MONSTER’S MASH: Eddie Jackson leads the ‘Orchestra’ and the Bears’ defense
LAKE FOREST – One of the great images of the 2018 season to date came from the Bears’ resident conductor.
Following his interception touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Vikings on Sunday, Eddie Jackson quickly gathered his defensive teammates in the back of the endzone at Soldier Field.
He stood in front of the group, facing them, getting them together in a group. Then, Jackson went into conductor mode, waving his hands like you’d see with a symphony orchestra with his teammates improvising their own instruments.
It wasn’t as clean as you’d see at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, but for one of the NFL’s best defense, it will do.
“Everybody came out, so it kinda messed it up a little bit, but everybody was just playing their things,” said Jackson of the celebration, which was planned out with a few players in practice.
A fun celebration in the endzone isn’t the only way that Jackson is leading the defense in his second year with the franchise.
Jackson has solidified his role at the safety spot in the Bears’ secondary, making the 35 tackles and breaking up six passes as you might expect, but also making a healthy amount of big plays.
He’s got three interceptions, including the one he returned for the touchdown on Sunday, which led to his end zone conducting. It was Jackson’s second touchdown of the season, adding to his 65-yard fumble return in a win over the Bills on November 4th.
“He’s a special player, special talent,” said linebacker Khalil Mack of Jackson. “Great leader, on and off the field. He’s always in the right position to make plays, and you guys are seeing it, week in and week out. He’s the best safety in the league to me, for sure.”
High praise from arguably the best defensive player in the league; an example of the safety’s big impression that he’s made on his teammates over the past year-and-a-half.
While the celebrations are fun, it’s the big plays, like his four career touchdowns, that has Jackson enthusiastic to strike up the band as often as he can.
“You get a lot of pride whenever you make a big play for the team – especially a touchdown on the defensive side of the ball. It always helps,” said Jackson. “That’s something that we can capitalize on our turnovers, not having to put the ball in offense’s hands and just take advantage of what we have.”
A HECK OF A TURNAROUND
An even bigger turnaround than the Bears’ record this season is the one they had to make starting just after 10 PM on Sunday.
That’s the one for their next game on Thanksgiving Day – and the time frame is a bit brutal.
Matt Nagy’s team has the shortest turnaround that a team in the NFL can have – playing a Sunday night game and then following that up in the late morning start in Detroit against the Lions on Thanksgiving.
It ends up right around 84 hours between the end of the Vikings game and kickoff at Ford Field, and it’s one that everyone has to deal with over a quick week.
Matt Nagy said that each individual player has their own way to get their body healed in time, while also working with team athletic trainers and nutritionists to get the players ready.
“You do as much as you can,” said Nagy of getting the team ready both mentally and physically for the Lions game on Thursday. “Detroit’s going through the same thing.”
One advantage for both teams on the quick turnaround is the fact that their match-ups are only 12 days apart, meaning there won’t be the issue of the teams getting to know each other.
“It’s a team we’re familiar with. We don’t have to go too crazy on the game plan,” said running back Tarik Cohen of the turnaround. “We’re just ready to get back at it.”
STAT OF THE DAY: 25
The number of years since the Bears beat the Lions on Thanksgiving Day.
That was on November 25, 1993, when the Bears won in Detroit 10-6.