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Lions’ Jackson struggles; would Barnes have been better?

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
The Giants' Sterling Shepard brings in a touchdown reception in front of the Lions' Asa Jackson in the first quarter.

East Rutherford, N.J. – Would Adairius Barnes have made a difference?

It’s a question asked in hindsight after the Detroit Lions surprisingly released the rookie cornerback late last week to clear room for waiver claim Corey Lemonier.

Barnes had been with the Lions all season. He played a season-high 24 snaps last week against the Chicago Bears. But the Lions felt comfortable rolling with Asa Jackson in the nickel role against the New York Giants, despite signing him off the Baltimore Ravens’ practice squad less than two weeks ago.

Jackson seemed lost early, when he incorrectly came out with the defense for the opening play of the game and had to scramble off the field when he realized he wasn’t supposed to be out there.

The Giants went after Jackson early. The young cornerback was beaten badly on the opening possession on a six-yard touchdown pass to rookie Sterling Shepard. Jackson also gave up a pair of third-down conversions, including a 25-yard gain to Odell Beckham in the fourth quarter on a drive that ended in a touchdown.

 

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Asked if the team could have used the more well-versed Barnes, Lions coach Jim Caldwell bristled at the suggestion.

“I don’t agree with you, and the moves that we make are always for the best, what we think is best for our team,” Caldwell said. “Our focus is on what’s best for us, where we think we are, we made our adjustments.”

Lemonier, a defensive end, wasn’t active for the game. Barnes cleared waivers on Friday and was re-signed to the practice squad Saturday.