Takeaway Four: Eddie Jackson is suffering from “Carson-Wentz” syndrome
Remember back in 2017, Carson Wentz became the next big thing at the NFL quarterback position. He rose into the conversation with Aaron Rodgers and was basically Mahomes for a year before Patrick Mahomes broke out. He had a historically high rate of completing big plays on crucial downs and was amazing at getting out of pressure.
Since then, he’s descended. Yes, injuries had a big role in that, but the odds of him reaching the 2017 peak again were always statistically slim. However, it was the chase of returning to that peak that ultimately drove him out of Philadelphia. Carson Wentz became so obsessed with turning every play into a big play that he constantly found himself in harm’s way which led to injuries, but also an untimely and premature decline as a starting NFL QB.
I believe Eddie Jackson is going through a similar process right now with the Chicago Bears. After having a great rookie campaign that went largely unnoticed in 2017, he broke out in 2018 with an all-pro season that ended with comparisons to Ed Reed. He was supposed to be “the next big thing”, a force to be reckoned with in the Bears secondary for opposing quarterbacks to fear.
However, as with Wentz, the likelihood of Jackson replicating what he did in 2018 was statistically improbable. I feel that since then, he’s constantly been on the hunt for the big plays that made him a household name in 2018, and as a result of that, he’s lost sight of other parts of his game (i.e. improving as a tackler).
Even in 2018, his tackling wasn’t great, but no one cared because of all the big plays he generated. Now, in 2021, he’s still focused solely on generating the big plays instead of focusing on improving the little things that can help the Bears win games while continuing to hunt for game-changing turnovers and defensive touchdowns.
So far this season, only against Cincinnati did I see Eddie Jackson play within himself and let the plays and opportunities come to him. Even yesterday, I believe Jackson had a chance to intercept Aaron Rodgers in the fourth quarter, but probably didn’t get to it because he was big-play hunting elsewhere on the field.
The old Eddie Jackson is still suiting up for the Chicago Bears every Sunday, I just think the new one needs to stop forcing it out.