Sean Desai Strongly Defends Eddie Jackson From Recent Criticism

eddie jackson
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams (17) eludes Chicago Bears free safety Eddie Jackson (4) during the fourth quarter of the Green Bay Packers 24-14 win at Soldier Field in Chicago on Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021. - Photo by Mike De Sisti / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via USA TODAY NETWORKPackers Bears Packers18 02234

Eddie Jackson has become a rather unpopular figure among Chicago Bears fans lately. This is the product of a few key factors. Most notably his struggles with tackling. He’s missed five tackles already this season, some of them leading directly to touchdowns. On top of that, it has been almost a season and a half now since his last interception. That came in the finale of the 2019 season. He’s been goose-egged ever since. Not ideal for a player who was paid a lot of money for his ball-hawking ability.

His coverage also hasn’t been ideal. According to Pro-Football-Reference, he’s been targeted 20 times this season. Quarterbacks have completed 15 passes for 266 yards and four touchdowns. Good for a 156.2 passer rating. By far the worst start to Jackson’s career. This has led to calls from many that it might be time to consider making plans to move on from the 27-year old. Whatever magic he had during his first three seasons seems long gone.

Defensive coordinator Sean Desai disagrees.

He argued during his latest press conference that people aren’t seeing a lot of the benefits Jackson brings to the defense. Things like the versatility to play multiple defensive back positions. Understanding where everybody needs to be before the snap, allowing Desai to disguise coverages and create pressure on the quarterback. Playing safety in this style of defense is not easy.

This is fair. The responsibilities Desai puts on Jackson are considerable. He is the one chess piece that gets moved around the most. Whenever the Bears want to create a new wrinkle to challenge opponents, it’s usually Jackson who ends up playing that role. There are many safeties in the league who can’t do what he does. Is this enough to justify his poor tackling and lack of playmaking of late? Depends on who you ask.

Eddie Jackson needs a good game desperately

Something to get people off his back. A big interception against Tom Brady on Sunday would be ideal. Of course, that is asking way too much given the way Brady is playing lately. More than anything, the safety needs to show flashes of the player he was a couple of years ago. Chicago made him the highest-paid safety in the NFL at time because he delivered turnovers for their defense. Now that those have dried up?

Fans are having a hard time seeing any justification in him being paid that money. Sure, his versatility allows certain facets of the defense to function well. Yet guys who get paid the kind of money he makes are expected to do things beyond that. They’re supposed to make game-changing plays. Opponents stayed away from Ed Reed all the time. That didn’t stop him from finding interceptions.

Desai is right to defend his player.

That doesn’t mean Eddie Jackson should get an automatic pass. To the casual eyes? He isn’t playing well enough. Definitely not like one of the best safeties in football. Unless that changes in the coming weeks, the calls for his job are only going to grow louder.

SOURCE© Mike De Sisti / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK
Educated to be a writer at the prestigious Columbia College in Chicago, Erik has spent the past 10 years covering the Bears.