Why Chargers coach benched J.C. Jackson in second half of MNF originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The Los Angeles Chargers' early return on their J.C. Jackson investment has been underwhelming, to say the least.
Jackson signed a five-year, $82.5 million contract with the Chargers this offseason after a Pro Bowl season with the New England Patriots in 2021. He was expected to be the team's No. 1 cornerback and continue to display the lockdown coverage skills that helped him succeed in New England.
Jackson has had a rocky 2022 campaign in Los Angeles, however, and found himself benched for the second half of Monday's game against the Denver Broncos.
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"It just wasn't good enough in the first half, and we felt like we needed to make a change," Chargers coach Brandon Staley said of his decision to bench Jackson in favor of backup Michael Davis.
Jackson made several glaring errors in the first half; he was called for a pass interference penalty on Denver's opening drive, was involved in a busted coverage that led to the Broncos' first touchdown and got beat by K.J. Hamler for a 47-yard gain.
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Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson had a 149.0 passer rating when targeting Jackson in coverage Monday night, per USA TODAY's Doug Farrar.
The Patriots drew plenty of criticism for letting Jackson walk in free agency last offseason after he racked up 25 interceptions in four seasons with the Patriots. New England didn't appear to have a true shutdown corner entering the season after dealing Stephon Gilmore at the 2021 NFL trade deadline.
But Bill Belichick is getting plenty of validation now thanks to the play of rookie cornerback Jack Jones, who has two interceptions in his last three games and is Pro Football Focus' No. 1-rated cornerback in the entire NFL through six weeks.
Fellow Patriots cornerback Jonathan Jones is PFF's eighth-rated cornerback, so the team appears to be just fine without Jackson, who is a distant 105th in PFF's rankings with a 35.7 grade out of 100.
Maybe Jackson will use his benching as motivation to improve his play, but for now, the clear advantage goes to Belichick and the Patriots in letting him walk.