4 Patriots Still on Thin Ice Despite Win Over Steelers

Dec 7, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick walks
Dec 7, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick walks / Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports
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2. J.C. Jackson

Despite the Patriots win on Thursday Night Football, cornerback J.C. Jackson had a tough night. Jackson was called for pass interference in the first quarter, which negated his interception. The Steelers ultimately ended the drive with a field goal. He gave up a 25-yard touchdown to Diontae Johnson in single coverage in the second quarter, and later committed another pass interference foul in the fourth quarter that moved Pittsburgh to the one yardline. The Steelers punched it in from there and converted the two-point conversion to cut New England's lead to three with 11:44 left.

Jackson was a second-team All-Pro and Pro Bowler in 2021 with the Patriots, before he took his talents to the West Coast and the Los Angeles Chargers on a five-year, $82.5 million deal.

His time in Los Angeles was such an unmitigated disaster that following Jackson's trade back to New England, Chargers general manager Tom Telesco attended his team's defense backs' meeting to apologize for signing Jackson and continuing to give him opportunities, while acknowledging Jackson's lack of commitment to the team.

The Chargers jettisoned him back to New England in a classic Bill Belichick move, as he brought back a former Patriot for cheap. The Patriots received Jackson and a seventh-rounder in exchange for a sixth-round pick.

Changing teams didn't appear to positively affect Jackson's commitment level, as he made headlines when he was left home during the team's overseas trip to Germany to play the Indianapolis Colts. Jackson reportedly never showed up to the team hotel before the team took on the Washington Commanders, and didn't take part in pregame warm-ups. Ian Rapoport reported that the decision was a consequence of larger questions about Jackson's reliability.

Declining play and issues concerning your commitment and reliability (on two different teams) isn't a recipe to keep your job in the NFL.