Chargers CB J.C. Jackson knows he must step up

It would be easy for Chargers cornerback J.C. Jackson to make excuses about his play on the field after signing a big deal with the Chargers during the offseason.

He could point to the fact that he is coming off ankle surgery that took away the last two weeks of training camp and the first two weeks of the season, so he is adjusting. Jackson says that he is healthy and the ankle isn’t bothering him.

During training camp, Jackson was flying all over the field, making plays and looking like a key addition to the defense until the surgery was necessary.

He returned during a short week two Thursday night game against Kansas City. He lined up against tight end Travis Kelce and other receivers during the night. He gave up a couple of small pass plays. The one big one was a 41-yard touchdown reception to Justin Watson to get the Chiefs within three points.

“There’s a lot of stuff I need to work on to help my defense become a better championship defense that I know we are,” Jackson said.

Jackson struggled over the weekend in Cleveland. He gave up an 11-yard touchdown pass to Amari Cooper and, at times, was getting picked on by quarterback Jacoby Brissett.

 “We challenged him, even after that first half,” Hill explained. “He played a lot of off [coverage] in the first half. The second half, we felt like that story was a little bit different. He got there in press and challenged a little bit more, and it looked a whole lot better. That is what we have to continue to do. He’s going to mix it up, as a corner, but we know that his strong suit is getting up there and pressing.”

This isn’t the version of himself he envisioned after grabbing 25 interceptions in his first four seasons and was looked at as the golden prize of free agency. He is considered a shutdown corner that can take the ball away at will.

“We’re going to try and do everything that we saw him do in New England that made him Mr. Interception,” defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill said. “We’re going to try to maximize that as much as possible so that he can go out there and play at a high level. We know that that will help our defense as a whole.”

During his tenure in New England, he played more man coverage while he has played more zone being a member of the Chargers. Hill mentioned that they will be changing things up to help Jackson adjust to their system.

He is a pro bowl corner for a reason, and the Chargers coaching staff knows they must be patient with him primarily because they know the game-changing talent he possesses.

“I think that sometimes it’s hard for people to understand that when you go to a new scheme, when you’ve kind of made your name in a new scheme — you’ve been in the same system, the same location, you’ve been hearing something the same way for four years or five years — and then you transition, there’s all this transition that happens,” Chargers coach Brandon Staley said.

The team believes in his abilities and that he will get this fixed, including defensive captain Derwin James. He put it more on the rest of the defense to pick it up while Jackson is getting it down. The Chargers saw his abilities during training camp and in the film room. The star safety thinks Jackson will soon be doing what he does best.

“Locking shit down, and he’s getting better every week,” James said.

The Chargers cornerback believes that this Monday night could be the beginning of him starting to get comfortable in this system. His team will face a struggling Denver Broncos team that is quarterbacked by Russell Wilson.

“They got playmakers, and we got playmakers,” Jackson said.

Jackson is speaking about Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy. Both receivers are different but dangerous at the same time. Sutton uses his body more to get the ball. Jeudy is more elusive and can turn a 10-yard catch into a 50-yard gain. Both are special.

“It is going to be about who’s going to make the most plays, who’s going to be more disciplined, who’s going to capitalize on it when they have to in critical situations,” Jackson said.

During an interview Jackson was doing, James said, “man, I can’t wait for you to get your first interception, first of many.” Jackson turned to him, “you are telling me. I just need the first one.”

It will be a tough matchup on Monday, but Jackson said he is done talking about his ankle surgery and talking, period. He is ready to show with his play on the field.

“Just watch me on Monday night,” Jackson said. “I don’t want to do any talking this week. I just want to show up on Monday and play ball. Play like I know how to play to the best of my abilities.”

Notify of
1 Comment
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x