Foxboro Mass --
J.C. Jackson A Confident Rookie
J.C. Jackson is confident and who can blame him. Jackson has gone from undrafted rookie to No. 2 corner in the Pats defense for much of last week against the Chicago Bears. Jackson, 22, has two traits that are necessary for any cornerback - amnesia and and a willingness to ask questions. As a cornerback you will commit penalties (especially in today's NFL where the rules are so favorable to the receiver) - but a good corner forgets about the bad plays and moves on to the next one. Last week, Jackson (who played at Maryland) committed three penalties before he had a big interception in the second half of the Pats 38-31 win over the Bears.
"Playing defensive back you need to have a short-term memory. It's football you got to move on to the next play," Jackson said.
One of the penalties that occurred in the red zone was questionable, but Jackson persisted. Jackson is fortunate to have a mentor in Jason McCourty who teaches Jackson about technique, scheme and how to be a pro off the field. Cortland Finnegan did the same for McCourty when he was a rookie with the Tennessee Titans. McCourty said in training camp that he hoped one day when he was retired he would be sitting on the couch watching the younger players he helped develop.
"He answers a question every time I ask it," Jackson said.
Jackson is also thankful to players like Dont'a Hightower for setting a good example.
"It all comes from working hard - staying focused and being consistent. Just being around a bunch of great teammates. I am around a lot of veterans who know the game and they try to help me," Jackson said.
Belichick Has High Praise For Kyle Van Noy
The Pats acquired Van Noy two years ago. With a defense that surrendered 71 points in the last two weeks, Belichick is trying to boost the confidence of a unit that is working hard. The defense, though, has struggled to rush the passer and has been porous at times in the secondary.
"Well, yeah, anytime you get a player that you haven’t had before, it takes you a little while to get to know the player and find out how he thinks, what skills he’s good at and what positions he can play and so forth. Kyle has turned out to be very versatile and very good at many things we’ve asked him to do, from the kicking game, to playing on the line of scrimmage, to playing off the line of scrimmage, to blitzing, to playing man coverage, zone coverage – so, multiple things. So, we didn’t know that. Some of it was kind of a step-by-step process. A couple times we were forced into a situation because he is big, he is athletic, he is smart, he does have good football instincts, so a lot of times he just does the right thing on something that maybe we haven’t gone over or hasn’t specifically been covered. He just does what he thinks is right in that situation, like [Patrick] Chung would do, like [Devin] McCourty would do. Like a lot of good football players, they just know what to do. And I would say he’s one of those – Hightower, those guys – sometimes they get in a situation that we haven’t really covered this, and they just do the right thing because they’re just good, instinctive players. So, Kyle’s shown to be all that, plus he’s given us good depth in the kicking game," Bill Belichick said.
"Again, not that he’s out there for every play in the kicking game, but he’s responsible for a lot of things, so if something happened and we needed him, he would be ready to go. And that’s, when you’re a head coach or a special teams coach, that’s a comforting feeling. Even though the guy’s not out there for 30 plays in the kicking game, the fact that you know you have somebody dependable to put in that spot if it comes up is a lot better than having to worry about 66 spots and if one thing happens, like ‘oh my god, what are going to do?’ You need players like Kyle and Pat, Hightower, James White, guys like that, Dwayne Allen, [Chris] Hogan, that can just step in there and do it. So yeah, we talked about it yesterday. It’s seems like it’s gone fast and he’s played here 10 years. But, yeah, he’s certainly been in a lot of roles for us, done them well and has given us great communication and leadership on and off the field."
Pats Inactives: Eric Rowe, Brian Schwenke and Sony Michel did not practice Friday. Trent Brown, Marcus Cannon, Josh Gordon, Geneo Grissom, Rob Gronkowski, Dont'a Hightower, Jacob Hollister, John Simon and Deatrich Wise were all limited. The Pats practice tomorrow (Saturday) before heading to Buffalo on Sunday. Jason McCourty joked that his twin brother Devin could not have been a good baseball player. "Basketball and football -- those were our sports growing up," McCourty said.