Eddie Jackson

Vic Fangio had a lot of pretty great things to say about Khalil Mack, Eddie Jackson, and others on the Bears' defense

Vic Fangio had a lot of pretty great things to say about Khalil Mack, Eddie Jackson, and others on the Bears' defense

Vic Fangio talked with Chicago media on Wednesday, the first time he’s done so since taking the Broncos job in early January. He’s widely credited with building the Bears’ defense as it currently stands, as only Kyle Fuller pre-dates the Fangio Era (2015-2018). He talked in depth about a half-dozen of the Bears’ defensive starters, and all in predictably-glowing terms: 

On Khalil Mack:

“I didn’t [find] out [about the trade] until a couple seconds after the world found out, and obviously was very, very excited. I didn’t know a lot about him other than I knew he was a good player, because when he came out of college we were drafting very late in the first round in San Francisco at the time, so they said don’t even bother watching him… So I didn’t watch him as a collegiate, and with him in Oakland and me in the NFC, I really didn’t see him play a lot. And then when we got him, it was just after a few days it was like, holy s***.’” 

On Eddie Jackson:

“If you remember, he didn’t partake in the offseason program [his rookie year] because he was injured coming out of college. And it wasn’t, he was ready, full go by training camp. And it was, I don’t know, definitely within the first week, maybe three days or so that I said to Ed Donatell, this guy’s really going to be good. And Ed kind of got a little taken back. ‘Well, how can you tell already? Ya know? Jeez, you want to crown him or something.’ I said, ‘I can just tell. This guy’s got it.’"

"Just his total instincts and feel for the game. His body movement. The way he just reacted to things and saw things. He saw them quicker than most and reacted quicker than most. And then he had the talent to take advantage of those reactions."

On Leonard Floyd:

“Yeah, I told you guys time and time again that he's a really good player. He's had some injuries that slowed him down early in his career. But they knew what they were doing when they gave him that fifth-year option. He's a hell of a football player and he's going to continue to have a hell of a career and he'll just keep getting better and better.” 

On Danny Trevathan:

“Danny’s a very positively emotional guy. He’s totally into the team. He wants the team to do well. He wants to be a leader and he is just because of the way he plays and his emotional fire and the intensity with which he plays. He’s a contagious guy in that regard besides being a hell of a football player. So he’s really been a nice pick-up for the Bears.”

On his golf game, which has nothing to do with defense but deserves to be here nonetheless: 

“Not good. Supposed to be able to hit it farther out here, but I have not had that experience in my game because I don’t hit it well enough.” 

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Eddie Jackson frustrated with Bears fans, says 'they'll boo now and cheer later'

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USA TODAY

Eddie Jackson frustrated with Bears fans, says 'they'll boo now and cheer later'

The boo birds were out in full force during Thursday night's season opener at Soldier Field, and for good reason. The Chicago Bears lost to the Green Bay Packers, 10-3, in a game that felt like it set offensive football back 100 years.

And while the Bears defense did its part to keep the game close, one of its star players took offense to the fan reaction.

"For them to start booing, that's something that we don't take kindly, we don't accept, we don't like," Jackson said on the McNeil and Parkins Show Friday. "I just want to speak to the fans on that part. All the booing, we need to cut that out. It's football, we get it. Trust me, we're more frustrated than you guys are and we don't boo our teammates. It's just a fact that they'll boo us now and cheer for us later. I feel like if you're going to ride, you're going to ride all the way. You're going to ride through the ups and the downs."

Jackson was especially concerned with how the fans reacted to Mitch Trubisky and the offense, calling the boos unacceptable.

"Especially on offense. For them to build the chemistry and the confidence that we need them to have, our fans booing them, it's not acceptable. If that makes any sense. Like, we get it. We understand. We get it. But at the same time, we cheer for each other. We lift each other up. If it's not working, don't boo. Lift each other up. The one thing about our defense is we always want to put the offense on our back."

There's no denying Jackson is one of the biggest fan-favorites on the roster right now, but he has to be careful here. Fans have every right to express their displeasure with the product on the field. It comes with the price of admission. But those same fans have to be honest and consistent, too, as Jackson noted.

