In early June, Pro Football Focus released its list of the top 32 safeties ahead of the 2023 season. Both Bears starting safeties Eddie Jackson and Jaquan Brisker were on the list. However, their positioning sparked conversations among Bears fans about If the safeties are being overlooked going into the 2023 season.
Pro Football Focus ranked Jackson 17th among safeties in the NFL. This is after a season that Jackson was not able to complete due to injury. So being ranked seventeenth may seem fair. However, Jamal Adams, who only played one game in 2022, is a higher rank than Jackson.
Adams excels at run stopping but is not a great pass defender. Over his six years in the NFL, Adams has 43 tackles for loss, 21.5 sacks, seven forced fumbles and four interceptions. These numbers show Adams importance as run stopping and pass rush safety but also show his lack of pass defense.
Compare that with Jackson’s numbers throughout the same time period. Jackson has 14 tackles for loss, two sacks, 10 forced fumbles and 14 interceptions. While these two players’ play styles are different, statistics like interceptions and forced fumbles are good stats to compare. Since creating turnovers is important, no matter how the safety position is played.
The statistics show that Jackson has been the player who creates more turnovers. That is why even when Jackson has down seasons, fans believe he is a top safety in the NFL.
Jackson has responded to the chatter around his play on Twitter by saying, “I’m going to have one the best seasons ever played by a safety!”.
A year like that would help Jackson rise in next year’s safety rankings. With Jackson’s supreme confidence in himself this season, Bears fans should be excited.
After drafting Brisker at number 48 overall in 2022, the Bears organization had high expectations for him. So Pro Football Focus ranking him as the 27th best safety was not surprising. Brisker accumulated five tackles for loss, four sacks, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and one interception as a rookie.
Due to an injury, Brisker only played 15 games as a rookie, which he was not happy. Saying during press at OTA’s, ” I got to finish out the year healthy. I don’t want to miss any games – even in the preseason.”. Brisker is a competitor and wants to be on the field, so the team has the best chance to win. Hopefully, he can stay healthy this season.
Brisker’s stats are decent for a rookie, but he still has much to improve. After missing 14 tackles last season. Brisker needs to improve his tackling. Missing 14 tackles in 15 games means Brisker almost averaged one missed tackle per game. If Brisker can secure more tackles in 2023, it will help the Bears’ defense slow other teams down.
Birskers versatility allows him to play all over the field. According to Pro Football Focus last season, Brisker played 371 snaps as a box safety, 289 snaps as a free safety, 150 snaps on the line of scrimmage, 100 snaps at slot corner and 43 snaps at wide corner. Briksers snap counts show how much defensive coordinator Alan Williams used him last year. Despite his use last season, Brisker wants to be used more, telling the press, ” They should use me. Like use me, like a lot. Like use me like a bar of soap.”.
Everyone overlooking the Bears’ safeties better watch out because they are talented enough to become one of the best duos in 2023.
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