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Jackson displays his range, ball skills in practice


Eddie Jackson kicked off the first day of padded practice in what is becoming his signature fashion: an interception.

After closing on a deep throw by Mitchell Trubisky, Jackson weaved through tacklers until the play was blown dead. It was a fitting start to the year for the All-Pro safety, who has collected eight picks, three of which he ran back for touchdowns, in his first two years in Chicago.

"Eddie has got phenomenal range," said coach Matt Nagy, "some of the best range I've ever seen."

Nagy declined to weigh-in on whether the pick should be considered a mistake by the offense or just a phenomenal play by Jackson, a mark of the back and forth between the two sides on Sunday morning.

"They made plays," said Jackson. "We made plays. When we get on them, they pick it up. That's what you want to see from the offense."

Jackson's career has been a series of defied expectations. The past few years have seen him go from an unheralded high school receiver to the MVP of the 2016 College Football Championship Game. After falling to the Bears in the fourth round of the 2017 draft, seven picks before the Bears selected running back Tarik Cohen, Jackson started every game as a rookie.

Like many of his teammates, Jackson went to a new level during Nagy's first season.

"I feel like he's gained everyone's trust now," said Jackson of the coach. "Everyone trusts him. No one questions anything. Last year it was a little shaky, him being a new coach. But, after a while, you see it. Everyone knows what we want to accomplish."

On a personal level, Jackson is still looking to improve upon his performance during the 2018 season, which saw him pile up accolades and establish himself as one of the best young players at his position.

"I want to be a better leader," said Jackson. "Work on the little things. My main focus is being a better leader to my teammates. Coming out here every day and practicing. As a player, sometimes you don't feel it, but you come out here and still put it on film."

Jackson hasn't held back from making lofty comparisons to this year's team. Earlier this month, he said the goal for this year's team is to top the storied defense of the 1985 Bears and win the second Super Bowl in franchise history.

On Sunday, he compared the Bears to a dynasty with which he is well acquainted. The safety spent four years playing for Nick Saban at Alabama.

"You've gotta be real selfless," said Jackson, "At Alabama, that's what we had. We had a lot of players that were determined. We all had our mind set on one goal. You feel it here now, especially after last season. Everybody knows how close we came. The mindset for the team right now is big."

Jackson continues to make his case. He cited the high attendance at OTAs as well as the effort he saw on Sunday morning.

"You see it out there," said Jackson. "The competition level is very high right now. We had a lot of plays today, but no one complained. Everyone put their blinders on and went to work."