Apparently, Eddie Jackson is taking some things personal. At least, that’s what the Chicago Bears safety is saying on social media. Seemingly out of nowhere and unprovoked, Jackson Tweeted this on July 12:
An All-Pro in 2018 and a Pro Bowler in 2019, Jackson is coming off his worst year as a pro, in which he failed to log an interception for the first time in his career. Perhaps his Tweet was in response to a recent ESPN article that left him off its list of the top 10 safeties in the league, but regardless, it’s looking like Jackson is hoping to return to his 2018 form.
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Jackson Didn’t Look Like Himself in 2020
Jackson earned a grade of 93.2 from Pro Football Focus in 2018, and he finished second in the league with six interceptions. He allowed a passer rating of 54.9 to opposing quarterbacks that year and was named a first-team All-Pro. His performance has declined since.
His overall rating from PFF last year was 59.8, and he allowed 15.5 yards per reception while letting opposing QBs shellack him for a collective passer rating of 140.5 on the season. Many contributed his defensive decline to the system of former defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano, who moved Jackson around far too much, keeping him from occupying his more natural position at free safety, which is where he flourished in 2018.
Now, a new defensive coordinator and a determined mindset could be just what Jackson needs to bounce back.
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New Bears DC Sean Desai Will Be Key
The Bears promoted safeties coach Sean Desai to DC when Pagano retired after last season, and they also re-signed veteran strong safety Tashaun Gipson, who performed well in his lone year with Chicago in 2020. Jackson thinks the continuity will help.
“I haven’t played with a safety two years in a row since Adrian Amos. So to come back and have that chemistry, man, it’s huge, especially back there,” Jackson said in June during veteran minicamp. “It’s very huge and I’m excited.”
Jackson is also thrilled about playing in Desai’s defense.
“It’s aggressive. He’s coming in and he’s holding us to a standard,” Jackson added in reference to his new defensive coordinator. “Run to the ball, finish, be in your playbook, run through your keys, be on top of your keys, pursue. Just things like that.”
Desai also hinted we could be seeing a lot more of the Eddie Jackson we saw in 2018, when his mentor (and current Denver Broncos head coach) Vic Fangio was the Bears’ DC.
“We’re gonna find the roles that fit these guys’ skill sets,” Desai said about his defense, via Sports Illustrated. “I think that’s really important. That’s the thing that I learned from all of those coordinators, and I think that Vic was really masterful at that.”
We’ll know soon enough if Desai is a capable Fangio disciple — and we’ll also see just how personally Jackson has taken these offseason slights.