Eddie Jackson has had a rough time for the past two years. After an All-Pro campaign in 2018 and a decent year in 2019, he earned one of the richest contracts for a safety in NFL history. Then he proceeded to go two straight years without an interception. It is one of the most baffling regressions in productivity the Chicago Bears have seen in years. Health can’t be blamed. Jackson has been surprisingly durable. This led to theories about what happened. A popular one is the fact he hasn’t been able to play his traditional role as a coverage safety since the departure of Adrian Amos, their designated box guy. That may finally change with the arrival of Jaquan Brisker.
Amos’ ability to play near the line of scrimmage allowed Jackson to roam free on the back end, using his instincts and range to pick off passes. Neither Ha Ha Clinton-Dix nor Tashaun Gipson could fill that void after Amos left, forcing Jackson to help do it himself. Apparently, that isn’t going to continue. At least not as often as before. Jackson explained to the media that the Bears’ rookie 2nd round safety told him not to worry about box duties anymore. That will be his job moving forward.
“We kind of have some similarities. He tells me he likes to be in the box. Just having that right there, he wants to be in there, and I can be in the back and be free. We can switch it at any time, but just having some similarities is going to be fun.”
Jackson couldn’t hide his delight at returning to this kind of setup.
“Yes, that’s what I feel. Just having somebody who loves to play that position and can take the weight off your shoulders, and I can focus on roaming and getting the ball.”
Jaquan Brisker was a headache for offense in the box.
His instincts, toughness, and physicality made him a constant force against the run. One of the more underrated parts of his game was the ability to blitz, even though Penn State didn’t utilize him in that way too often. He loves to roam that area of the field and force offenses to account for him. That can often make it easier to forget the other safety. When Jackson is that “other” guy, it offers hope that big things are ahead.
A big reason the Bears drafted Jaquan Brisker was his versatility. He can play anywhere on the field. Don’t misconstrue his love of playing in the box as an idea it’s the only place he can be. The rookie was outstanding in coverage too. That is what makes him so dangerous. Putting him in the hands of defensive coordinator Alan Williams, a defensive backs expert, feels almost like cheating. This safety combination could be lots of fun to watch this year.
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