Emma: Eddie Jackson has plenty to prove to new Bears regime


(670 The Score) As he broke into the NFL as a young player with something to prove, Bears safety Eddie Jackson emerged as one of the game’s top playmakers in the secondary. That reputation has since fallen off considerably.

Jackson hasn't recorded an interception since 2019, when he hauled in a pair of picks on late-game desperation heaves. After recording a combined 10 interceptions in his first three NFL seasons, Jackson has none in the past two. There have been a few bad breaks involved, but it’s a glaring mark in assessing his performance.

Now, the 28-year-old Jackson must do his part to change that after new Bears coach Matt Eberflus promised a fresh start for all the players he inherited.

Jackson has already secured his place in the Bears’ plans thanks to a four-year, $58.4-million contract extension that he signed in January 2020. He’s under contract in Chicago for three more seasons, and new Bears general manager Ryan Poles can’t escape the deal just yet. So, the Bears helped support Jackson with their second-round selection of safety Jaquan Brisker, whom they see as an ideal complement.

Brisker is a stronger option in the box, which will allow Jackson to be a presence in coverage. The hope is for Jackson to become one of the most important pieces in Eberflus’ defense, one that believes it can consistently force turnovers.

“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,” Jackson said.

That’s only part of what Jackson must improve on. He has struggled considerably as a tackler during his career. In 2021, Jackson missed 9.5% of his tackles. By comparison, Titans star Kevin Byard – considered by many to be the best safety in the league – missed just two tackles (2.2%) in 17 games.

Jackson also found himself under fire last October when he dug up a 10-year-old tweet about Bears great Lance Briggs and his own missed tackles from late in his career. Jackson quickly deleted the tweet, which didn’t sit well within the Bears organization.

Eberflus and the Bears’ new coaching staff will be demanding of their players. Early on, it seems Jackson has bought in to the program. That’s important as these two sides move forward together.

Jackson and Eberflus need each other to be successful this season, and the Bears’ new regime believes Jackson can once again be an elite safety.

Now, it’s time for Jackson to go prove it.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.

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