The Buffalo Bills are playing some darn good football as of late. That’s probably not sitting well with Bill Belichick and the 6-8 New England Patriots who hate losing and hate the Bills. The Patriots have pride on the line as a loss this week locks in their first losing season since 2000. They’ll have to shut down dynamo Josh Allen to get that done, which means J.C. Jackson...come on down!
With eight interceptions already this year, including one from Josh Allen, J.C. Jackson is second in the NFL. He’s also responsible for half the Patriots’ interceptions for the year, which is pretty wild. New England is pretty decent at getting turnovers too. They’re tied for tenth in total turnovers with 20 and second in the league with their 16 interceptions.
Interceptions nearly always have a component of luck but capitalizing on it is no guarantee. Jackson benefits from a poor throw thanks to pressure but fights dang hard to create the turnover.
Against the Miami Dolphins, J.C. Jackson looked more like a safety at times. Zone concepts, tons of space pre-snap and dropping way back like we see here was pretty commonplace. That allowed Jackson to provide support to large areas of the field as well as providing excellent field vision.
Jackson didn’t hit the field for just one thing though. Here he’s in man coverage and making sure the receiver knows he’s gonna have to work to get anywhere.
On this play Jackson starts off physical and disrupts the route timing. After contact is no longer allowed, Jackson does fall behind slightly but catches up before there’s any damage done. By cutting underneath and taking a smart angle, its a good thing Tua Tagovailoa didn’t try to force it to that particular target.
Another play and another display of versatility.—showing experience with the slot role, Jackson bumps into a teammate. He recovers quickly and ends up in good position to make sure the ball wouldn’t/couldn’t/shouldn’t come his way.
And one more of those interceptions. While the overthrow is also a bit of luck, the fact that Jackson is able to keep his eyes on the ball changes the outcome from incomplete to turnover.
This comes across as a bit of a highlight reel but rest assured I’m not suggesting J.C. Jackson is unstoppable. I could have just as easily made a gaffe reel though I would personally make sure to point out that positive plays outnumber the negative.
Bill Belichick hasn’t built a reputation as an excellent defensive mind for nothing. The scheme appears to be maximizing Jackson’s potential by allowing him to play with eyes on the ball and react.