The Jacksonville Jaguars will possibly have shuffle the secondary on Sunday versus the Arizona Cardinals, with Tyson Campbell being the guy who will see the most change. The move comes as a trio of defenders are labeled questionable for Sunday's matchup.
Corners CJ Henderson (illness) and Tre Herndon (knee), along with defensive lineman Roy Robertson-Harris (ankle) are all questionable and Head Coach Urban Meyer called Friday a "big day" for their availability.
"We're going to find out today. Today's a big day for those two and Roy...those three are the one's that are questionable. Everyone else is good to go."
Herndon had been the Jaguars starting nickel corner before the knee sidelined him. He has yet to play in a game this season. In his place, the Jags have tried rookie corner Tyson Campbell. When he was drafted No. 33 overall this April, Meyer mentioned wanting to try Campbell in the slot position. However he has struggled there in the first two games, losses to the Houston Texans and Denver Broncos.
Through two weeks, Campbell has acted as the team's top nickel cornerback, playing 57% of the defensive snaps over the first two weeks.
Of his 45 snaps as a nickel, he’s dropped into coverage 32 times. On those 32 plays, he was targeted eight times, giving up seven receptions for 95 yards and a touchdown. On all other coverage snaps through two weeks, 22 total, he was targeted four times, giving up two receptions for 15 yards and no touchdowns, according to Pro Football Focus.
Campbell's better numbers, coming on the outside, were a result of Henderson leaving the game versus the Broncos at halftime with a groin injury. Asked on Friday if Campbell would play outside again if Henderson is unavailable, Meyer responded, "Tyson on the outside, yea, we're still working through it. But Tyson has been playing pretty good."
“He can play both. That’s one of the things he did a lot of in college, and he’s done that here," coordinator Joe Cullen said on Thursday.
"Those guys, [Secondary- Corners Coach] Tim [Walton] and [Defensive Backs Coach- Nickels] Joe [Danna], have done a great job rolling him back and forth. He covered well, he did a good job, and I think he’s only going to get better. He has the speed to cover those guys.”
That will be somewhat dependent on Herndon's availability. The Jaguars did sign another corner this week though, former Raiders C Nevin Lawson.
Wherever Campbell lines up on Sunday, he will have his work cut out for him. The Cardinals come to town with DeAndre Hopkins (likely to be matched up with Shaquill Griffin), as well as AJ Green, Rondale Moore and of course, the dynamic quarterback Kyler Murray.
It will be baptism by fire for Campbell. Yet Meyer feels comfortable with Campbell's progress.
"We're very pleased with where he is. He's going to have a long career in the NFL, he's a grinder, worker, great kid. I kind of said that, I think last time I met with you guys, all I ever worried about is in my career is a locker room; that's everywhere.
"And I've been lucky I've never really had a bad locker, these guys are unbelievable to coach right now, because they want to win, they want to drive, they want to work, they are sticking together and Tyson's a perfect example of that. He's a young cat that is a very, very talented guy, and he's going to be a great player."