If it seemed like Eddie Jackson hit a rookie wall in losses against the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers, it’s because he sorta did. However, the Chicago Bears rookie safety looked to be re-entering a groove on Saturday afternoon against the Detroit Lions.
Jackson was the team’s highest-graded player as he picked up a season-best tying three defensive stops, according to Pro Football Focus’ grading metrics.
Unfortunately, this is the play that immediately comes to mind when discussing Jackson’s play against the Lions on Saturday:
Marvin Jones is a low key beast pic.twitter.com/tWWGxmKdJT
— NFL Retweet (@NFLRT) December 16, 2017
Losing a 50-50 ball to Calvin Johnson is understandable, and even expected if we’re allowed to be completely honest. But losing out to Marvin Jones Jr. is unacceptable, with all due respect to the Lions’ leading receiver.
“Just a mistake, you’ve got to learn from it,” Jackson said, via Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times. “I’ve been playing football a long time. The one thing I learned that it’s going to happen. There are [other] good players out there, too. He’s a good player. He’s made those plays on a lot of people. I was supposed to come up with that one. It’s part of the game. You’ve got to win more than you lose.”
If the Bears’ defense is going to be as good as advertised, Jackson needs to be a force in the secondary. On what was a 3rd-and-18 play that could have led to the Bears getting the ball back, Jackson needed to be in a better position to knock the ball down (which would have forced a punt) or come up with an interception. He did none of the above as Jones Jr. came away with a 58-yard reception which eventually led to a Detroit touchdown.
At this point of the season, everything is a teaching point. Jackson seems to have taken not making a play there hard, but it also sounds like he is already prepared to move on and make a play on the next pass that comes his way. And for what it’s worth, Jackson was prepared later in the first half when he came away with a fumble recovery that set up the team’s only score before halftime.
Jackson was something of a revelation in the first half of the season.
The University of Alabama product looked like a fourth-round steal for most of the year. A healthy Jackson was making plays on passes thrown in his general vicinity, tackling ball carriers and minimizing gains, and providing the kind of playmaking ability that hadn’t been shown from a safety drafted by the Bears brain-trust in quite some time.