As the Bengals prepare for their first of two games this season against the Steelers, the most anticipated matchup within that matchup is between Bengals cornerback William Jackson and Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown.
Jackson has been one of the best-kept secrets in the NFL. Despite the constant ravings of Pro Football Focus and Bengals fans, the national media did not seem to notice Jackson’s incredible season in 2017.
The Ringer’s Kevin Clark did, and he asked Jackson why he felt he wasn’t getting the attention he deserved.
“Guys get notoriety when their team is good, or they talk trash,” Jackson told Clark. “I’m not here to say, ‘Oh, he’s sorry.’”
He may not be cocky, but he is certainly confident. When asked if he thought he was better than Brown he said, “Of course. I think I’m the best player on the planet. You cannot play this game if you think you’re not.”
Jackson has certainly looked better in his two career meetings with the star receiver. In those two games, Jackson held Brown to zero receptions on eight targets. It was nothing personal for Jackson, who looks at all matchups the same way, but shutting down Brown did give the young cornerback some well-deserved attention.
As Jackson put it, “I got a lot of great buzz because he’s a great receiver. I don’t expect anyone to catch the ball on me, not just him. It was fun to get that buzz.”
Jackson is questionable to play against Brown and the Steelers after being limited in practice all week with a knee injury, so the rematch between him and Brown is in jeopardy. If he can’t go, Brown will have a much easier time hauling in passes from Ben Roethlisberger.
But if Jackson gets the green light, this could be the national coming out party that Jackson fans have been waiting for.