J.C. Jackson makes no excuses after performance against Dolphins

Ric Tapia - The Sporting Tribune
Chargers cornerback is still not 100 percent but needs to start showing growth.

COSTA MESA, Calif. — Last Sunday was the return of cornerback J.C. Jackson. He missed most of last season due to several injuries, including a ruptured patellar tendon.

It was a rough game for the former Pro Bowl cornerback as he saw a lot of Dolphins receiver Tyreek Hill. He was guarding Hill when he scored the 35-yard touchdown late in the third quarter.

There were 2.5 yards of separation between Hill and Jackson on the 35-yard touchdown. Jackson was yanked for the game, but not as punishment.

 “I had a rep count that I was trying to reach, and I got to that count,” Jackson said. “I pulled it back. It’s a long season. We got a whole season ahead of us. That’s what I am looking for. My goal is trying to stay healthy throughout the whole season, not one game.”

Throughout training camp, Jackson would say he wanted to be physically and mentally ready for this season.

“I am working my way to being 100 percent,” Jackson said.

Besides the Hill coverage, Jackson had a play right before halftime where he was called for a 30-yard pass interference on receiver Erik Ezukanma. It set up Miami for a field goal with no time left.

“That was a bad mistake by me, and I take full blame for that,” Jackson said.

He also had an interception in the end zone of Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa that he decided to run out of the end zone and only got nine yards. He admits he should have kneed it, especially because it set up the Chargers offense on their four-yard line instead of 25.

Losing and playing the way Jackson played would anger anyone.

“It is frustrating,” Jackson admitted. “Anytime you lose, it is frustrating, but I will say sometimes you have to lose to get where you’re trying to go. To have success, you have to fail first. Maybe our team needed that to wake everybody the f*** up and humble everybody.”

It is a sentiment that veteran edge rusher Khalil Mack shared after the game that this should be a humbling loss. The leader of the defense echoed Mack and Jackson’s message.

“It was eye-opening for us on defense,” Derwin James said. “It definitely woke a lot of us up on defense. Like I said, we just need to come out and execute and do what we need to do.”

Besides being a leader of the defense, James is the heart and soul of this team. He has seen what Jackson can do, so he believes the cornerback will work it out and return to his Pro Bowl level.

“I feel like he’s going to respond. I told him, ‘Don’t keep your head down. We’ve still got your back. It’s one game,'” James said. “We need to come out here this game ready to go play and have a better performance on defense, especially.”

Jackson took a page out of his former head coach Bill Belichick’s book when he said on Wednesday that he isn’t focused on Miami. It is about Tennessee.

He will be matched against one of the best receivers in the NFL, DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins missed practice on Wednesday with an ankle injury, but his focus is on number 10.

“He’s a playmaker, bro. Period. He’s a playmaker,” Jackson said about Hopkins.

It has not been a strong start for Jackson in a Chargers uniform but he can change things around with a strong performance against Hopkins. The interception in the end zone was a good start, but he has to overcome the inconsistencies.

Brandon Staley’s defense also needs to improve in every aspect. If not, the struggle could continue.

“We building,” Jackson said. “It’s week one. It’s a long season. We building, and we going to get everything together.”

Nuts N’ Bolts

•Edge rusher Joey Bosa (hamstring), RB Austin Ekeler (ankle/personal), LB Daiyan Henley (hamstring), and LB Eric Kendricks (hamstring/personal) all missed practice on Wednesday. Edge rusher Chris Rumph was limited with a hamstring injury.