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William Jackson will shadow DeSean Jackson... or will he?

Conflicting reports about whether the Bengals will break their tendency by having their top cornerback shadow a specific receiver

Cincinnati Bengals v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

William Jackson is a rising star in the NFL. People often look forward to his match-ups against wide receivers like Antonio Brown and Julio Jones, but the fact is the Bengals do not use Jackson to shut down any particular wide receiver. Jackson plays right comeback while Dre Kirkpatrick plays left cornerback, and when healthy, Darqueze Dennard plays in the slot. That may be changing this weekend.

Jackson told WKRC’s Richard Skinner that he will be shadowing Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson when the Bucs come to Cincinnati this weekend.

Wide receiver Mike Evans may seem like the more obvious choice, but that doesn’t bother William Jackson. “Whatever the match-up the coaches feel comfortable with that’s what we’ll go with. I always want to cover the best guy, I always want to compete.” Evans may be the better all-around player, but DeSean Jackson is the team’s best deep threat.

There is only one problem. When’s Geoff Hobson asked head coach Marvin Lewis about the cornerbacks shadowing this weekend, Lewis said that they wouldn’t.

It would make a lot of sense for the Bengals to shadow with their cornerbacks. William Jackson is a better matchup against faster receivers and deep threats, while Kirkpatrick matches up better with bigger receiver. They haven’t done it before and it is unlike them to make that kind of change in the middle of the season or on a week by week basis. This makes it hard to believe. It would be weird though for William Jackson to say that he was going to shadow DeSean Jackson if it wasn’t true. It would not be weird at all for Lewis to lie when asked a direct question about the game plan, and that’s likely the true situation.

The answer will come on Sunday.