The Los Angeles Chargers will have a challenging start to this NFL season, as they will open their schedule against the Las Vegas Raiders this Sunday, then take on the Kansas City Chiefs just four days later.
These two games will tell the football world a lot about how the Chargers’ revamped defense and new pieces there will add up to victories and perhaps a shot at the Super Bowl.
One of those new pieces is J.C. Jackson, a young, ascendant cornerback whom they signed as a free agent in March.
He underwent ankle surgery a couple of weeks ago, and his recovery timetable was expected to be two to four weeks.
According to head coach Brandon Staley, he has made progress in his recovery and he has even passed an important milestone.
“J.C.’s boot is off, he was running yesterday and he is day-to-day,” Staley said.
This is good news for a team that has huge expectations for 2022.
Jackson Will Shore Up An Area Of Need
Last season, the Chargers had a strong and even explosive offense, but their defense let them down way too often.
They finished towards the bottom of the NFL in many key defensive categories, and they were unable to stop opposing teams from making big plays downfield.
Los Angeles already had Derwin James, one of the best safeties in the game, but it needed someone who could matchup with premier wide receivers and hold them in check.
In his four NFL seasons, the 26-year-old has steadily improved, and he had his best season last year, posting eight interceptions and a league-leading 23 passes defended.
That production earned him his first trip to the Pro Bowl.
JC Jackson this season:
– 8 INT’s
– 23 passes defended (which led the league via Pro Football Reference)
– When targeted, he held quarterbacks to a lowly 43 passer rating
Jackson has been named a second team All-Pro. 🔒 pic.twitter.com/a22YqY9wy6
— Pats Buzz (@PatsBuzz) January 14, 2022
An added bonus the Chargers are getting with Jackson is the fact that as a rookie, he won a Super Bowl with Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
This means he experienced being in a championship culture, the type of culture Staley is trying to develop.
With Davante Adams now a member of the Raiders, as well as the other standout wide receivers in the AFC, such as Stefon Diggs, Tyreek Hill and Ja’Marr Chase, the Chargers will sorely need Jackson’s ability to make them work.
Will He Be Able To Play In Week 1?
There were conflicting reports on Wednesday as far as Jackson’s status for the Chargers’ season opener against the Raiders.
Some reported that he will not play in the contest.
#Chargers corner J.C Jackson is not expected to play Week 1. Per Taylor Bisciotti pic.twitter.com/hnyWCTwRVk
— Bolt Up (@BoltzFam) September 7, 2022
However, officially, he is listed as day-to-day, which means that he could participate in Week 1, and Staley didn’t confirm the reports that he would be out on Sunday.
To clarify Brandon Staley was asked if he can confirm the report that JC Jackson WON'T play Sunday
he said, "I CAN'T confirm that."
meaning there is still a chance he COULD play Sunday
— Bridget Condon (@BridgetCondon_) September 7, 2022
It looks like Jackson will be a game-time decision for Los Angeles.
JC Jackson is ready to go, Chargers Nation! 🙌 pic.twitter.com/alysUuDs1Y
— ChargerNationCP (@charger_cp) September 7, 2022
Other than him and tight end Donald Parham, the team is relatively healthy, and if things remain that way, this could be the year the Chargers live up to expectations and, at the very least, make some serious noise in the playoffs.NEXT: The Chargers Are Seen As A Rare Postseason Lock