In a few short years, Eddie Jackson has gone from Bears hero to one of the most maligned players on defense. Jackson hasn’t made many of the splash plays fans are accustomed to seeing this season. Over six weeks the only contribution he’s made to a takeaway is one forced fumble. Instead, he’s drawn attention for several missed tackles, including one near miss against Davante Adams last Sunday.
But his defensive coordinator Sean Desai said Jackson is still making a positive impact, even if he’s not returning pick-sixes like he was in 2018.
“I think he’s doing a really good job of understanding what we’re trying to get done with the whole defense,” Desai said. “He takes command out there on the back end because it’s not easy to play safety for us. There’s a lot of adjustments and tools that they’re responsible to make on the fly based on what they see from an offense. He’s got great command of that and so all of those things he’s doing well. He’s in the spot we need him to be and quite frankly sometimes when you’re in those spots and you’re a good productive player that’s got history in this league, quarterbacks don’t go that way.”
Desai also praised Jackson’s flexibility, and noted that he’s asked him to do some things we haven’t seen much of before, if at all.
“He’s also allowing us to create some matchups. You saw vs. the Raiders where we were able to put him down and play nickel… Eddie provides... knowledge of the defense and where he’s supposed to be and understanding different roles so we’re allowed to do multiple things when necessary with him. Again, not an easy thing for a guy to play out of position on a game week. It’s a credit to how he prepares.”
All that said, Desai wouldn’t fully brush aside the aforementioned tackling problems.
“We’re not gonna shy away from those issues. We gotta address them and attack them and we gotta do it at all levels of the defense. Usually a function of explosive plays, in my experience, comes from one of two things. It’s either tackling, or miscommunication or bust. If they get us on something schematically then hats off to them and they got me in terms of a play call they got me on. That’s what happens in this league. Sometimes you get that as a coach and a player. So we gotta do better overall and that’s been a continued point of emphasis and we gotta do a better job. I gotta do a better job coaching tackling, quite frankly, and then obviously we gotta execute better.”
The last time Eddie Jackson was lambasted for his mistakes in the Bears Week 1 loss to the Rams, he came out the following week and played a great game. Included in that was a key 3rd-and-1 tackle for loss. Now we’ll see if he can put together a second bounce-back performance.