Bears DC Pagano sees some Ed Reed in Eddie Jackson


Expectations for Chicago Bears safety Eddie Jackson were already through the roof entering his third pro season. New defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano added even more fuel to the hype fire.

Pagano said last week that Jackson reminds him of former Ravens safety Ed Reed, who enters the Hall of Fame this year.

"From a talent standpoint? Very, very similar," Pagano said, via the Chicago Sun-Times. "Great instincts. Great range. Great ball skills. He's only three years into it. Ed has a lot more time on task, obviously. He's got a lot of the same traits. He loves football. He's a football junkie. And again, the sky's the limit for a guy like that.

"When you know the defense and you know what you're doing and then you can spend all your time figuring out the offense and being one step ahead, that's where he's got an edge on everybody. He's very similar to Reed."

Pagano coached Reed in Baltimore for four seasons. He will now help Jackson take the next step in what could be an epic career.

Jackson is coming off a dynamic second season in which he was named first-team All-Pro after compiling six interceptions, 15 passes defended, a sack and 51 tackles.

The Bears' safety has the range ideal for the modern NFL, but has plenty of strides to make before a true comparison to Reed is fair to the young player.

"He had a great year last year -- but that was then," safeties coach Sean Desai said. "He knows that. We're going to challenge him in a way that we see, and he sees, the small areas he can improve. ...

"In this league, it's about one step and one inch. If you can get him one step faster than he was last year, that could lead to more plays he can make. If you get him one inch closer, that can lead to more plays."

When Jackson suffered an injury late in the season (missing the final two games of the regular season and didn't play a snap in the playoff tilt), the Bears' back end noticeably suffered without the playmaking safety's ability to blanket the secondary. Watching Nick Foles dice up the Bears' defense late in the postseason tilt underscored Jackson's importance to Chicago's D.

If Jackson lives up to Pagano's expectation in 2019, it will go a long way in the Bears' defense repeating their dominant 2018 campaign.