J.C. Jackson was named to his first Pro Bowl on Wednesday, the culmination of an outstanding start to his career since making the Patriots as an undrafted rookie out of Maryland in 2018.
"It was a blessing just being able to be in my first Pro Bowl," said Jackson on Thursday afternoon. "It means a lot to me and everything I've dedicated and all the hard work I put in.
"All the guys, my teammates, they congratulated me. I want to thank those guys too, I didn't do it by myself. I want to thank my teammates, thank my coaches."
With seven interceptions this season, Jackson has a whopping 24 total interceptions in his four-year career, as he's been consistently making plays on the ball since his arrival. This season, his first not lining up across from Stephon Gilmore, Jackson is allowing a 40.8 opposing quarterback rating while already being targetted more than any season before with three games still to go.
Pro Football Focus has 2021 as Jackson's highest-ranked season thus far (78.4) which places him at 11th overall at cornerback this season.
"It's always been my goal since I entered the NFL," said Jackson of making the Pro Bowl. "I want to meet all the goals. I want to be a Hall of Famer, Pro Bowl, All-Pro. That's what you play for, you play to be the best, you play to compete."
Asked by ESPN's Mike Reiss how he went from undrafted to Pro Bowler, Jackson reflected.
"Just being self-motivated and disciplined. I came in undrafted, I already knew I had to work harder. I had to put in more work just being undrafted. You gotta go harder. I want to thank the team for taking a chance on me, I made the most of my opportunities, just grinding day in and day out believing in myself."
"The main thing you see from J.C. is he's a competitor," said Adrian Phillips. "Just seeing his growth, even from last year to this year, just how much his knowledge of the game has grown over the off-season... It's cool to see, you can just see it in his eyes. You can see how in-tune he is with every decision we're making out there and he was like that before, it's just a whole other level."
Practice & Injury Report
The Patriots were back on the upper fields for practice on Thursday and had the same attendance as Wednesday's practice with Nelson Agholor (concussion) and Rhamondre Stevenson (illness) both missing, while Kendrick Bourne, Harvey Langi and Yasir Durant all remain on the Reserve/Covid-19 list. Matthew Slater (illness) was removed from Thursday's Injury Report.
Quotes of Note
Julian Edelman appearing on Pardon My Take on the Patriots' playoff chances (via Zach Cox/NESN):
"They're a teeterer, just because their defense is so good and I know how they coach, how they prepare. I hated last game, but it was due to happen, to have doy-doy plays by a rookie. That's destined to happen, and it's almost at a point where, like, all right, we still have time to learn from that I believe that they'll get that fixed, potentially, and if they want to play the game they want to play, how they want to play it, I think they'll be able to contend."
David Andrews on the Bills matchup:
"It's a great competition. They've got a really good team, their defense is really good, lots of experienced players. Really good scheme, they do a lot of things well... This is just two really good football teams playing a game on Sunday. Obviously, we know each other, we're very familiar with each other. It's going to be great competition and it always is whenever we play Buffalo."