lewis has dealt with a wrist injury this past week. Plus Tre’Davious White, even though he played, was listed as questionable going into the game still working through a back injury.
“Dane was great, when his number was called he was ready and that’s part of being a team and we’ve gotta continue to get contributions from these young players. That’s the strength of our football team as we continue to develop as an overall team here,” McDermott said.