As alarming as quarterback Mitch Trubisky’s outing was against the Eagles, another rookie arguably had a worse day.
Safety Eddie Jackson, the Bears’ fourth-round pick who has started every game, whiffed on three big plays.
Strike 1 — first-and-10 from the Eagles’ 7 at the 3:58 mark of the first quarter: Jackson took a bad angle and missed running back LeGarrette Blount, who broke off a 35-yard run. Fortunately for Jackson, safety Adrian Amos, linebacker Christian Jones and cornerback Prince Amukamara chased down Blount, and Amos forced a fumble.
Strike 2 — first-and-10 from the Bears’ 15 at 10:59 in the second quarter: Jackson was caught flat-footed one-on-one against wide receiver Nelson Agholor after a quick pass to the left slot. Agholor raced by Jackson to the outside, then leaped over cornerback Kyle Fuller into the end zone.
Strike 3 — first-and-20 from the Eagles’ 21 at 4:14 in the second quarter: After a holding penalty on the Eagles, Jackson failed to tackle Blount in the open field. Blount jumped over Jackson at the 32-yard line, then rumbled through other Bears for 11 more yards to get the first down.
“I was very frustrated,” Jackson said when asked Thursday about his performance. “I felt like I let the team down as well as myself.”
It could be argued that Jackson was due for a dud. His rough outing was in line with the rest of the rookie class’ recent travails.
Trubisky is seven games into his development, and concerns about his footwork and other fundamentals are emerging. Tight end Adam Shaheen and running back Tarik Cohen, meanwhile, have seen their playing time and usage fluctuate from week to week.
Jackson, though, was supposed to be the steady one because of his experience at Alabama. His two return touchdowns in the Bears’ 17-3 win against the Panthers in Week 7 overshadowed the tackles he missed earlier in the season.
But that game was weeks ago.
It also was the Bears’ last victory.
Like Trubisky, Jackson said he has never lost four consecutive games at any level before this year. And like Trubisky, he takes the Bears’ losses and his own mistakes to heart.
As a rookie class, the goal is to generate change.
“Looking into the future, we’ve got a great team,” Jackson said. “Everything has to start somewhere. Right now, we’re just starting at the bottom.
“I’m looking forward to finishing out this year strong and coming in next year and setting a new tone, setting a new standard.
“One thing we wanted to do as a rookie class is set a new standard. Right now, we’ve just got to get some years under our belts to do that.”
With injuries on defense, it has become apparent that Jackson has much to learn and improve on. His tackling was a predraft concern, and the issue reared its ugly head against the Eagles.
In the waning seconds of the second quarter, Jackson and Jones failed to prevent Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery from catching an eight-yard touchdown pass between them.
“It wasn’t as good as [Jackson] had been playing,” defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. “But I’m confident he’ll come back this week and play good.”
The Bears can only hope so. They’re counting on Jackson to become a long-term fixture at safety.
“[Secondary coach Ed Donatell] sent me a quote that said, ‘If I don’t win, I don’t lose; I just learn,’ ” Jackson said. “That’s something I’m going to stick by because you just learn from [mistakes]. You don’t let it happen again.
“We’re too good of a team, and I’m too good of a player. At least, I feel like I am. I’ve just got to keep looking forward and keep on.”
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