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Fitzpatrick Has High Expectations For CB William Jackson III: ‘We Expect Him To Win 50/50 Balls’

On the trade deadline, the Pittsburgh Steelers played the role of buyers and sellers, trading for CB William Jackson III from the Washington Commanders while sending WR Chase Claypool to the Chicago Bears for a second-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

S Minkah Fitzpatrick was asked about his new teammate in the secondary when the team came back from the bye week, to which Fitzpatrick relied that he expects Jackson to bring his A-game to Pittsburgh after an unsuccessful stint with the Commanders.

“I think he just adds an extra guy that can cover,” Fitzpatrick said to the media Monday in the locker room on video from Steelers.com. “An extra guy with speed. He’s a man-to-man guy. Keep the deep ball off of us. We’re going to expect him to win 50/50 balls. We’re going to expect him to cover good receivers, and that allows us to go back there and play ball.”

It sounds like Fitzpatrick has high expectations of his new teammate after Pittsburgh make a conditional late-round pick swap in 2025 to acquire Jackson from the Washington Commanders. This is to be expected from a player like Fitzpatrick who holds himself to such a high standard, thus expecting his teammates to do the same thing.

Going into the bye week, Pittsburgh had allowed the most 20+ yard completions in the league, losing on 50/50 balls down the field due to poor positioning and spatial awareness from the defensive backs. CB Ahkello Witherspoon particularly has struggled this season and got benched against the Philadelphia Eagles as he looked overmatched against A.J. Brown who got the hat trick against Pittsburgh’s secondary.

Enter William Jackson III who comes over from Washington who was playing out-of-position as the Commanders wanted him to play more zone coverage when his strength is in press man coverage.  With Pittsburgh facing the likes of Amari Cooper and Tee Higgins in the division, hopefully Jackson can prove the defense the cover man it needs to win more contested catch situations, either in the form of PBUs or taking the ball away himself via INTs as Pittsburgh looks to turn things around down the stretch.

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