Chargers ‘Stay Patient’ With CB J.C. Jackson, Will Keep Starting Role After Benching

Chargers CB J.C. Jackson will start against the Seahawks in Week 7 despite recent benching.

COSTA MESA – J.C. Jackson, the Chargers’ marquee free agent signing this offseason, has played in four of the team’s first six games to open up the year. But in seeing Jackson at first glance with his new club, the results haven’t been on par with the contract the team handed him back in March when they reached a five-year, $82.5 million contract.

Making his fourth start for the Chargers Monday night against the Broncos, Jackson was benched in the second half after allowing two catches for 86 yards and one touchdown.

Chargers coach Brandon Staley summed up the decision to pull him by saying “it just wasn’t good enough in the first half and we felt like we needed to make a change.”

The change at cornerback brought Jackson to the sideline and Michael Davis into the game for the remainder of the final two quarters and overtime. With Davis on the field, the defense took a leap forward down the stretch of the Chargers’ 19-16 win over their division rival.

The Chargers held Russell Wilson to 15 passing yards in the second half and overtime. Davis allowed just one catch for five yards.

But in moving ahead to Week 7, Jackson will remain the starter on Sunday when the Chargers host the Seahawks at SoFi Stadium.

“J.C., like I said, had a tough night the other night, but we’re going to make sure that we stay patient with him because he has all of the tools that we’re looking for,” Staley said. “I have to do a better job of coaching him, getting him in a comfort zone. 

“We expect him to be out there this week, playing his brand of ball. I think that he is going to learn a lot from what happened the other night — what he needs to do with his game, what we need to do, as coaches. That’s as much on me as anybody.”

Jackson, who couldn’t practice for four weeks, resulting in him to miss two of the first three games as he worked his way back from ankle surgery, reiterated Wednesday that his ankle isn’t preventing his ability on the field, but that it’s all mental at this point.

“The coaches know what I’m capable of, just like I know what I’m capable of,” Jackson said of the dialogue between him and the coaching staff since his benching. “They just want to get the best out of me. They know I’m a very good, coachable player.”

The Chargers have a vision for Jackson and they don’t plan to change anything schematically leading into Sunday’s game against Seattle. Staley has remained steady during Jackson’s rough patch in saying it’s more of an acclamation period of getting him the reps and familiar looks in the Chargers defensive scheme than anything.

“It’s a different organization, different system, different coaches. Everything is different,” Jackson said of the differences between his time in Los Angeles compared to New England. “I’m adjusting and it’s part of the game. I’m going to get it.”

Through four games, Jackson has allowed 17 catches on 23 targets for 331 yards and three touchdowns, according to Pro Football Focus. At this current pace, he’s on track to allow just over 1,200 yards, nearly double of his previous career high when he allowed 691 yards in 2020.

It’s evident that Jackson’s start with the Chargers has been a rocky one. But he and Staley each continue to voice optimism that they can get things turned around at some point despite the early-season struggles.

“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.”

As Jackson now looks to regain the confidence that he built up during his time in New England, establishing himself as one of the premier cornerbacks in the NFL, he said Wednesday that he’s “gonna get there.”

When he takes the field this weekend, Jackson will see some combination of DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett when covering the boundary against Seattle.

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Read more from Charger Report:

Chargers vs. Seahawks Betting Odds: Week 7 Point Spread, Moneyline, Over/UnderChargers CB J.C. Jackson Benched vs. Broncos: ‘It Just Wasn’t Good Enough in the First Half’5 Takeaways From Chargers’ 19-16 Week 6 Win Over BroncosChargers K Dustin Hopkins Hits Game-Winning Field Goal on Injured Leg to Beat Broncos in OvertimeLive In-Game Updates: Chargers vs. Broncos Week 6

Nick Cothrel is the publisher of Charger Report. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickCothrel for more Chargers coverage.

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