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  • Erica Blackburn

William Jackson III Progressing in New Scheme with WFT

There’s nothing like being home, but sometimes you need a change in scenery. Cornerback Williams Jackson III ​​spent the first five years of his career with the Cincinnati Bengals. Now, he finds himself in the Nation’s Capital with a new team and new scheme.

Jackson deeply desired a change, wanting to push the limits of his game. So, the former first round pick signed a three-year, $40 million contract with the Washington Football Team in March.“I just wanted to do different things,” said Jackson. “I didn't want to be one dimensional. I wanted to play zone, I wanted to play man. I just wanted to mix it up and showcase my skills and make more plays. So that's why I chose here, especially with the D line.”

Head coach is thrilled to have Jackson, visualizing him playing the role that former Washington cornerback Josh Norman played in Carolina.“That's what we're hoping that he can learn and develop that feel. Because again, like I said, with his skillset, he can make a lot of plays on the ball."

Jackson has the skillset to excel in Rivera’s defense, and Rivera believes wholeheartedly he will. He just needs to continue learning and getting as many reps as he can. But just how difficult is it to switch schemes and techniques? Head coach Ron Rivera believes the first step is about comprehension.

"I think part of it is just understanding,” said Rivera. “When can I play with my eyes? When can I look through the receiver to the quarterback? What you'll get through zone – in man coverage, the idea is to get at the line of scrimmage, be physical with the guy, jam him, and try to route him to your leverage. Part of it is just understanding that I don't have to do that as much as I've got to get used to looking through to the quarterback. You don't want that to carry over when you now go to your man-technique.

“As far as William's concerned, I really like what he's starting to get used to. We're not asking him to play with his back to the line of scrimmage all the time. It's a little bit different for him. He is a solid man coverage guy. What we're trying to do is get him used to playing with vision and seeing the quarterback through the receiver."Jackson missed some time in training camp with a thigh contusion, but he still feels very good about the progress he’s been making.

“[I’m] very comfortable. It starts with preparation,” said Jackson. “You know, there are things that I'm still learning as it's my first year, but it's coming to me fairly quickly. I'm learning real quick.”

The Washington Football Team will play their first preseason game at home against Jackson’s former team, the Cincinnati Bengals on Friday, August 20th at 8pm ET.

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