Patriots Notes: J.C. Jackson Stands Out With Pick-Six In First Titans Joint Practice


August 14, 2019

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Some assorted notes and nuggets from Wednesday’s New England Patriots-Tennessee Titans joint practice:

— J.C. Jackson has consistently run with the second-team defense since training camp began, but few Patriots defenders have made more plays than the second-year cornerback.

Jackson has broken up eight total passes across 11 competitive practices (second-most on the team behind Keion Crossen’s 10), and he registered two interceptions Wednesday: one against Marcus Mariota in 1-on-1s and one against Ryan Tannehill in 11-on-11s that he took back for a touchdown.

Tannehill was attempting to hit wide receiver Papi White on a quick out when Jackson jumped the route and took it to the house.

“He’s a good player,” fellow cornerback Stephon Gilmore said of Jackson, who started six of the Patriots’ final eight games last season. “If he keeps working, he’s going to be good. We’re all out here working, and J.C.’s going to put the work in and make plays for us. I do whatever I can to help him. I’m glad that he’s on my team.”

Jackson did have a few slip-ups in this latest practice — he was flagged for holding in 1-on-1s and later was beaten deep by Taywan Taylor during 11s — but overall, he’s performed better this summer than veteran Jason McCourty, who’s commanded the lion’s share of first-team reps opposite Gilmore.

— Rookie edge rusher Chase Winovich chipped in with an interception of his own, hauling in a pass that Deatrich Wise deflected at the line. Winovich has been highly active of late, and the Patriots tried him out in a new spot Wednesday, aligning him over the center at times in their 1-5 third-down package.

Defensive end Michael Bennett likely will be the team’s top choice to fill that role once the regular season begins.

— The downtime after practice featured reunions galore as friends and former teammates swapped stories and shared laughs. A few of the interactions we saw:

Duron Harmon and the McCourty twins chatted with former Patriots corner and fellow Rutgers product Logan Ryan.

Ex-Alabama stars Dont’a Hightower and Damien Harris caught up with Derrick Henry.

David Andrews shot the breeze with Ben Jones, his old Georgia teammate.

Wideout Cody Hollister, now with the Titans after spending one season on the Patriots’ practice squad and another on their injured reserve, said hello to Derek Rivers and Matthew Slater.

A few yards away, Dion Lewis yukked it up with the Patriots’ running backs.

Bennett spoke with Titans head coach Mike Vrabel before Vrabel walked off to meet up with Bill Belichick, their wives and former Patriots personnel boss Scott Pioli.

Patriots head trainer Jim Whalen dapped up former Pats practice squadder Frank Herron.

— With so many ex-teammates together on one field, some trash talk was inevitable. A large portion of it came from Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Vrabel, who played with Brady for eight seasons in New England.

“It was fun,” Vrabel said after practice. “It brought back a lot of memories. Just to be able to sit out there and have him — they make a play and he turns around and says, ‘Mikey, you’d better cover that. You guys need to do this.’ I’m sure I had plenty to say, too. It was a lot of fun. We’ve got a lot of respect for those guys, and we can learn a lot from the way they practice and how they operate.”

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
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