Jackson has a point when it comes to booing a young quarterback, however. Patience with Trubisky is required now more than ever.

"You got to understand he's a quarterback. He's a young quarterback. It's his third year, second year in a new offense. He needs as much confidence as he can get. It's a lot of talk going on about him on the Internet, things like that, and as a player, you're a human being. You can say you don't pay attention to this, you don't pay attention to that, but at the same time, you're human. When you come out there in your home stadium, where you're supposed to be the man, the guy, and they're booing you. Come on, man, that's unacceptable."

On a night full of concerns, the Bears can be glad that their defense wasn't one of them

On a night full of concerns, the Bears can be glad that their defense wasn't one of them

CHICAGO – When the Bears spent all offseason talking about picking up right where they left off, maybe we should have taken them a bit more literally. On Thursday night, close to 63,000 fans fought through rush hour traffic on Lake Shore Drive to get their first glimpse at what the 2019 Chicago Bears had in store. The only problem was the 2018 Bears showed up. 

“Obviously unacceptable,” Matt Nagy said after being booed off the field in a 10-3 loss. “Starts with me, so this -- I just told the guys in there, this is not who we are. I was proud of our defense. I thought they played their ass off tonight.” 

If there’s a silver lining to Thursday night’s loss, first of all, it’s probably more of light charcoal. The immediate chatter will center around Mitch Trubisky and Matt Nagy’s inability to get the Bears into the end zone, and rightfully so. Still, it should be noted that the team’s defense looked strong as ever, which – fairly or not –  was a concern headed into the evening. 

“It’s tough, man. It’s tough. We wanted this one bad, as everybody could tell,” safety Eddie Jackson said. “It’s a marathon, not a sprint, but I just feel like we have to do things better, on both sides of the ball. We’ve got to take practice more seriously as well. We’ve just got to turn it up a notch."

Chuck Pagano’s unit wasted no time making an impact, as Roquan Smith blew up the Packers’ first two plays of the night, followed by a 12-yard sack from Roy Robertson-Harris that had Soldier in a frenzy. Unlike in 2018 – when the big plays came from household names like Jackson, Khalil Mack, and Akiem Hicks – it was Roy Robertson-Harris and Leonard Floyd who were the stars of Week 1's loss. The duo had three of the Bears’ five sacks. 

“It felt good to be out there,” Floyd said. “But it also sucked to lose like that, knowing that we played with great effort on the defensive side. We’re going to look at the film, make corrections and come out next week with a better mindset.”

All in all, it was a gutsy, well-played performance against one of the NFL’s all-time great quarterbacks. The Packers ran for only 47 yards on 22 attempts, and Rodgers was a pedestrian 18 for 30 for 203 yards and a touchdown. One touchdown was all it took, though; Green Bay’s lone touchdown drive was only four plays long and lasted a grand total of 88 seconds. 

The seminal moment of that drive came when, while showcasing some of the improvisational skills that have made him a consensus first ballot Hall of Famer, Rodgers hit Marquez Valdes-Scantling over Amukamara for a 47-yard reception. 

“We had some run action with a fake reverse there,” Rodgers said. “The protection on the left side just kind of caved in. So, I just moved to the left and was peeking for a safety, who wasn't there, so I tried to lead Marquez (Valdes-Scantling) in the middle of the field, and he made a nice catch.”

The QB then hit tight end Jimmy Graham for an eight-yard touchdown on a play in which the Bears were penalized for having too many men on the field. After the game, Amukamara admitted that the quick-strike nature of that series caught the defense off guard. 

“We knew that they were going to take a shot sometime,” he said. “Especially that time, because they hadn’t really took one all game. After that play, it kind of hit us in the mouth, and Aaron took advantage of that.

“[Valdes-Scantling’s reception] was just miscommunication. I hate to use that word, but we just all have to be on the same page on the back end any time the ball’s in the air. It’s on us.”

And now the Bears have an extra 48 hours to stew in a seven point loss that felt at least double that. Fans may belabor this loss until the moment Week 2 starts, but those within the locker room at Halas Hall are putting it away – starting tomorrow. 

“It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” Eddie Jackson said. “So right now we’re going to live with this one for 24 hours, and focus on Denver next week.”

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