Bengals’ cornerback William Jackson had an impressive Sophomore outing in 2017. Fans watched him shutdown Antonio Brown at the height of his game and take an interception to the house against Aaron Rodgers.
The problem is we haven’t really seen that same player on a consistent basis since then, but Williams thinks he has figured out what the problem is.
“The first year I was just going out there and playing,” Jackson told Laurel Pfahler of Dayton Daily News. “I was treating it like a regular game. But as I went on, I started treating it like a job and getting more serious and I wasn’t having fun with the game anymore. So, I just got to get back to having fun and letting it fly. And that’s a downfall on me for taking it so seriously.”
It is great to hear that Jackson is at least going to have fun during the final year of his contract. Best case scenario is this also turns out to be the year he returns to that high level of play and he gets a nice payday from Cincinnati.
Of course the other thing that is changing with this offseason is that he finally gets to play under the same defensive system again. This will be his second year under defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo after playing for Paul Guenther, Teryl Austin and then Marvin Lewis after Austin was fired.
“A lot of people don’t understand that a lot of corners have been in the same system their whole career,” Jackson said. “Every year I’ve had to learn a new system and terminology. So, that’s the reason I’ve been playing and wasn’t getting as much picks as I should because everything was new to me every year. So, this is the first year that I’ve had the same coach two years in a row. It should be a great one. … I’m familiar with this defense and I’m comfortable in it and it’s time to go make plays.”
Creating interceptions and defending passes is probably at the forefront of what this defense needs. Jackson only has two interceptions on his career, and the Bengals sorely need that number to be higher as the entire defense has struggled with taking the ball away the past few seasons. Hopefully being comfortable in the system he is playing in will allow him to be more aggressive on the ball.
It is no secret that Jackson has all the ability in the world to be one of the top corners in the NFL. It has just been a rough couple of seasons all around for the defense. Maybe this return to his original outlook on the game will coincide with the rest of the defense solidifying as well. At the very least, we will be getting the best version of Jackson in a contract season, and he is going to have fun along the way.