J.C. Jackson ruptured his patellar tendon in Week 7 of the 2022 season and LA Chargers fans thought that they would not see him back in action until halfway through the 2023 season. Miraculously, Jackson made an extremely quick recovery and was all systems go for the Bolts in Week 1.
Just two weeks later, Chargers fans will not see Jackson on the field but it is not because of another injury. After an incredibly disappointing first two weeks of action, Brandon Staley and Co. left Jackson off the active roster as a healthy scratch.
The writing was on the wall for the Chargers to make this decision but it is still surprising to see the team actually go through with it. Jackson was getting benched by Staley in favor of other corners on the roster. But still, making the multi-milion dollar corner a healthy scratch is a bold, bold move.
J.C. Jackson is a healthy scratch for the Chargers, what went wrong?
Jackson's career with the Chargers has never been good. Right before his first season with the team in 2022 he had a surprise ankle surgery that slowed down his debut. Once Jackson was full speed it was clear that he was struggling to learn Staley's defense. He played poorly prior to getting hurt.
Ultimately, Jackson turning into a massive bust of a signing (so far) can be boiled down to three things. Two of which are predictable in hindsight, and one is bad luck. Jackson has struggled because of his injury, because of Staley's underperforming defensive scheme and because Bill Belichick was elevating him in New England higher than he really was.
Nobody could have predicted the injury and Staley's scheme being this bad was hard to predict. The narrative heading into the 2022 season was that Staley finally got "his guys" and that the defense would excel after struggling in 2021. That was not the case and it is clear a year later that Staley is over-complicating the defensive scheme instead of building a defense that actually plays to his players' strengths.
The Belichick factor could have been predicted a mile away. In fact, it was a question that we here at Bolt Beat posed before Jackson ever played a snap. Nobody could have predicted it would go this bad but there is a pretty good track record of defensive players leaving New England and struggling.
The Chargers have fallen victim to this phenomenon as they are paying premium money to someone who won't even suit up in Week 3.