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Eddie Jackson Tackles His Critics

Bears safety calls his tackling "pretty solid," after an 11-tackle day against Tampa Bay in a 38-3 defeat

Eddie Jackson tackled the issue of his tackling.

In a Tuesday Zoom press conference with Halas Hall closed to media due to COVID-19, Jackson said he doesn't see it quite the way many of his critics on social media or former Bears linebacker Lance Briggs do.

"I think I'm doing pretty solid," Jackson said. "I just have to limit the open-field tackles. That’s something I’ve been working on, I work on it in practice and everything.

"Effort doesn't play a role in that. I'm out there giving everything I got. I've just got to continue to work on the little things, taking angles and wrapping and things like that. But I feel like it's been pretty good. It has continued to improve, and that's for us as a defense as a whole."

No doubt it was easier for Jackson to say this after he tied for a team-high 11 tackles in Sunday's 38-3 blowout loss to Tampa Bay. The trouble with his total in that game was he tied teammate DeAndre Houston-Carson, and when safeties are making all the tackles then a team can be experiencing problems with the secondary covering passes.

Jackson took a couple shots at Briggs on social media after the former Bears linebacker said he saw a lack of effort from the Bears safety as a tackler in the Oct. 17 loss to Green Bay. Jackson searched out and found a criticism from a decade earlier of Briggs' own tackling by Pro Football Focus, then posted it on Twitter.

"Regret? I wouldn't say too much of regret because I feel like it's football and the type of player I am," Jackson said. "I feel like you should never question my effort. Making the tackle, I know I have to make that tackle. Don't nobody go out there and want to miss a tackle. You know you have to get the guy to the ground.

"But when it comes to questioning effort and playing ability, we have all been here before, we all as players know how it feels when you go out there laying everything on the line trying to be aggressive, things like that are going to happen. You just have to go out there and make your plays."

The criticism by Briggs was Jackson didn't wrap up when he was the last line of defense as a safety. Even if Jackson fired back, it seems he knows the truth in Briggs' comment.

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"You've got to keep that in your mind," Jackson said. "That's one of the biggest things because if they get past you, it's definitely touchdown. And that's the thing that really as a safety you have to be cautious of because a linebacker or a D-lineman could miss a tackle, and you've got a bunch of guys rallying right behind you. So it's less affected.

"But as a safety, last guy, the ball gets on you fast when those guys hit the hole through, so you have to continue to keep it installed in your mind, I can't let it get behind me. I've got to wrap, I've (got to) bring my arms. I've got to get them on the ground."

Although he felt compelled to fire back at Briggs, Jackson said he isn't bothered by criticism.

"I went to Alabama," Jackson said. "Coach (Nick) Saban always coached us on that. You have to learn how to take direct criticism. It's not about that, it's about the effort part.

"Like I said, we just have to continue to fight, push through and block all that stuff out."

Jackson still hasn't made an interception since the 2019 regular-season finale and last week said there was one against the Buccaneers he should have had. He said he's trying hard not to press and the interceptions will come.

"It's right there," Jackson said. "It's right there, you feel it. You know the thing for me right now is is, and everybody keeps telling me, just don't press. I'm trying not to press. I want to just continue to play, you know, just capitalize on the plays that I can make, try to take advantage of the plays I can make, you know, even when the ball is in the air towards me or if a guy is running towards me trying to rip at the ball and doing my best to get the ball out.

"But right now just not pressing. And it's hard man, for me man. It's hard, man. It's stressful, you know? There's a lot of frustration having two touchdowns called back last year when you're trying to get going and now right now you've only got one, two turnovers or whatever the case may be (on fumbles). It's hard not to press."

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