Pagano: Similarities Between Jackson, Reed

"The sky’s the limit for a guy like that," Chuck Pagano says of Eddie Jackson.

Chris Emma
May 23, 2019 - 11:39 am

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (670 The Score) -- During his four years coaching with the Ravens from 2008-'11, Chuck Pagano came to appreciate the immense talent and dedicated demeanor of a ballhawking safety.

That player was Ed Reed, who was selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in February and is a gold standard at safety. Pagano was reminded of Reed in January, when he arrived as the Bears' new defensive coordinator and couldn't help but notice similarities between Reed and All-Pro safety Eddie Jackson.

"From a talent standpoint very, very similar," Pagano said. "Great instincts. Great range. Great ball skills. (Jackson) is 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. The sky’s the limit for a guy like that."

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Jackson broke out with six interceptions and two pick-sixes in 14 games in 2018. The production caught the attention of Pagano, who was out of coaching but watching the game from a new perspective at home.

In earning Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors, Jackson solidified his place as one of the game's best safeties. In his mind, it was just a step forward.

"Try to keep getting better," Jackson said. "Just look at the little things, what you can work on. Just keep going forward. I continue to set the bar high for myself and my teammates around me. I'm a competitive guy, so I always look to do better than the year before."

Jackson was walking off the practice field from OTAs on Wednesday as Pagano explained the similarities between him and Reed. 

What Pagano has seen during his short time working with Jackson is why he has been successful through two seasons in the NFL. In addition to Jackson's natural ability to take away the football, he also puts in the preparation that allows himself to succeed.

Like Reed, Jackson has an understanding of how every play can unfold.

"When you know the defense and you know what you’re doing ... then you can spend all your time figuring out the offense and being one step ahead," Pagano said. "That’s where (Jackson) has got an edge on everybody. He’s very similar to Reed.”

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.