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Buffalo Bills opponent preview: Patriots defensive back J.C. Jackson

A new, familiar face

Buffalo Bills v New England Patriots Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

If you haven’t heard yet, the New England Patriots are struggling. They host our beloved Buffalo Bills this week as Buffalo looks to shake off a couple bad performances of their own. In a bid to help the defense after rookie first-round cornerback Christian Gonzalez was injured, the Patriots traded for defensive back J.C. Jackson. Does that name sound familiar? The last time Buffalo saw Jackson he was wrapping up a Pro Bowl and a second-team All-Pro-worthy season. Also of note, the last time Jackson saw Buffalo he didn’t see the Bills punt. After a season with the Los Angeles Chargers and a couple injuries, Jackson was traded back to the Patriots. Let’s see if he boosts their odds.

Play 1 — Deep route shadow

Against the Las Vegas Raiders, Jackson was tasked with shadowing wide receiver Davante Adams for much of the game. This play started off with Jackson reacting quickly to the route and doing a good job shadowing. Adams gained separation at the end of the play, enough where a better throw would have given Jackson no chance at a pass breakup. On the positive side of the ledger for Jackson, he did a good job working toward the sideline to force Adams nearer the paint and did so without creating any contact.

Play 2 — Run support

It’s hard to get even second-team All-Pro if you’re not pretty good at understanding the game of football. Jackson’s best trait in my opinion is precisely that. In run support for this play, Jackson didn’t do anything special to shed the block, but showed good patience and knowledge of the situation as he peeled off the right direction and waited for the proper moment to commit to the tackle.

Play 3 — Jam and chase

A couple thoughts here. In prior work, I know I’ve insinuated that a missed jam makes the defensive back susceptible to being burnt. Well... here you go. On my second thought, I could have made more GIFs (more on that below) that show the same without the missed jam. Here, Jackson seemed reluctant to plant and cut and fared relatively poorly against routes with any sort of finesse to them. This route didn’t even have that much finesse and Jackson still struggled to be sticky.

Play 4 — Using the boundary again

As you probably know by now, I like to end with a high note — even for opponents. Jackson once again used the boundary well on this play. This time it was with Jakobi Meyers. Meyers feels the lack of space and gets handsy, creating an offensive pass interference that didn’t even wind up allowing him to make the catch.

In summary

I know it’s fewer GIFs than is typical for me, and there’s a couple reasons for that. First, my computer has been struggling this week, which is something I hope to have resolved ASAP. Second, I could do more GIFs, but they’d all be rehashing the points above. J.C. Jackson doesn’t appear to be the player he was, which is likely a big reason the Chargers were comfortable moving on from him. Jackson still appears to be a heads-up player with no shortage of effort.

That said, multiple lower body injuries last season seem to have taken their toll. This was particularly evident trying to change direction. Can he regain his prior form? I don’t wish the man any ill will, but if the answer is “yes,” I wouldn’t mind him waiting at least another week.