Bobby Price had the worst game of his short NFL career last week.
The sophomore defensive back suffered four passes of at least 20 yards in the Detroit Lions 24-14 loss to Chicago Bears and bowed in favor of undrafted rookie Jerry Jacobs.
Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn said Jacobs would see an increased role Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings, but insisted the Lions are still all-in on Price as a long-term solution for their high school.
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“You see the length. You see the speed. You see the mentality,” Glenn said. “And every nook, man, once you’re beaten, every nook has in mind, ‘My God, I don’t want to get beaten up anymore.’ But the thing with Bobby is that he keeps coming back. He keeps coming back. Dude, he came as a security, so he’s still a baby learning to play around. “
The price went from safety to the turn around midway through training camp after never having played the position.
He struggled markedly at the end of training camp and was signed up for a special teams role this fall, but those plans changed when Jeff Okudah and Ifetu Melifonwu left the first two games of the season with injuries.
Price – who didn’t play a defensive game as a rookie last season – made his first career debut in a Week 3 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, when he interrupted three assists and took generally played well until he lost a cover mission on the fourth and -19 conversion which set up Justin Tucker’s record and winning placement.
Last week, Price was a popular target for Bears quarterback Justin Fields. He gave up plays of 21, 28, 32 and 64 yards and allowed five completed passes on eight passes thrown into his coverage area, according to Pro Football Reference.
“You can’t be one of those guys who when it’s good like last week, I mean everyone was praising the guy. Now this week he’s the worst thing in a slice. of bread, ”Glenn said. “And I understand, that’s the way the media works. But man, we have to make sure with this player, keep showing the good things he’s done and keep trying to build on those good things and, man, you have to block out all the noise.
“He’s going to have ups and downs. He’s had his downs, and that’s how it is. Every corner – well, not me; that was a joke – but every corner has these issues and these guys have to be able to ( rebound).”
Glenn said Price and Jacobs will play Sunday against a Vikings team that ranks 10th in passing attack and have two of the game’s most productive receivers, Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen, but Jacobs, an undrafted rookie. Arkansas, “will get a little more (playing time) than he got.”
Jacobs played 18 snaps to the right cornerback last week after playing exclusively in subgroups and special teams in the first three games of the season.
“It still needs a lot of work,” said Glenn. “But the only way to give these guys a chance to really see how they perform in game situations is to give them a chance, and he had his chance last week. It worked really well.”
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Glenn said Jacobs, the third rookie (and second undrafted rookie) to see cornerback time for the Lions this fall, had been on an upward trajectory since the spring, when he reminded Glenn of the back New Orleans Saints Chauncey Gardner-Johnson nickel.
“I saw the same fight, dog mentality in training camp that you see from Chauncey,” Glenn said. “I don’t mean this guy is Chauncey, but there’s a chance he could be trained and developed to be a nickel or an outside corner in our system, to be a player like that.”
Glenn said Price reminded him of someone too – Marcus Coleman, his former teammate with the New York Jets and Houston Texans, a great cornerback who played 11 seasons in the NFL.
“(He) has the build to dominate, because you’ve seen reps in that game, when he gets his hands on you it’s over. It’s over,” Glenn said. “So we have to keep showing him that. That’s what you can do. Yes, they played on you, but that’s who you are, that’s what you can do. We want to make sure that we we are building on that. “