Defeated is a word cornerback J.C. Jackson used to describe how he was feeling Wednesday inside the Chargers locker room, just two days after he was benched during his team’s Monday night win over the Broncos.
“I feel defeated,” Jackson said. “I just feel like I’m not just being me.”
Jackson, who the Chargers signed in March to a five-year, $82.5 million deal that made him one of the highest-paid corners in the NFL, has allowed a 155.3 passer rating in coverage this season. That rating is second to last out of all cornerbacks with 10 or more targets, according to Pro Football Focus.
“It’s hard and it’s very disappointing,” Jackson said. “Knowing what I can do and I’m not able to do it. I’m not really playing to my full potential; it’s kind of upsetting.”
Chargers head coach Brandon Staley said he spoke to Jackson on Wednesday morning regarding his decision to bench him Monday night, as well as what the plan is for the cornerback moving forward.
“The conversations are the ones that we have all of the time,” Staley said. “When you develop good relationships with people, it’s not like some big powwow, it’s just, ‘Hey, this is what we need to do; this is where we need to go.’ Really define that plan of what we expect from you.”
Staley made it clear the team is not giving up on Jackson. The coach said in Wednesday’s news conference that Jackson will start at cornerback on Sunday against the Seahawks.
“We’re going to make sure that we stay patient with him because he has all of the tools that we’re looking for,” he said.
Jackson, who came into this season leading the NFL with 25 interceptions over the previous four seasons, has yet to earn a takeaway with his new team. Staley took responsibility, saying he has to do a better job of coaching Jackson, who was sidelined due to ankle surgery before the season.
“It’s the practice time, the meeting time, the consistency of that,” Staley said. “As you guys know, it was disrupted at the beginning of the season, and, I think, has caused a setback, in terms of his development within our team and getting him playing his game within our team. I think that there are just a lot of little things that go into that, but we’re going to make sure that we have a great week of practice, starting today, and getting him to the game feeling his best.”
Jackson missed two games recovering from surgery, and he said Wednesday he believes he could be doing more.
“I’m doing a lot now, but I could do a little bit more studying, more treatment,” Jackson said. “A little more of everything.”
Extra work won’t be easy right now, as the 4-2 Chargers have a short week before facing the Seahawks.
“I think that we’re going to get a chance to go do it today and maximize today because there’s a reason why we went and got this guy, because we believe in him,” Staley said. “Just because it hasn’t started in a Hollywood fashion doesn’t mean that it’s not going to end that way. What we have to do is stay with him because he has what it takes. It’s our job to get him there.”
Short week or not, Jackson is determined to put in the work.
“This week I’m going to study more,” Jackson said. “I’m going to be the last person to leave and the first person in the building. That’s how I’m going to approach the rest of the season.
“Just continue to keep my head down and continue to get back to work. Ignore the noise. People are going to talk whether you’re doing good or bad. That’s how I look at it. I just take everything positive and not look at it so negative. Just continue to work.”
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