Chicago Bears: Impact of Eddie Jackson being placed on COVID-19 list

Chicago Bears (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /

Eddie Jackson is placed on the COVID-19/Reserve list

It’s no secret that Eddie Jackson is a fundamental part of the Chicago Bears defense. Ever since he was drafted back in 2017, he’s played a huge role in the defense’s dominance in the NFL. Now there is a small chance the Bears could be without him this upcoming game.

According to Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune, Jackson did not test positive for the disease but rather was in close contact with someone who did test positive outside of Halas Hall.

It’s not to say that Jackson won’t be able to play this upcoming Sunday. Should Jackson continue to test negative during the course of the week, he could be on track to play. The team is fresh off a bye week, so he shouldn’t come into contact with any teammates.

Even with that thought in mind, what would happen if Jackson couldn’t play this week against the Green Bay Packers?

Who on the Chicago Bears could step up?

The Bears do have some depth at safety. Veteran Tashawn Gipson has been playing well along Jackson and could shift to the role of free safety as needed. That would mean the team would go to Deon Bush as the next man up. Bush has had several starts for the Bears before, and be a serviceable option for the team.

Of course, the team could also go to Deandre Houston-Carson as well. The veteran safety has stepped up big for the team this year, including a game-winning interception against Tom Brady earlier this year.

Regardless of who steps in, the Bears secondary has been a strong suit this year. With the cornerback duo of Kyler Fuller and Jaylon Johnson, the defense should be able to hold its own for the most part.

The impact of no Eddie Jackson for the Chicago Bears

As mentioned earlier, Jackson has been a critical part of the Bears’ defensive success. Teams refuse to target him when throwing deep. While his stat sheet may not be full of interceptions this year, Jackson is a ball hawk who can also come downhill and help stuff the run.

We’ve seen in past games what happens when Jackson isn’t in. Back in 2018, his absence versus the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Wild Card left a hole in the defense. Without his coverage abilities, the Eagles were able to hold onto a crushing playoff victory against the Bears.

Last year’s season opener also saw Jackson out for part of the game. When he wasn’t on the field, the Packers took a chance downfield and scored their one touchdown that game against the safety in the game, Deon Bush. That play likely doesn’t happen with Jackson in.

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While the Bears reserves are solid, none of them stack up to the status of Jackson. Especially with the Bears approaching a key NFC North matchup that could kickstart their playoff chances again, having Jackson not playing could be a major factor in another 2020 Bears loss.