Allen Park – While wide receiver Kenny Golladay and linebacker Jarrad Davis stole the headlines for their debut performances, defensive tackle Jeremiah Ledbetter quietly delivered his own impressive showing in his first game.
The sixth-round pick out of Arkansas looked like a natural fit in the Detroit Lions’ defensive line rotation, generating pressure on four pass-rush snaps, including tripping up Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer and causing an errant throw on a play that would have likely resulted in a touchdown.
Ledbetter called it a confidence-building performance, but like many players, he was more focused on his mistakes more than his successes.
“I know I missed some plays out there,” Ledbetter said. “That’s what you think about, the plays you miss. I’m trying to come back and correct those and finish when I get (in the backfield) next time. That’s my main thing.”
Ledbetter’s primary asset is his athleticism, and when he gets off the ball quickly, he can find himself in the backfield in a hurry. That led him to overrun Palmer on a couple snaps, instead of coming up with sacks.
That was the rookie’s focus in the film room and on the practice field heading into the team’s Week 2 matchup with Eli Manning and the New York Giants.
“I need to get better about the angles I take,” he said. “I was getting back there fast, but it’s about the angles the quarterback is moving. I’ve got to correct myself to move at the angles to make those plays.”
All in all, Ledbetter couldn’t have envisioned a much better debut. He had an impact, his unit dominated and the Lions came away with an impressive victory. This week, he gets the opportunity to play in primetime and he’s eyeing an even bigger splash.
“Those games, they’re different,” Ledbetter said, reflecting on the primetime games he played in college. “I feel like there’s more pressure on me to do something in those games. Going into this Monday night game, I’m feeling that pressure, so it’s time to go out and make something happen.”