J.C. Jackson struggled immensely in the LA Chargers' Week 1 loss against the Miami Dolphins. Jackson was torched in coverage several times and committed a costly pass interference at the end of the first half that was the deciding factor in the game.
Jackson turned in a better performance in Week 2, albeit against a less-than-stellar Tennessee Titans offense. The veteran corner would not get a chance to build on that in Week 3 as Chargers head coach Brandon Staley opted to make Jackson a healthy scratch against the Minnesota Vikings.
Staley was very upfront with the media about Jackson's status with the team and what he needs to do to earn more playing time. That message does not seem to be getting to Jackson, as he told reporters he was confused by the team's decision to bench him in Week 4 (h/t Bridget Condon, NFL.com).
""I know what I can do," Jackson said. "I know that I can help the team so it kind of frustrates me that I'm not starting and that coach has me sitting out, and I'm one of the best players on the team. I'm one of the best [defensive backs] that we have.""
Jackson also told the media that he does not know what the team expects him to do and that he is doing everything he can to be a better player and teammate. We are less than a month into the 2023 season and there is already some clashing between star corner and head coach.
J.C. Jackson's comments are a bad look for the Chargers on multiple levels
There is so much to digest from Jackson's comments to the media and it goes deeper than the surface. The fact that Jackson was even willing to be this candid about his situation with the media should be extremely telling. Athletes pick and choose the messages they want to get across.
First is the fact that Jackson admitted to reporters that he is not yet 100%. That in itself opens another can of worms about his situation and how the team is viewing it. Staley was adamant before Week 1 that Jackson was 100% and there were no setbacks from his torn patellar injury from last season. But Jackson himself is saying he isn't 100%. Is that the entire truth? Or is that a convenient reason for why he has struggled? Either way, the two sides need to be on the same page.
It also is not a great look that he is outright telling the media that he is not happy with Staley's decision. It is one thing to be upset and handle it behind closed doors. Going to the media is a completely different thing and one that signals some kind of dysfunction in the Bolts' locker room.
Also, how do Jackson's teammates feel after his comments? Calling himself one of the best players on the entire team definitely is a bold thing to do when he has been playing at such a subpar level. There is nothing wrong with being confident but to publicly put yourself ahead of your teammates? That isn't great, either.
Ultimately, fans are seeing this situation bubble to the surface with Staley being upfront and Jackson being candid. It is never the way a team should handle a situation like this but alas, this is where the Chargers currently are.