It is difficult to get a read on Jaiquawn Jarrett. He says little and reveals less. You would have to imagine, though, that he’s going through it right now. To fall from a second-round pick to a question mark for the 53-man roster, in the town you played your college ball in, has to shake you to a certain extent.
O.J. Atogwe has his own issues to deal with. The eight-year veteran is trying to digest a new system and adapt to a new environment in the hopes of solidifying a niche on this Eagles team. But he has at least been around the block enough to know that he can play in this league. It is the type of crutch that the Temple product could really use right about now.
“I think all players go through that cycle of, ‘Am I good enough to play?’ And once you realize you are, ‘O.K., why am I good enough to play?'” said Atogwe. “And once that begins to set in, that’s when you start to maximize your potential and start to make a name for yourself or solidify yourself in this league.”
What does it take to get to that point?
“Patience, and just really being hard on yourself as far as evaluating what you’re doing well, what you’re not doing well; what your strengths are and what your weaknesses are,” he said. “Then doing your best to tailor your game so you are always playing from the vantage point of your strengths. For every player it’s different: some players get that really quick and get the adjustment down really fast, and some players it takes a little bit of time.”
Jarrett falls into the latter category, and the question is whether there’s time enough to find his groove.
On one hand, he is only 22-years-old. Are 12 regular season games and one really rough preseason outing against the Steelers enough to move on from this kid? On the other, this is a cutthroat league and Jarrett is currently a liability. He is struggling with his angles, leaving him unable to deliver the kind of jarring hits that he built his reputation on. If he’s not landing his blows, is suspect in coverage and doing little in special teams, can the Eagles — who are already questionable at safety — afford to continue the experiment?
Atogwe seems to think he’ll come around.
“He’s really talented, man. He really has a nose for the football. Just right now he’s coming into his own and continuing to learn his game on the NFL field,” he said. “Sometimes that can take some time just to figure out your place and how you fit when playing. He’s definitely talented and has the ability to be a really good safety in this league, he just has to settle in and play with confidence.”