Commanders CB William Jackson III believes secondary will be much better in 2022

Bryan Manning
Commanders Wire

It didn’t take Washington fans long last season to see the potential of free-agent cornerback William Jackson III. In the season-opening loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, Jackson picked off quarterback Justin Herbert inside the five-yard to prevent a touchdown.

NEW STADIUM? Washington Commanders buy land in Virginia for possible NFL stadium site

Unfortunately for Jackson, he would struggle in the ensuing weeks. Jackson came to Washington with a reputation as of the best "man" corners in the NFL. With the Commanders mainly playing zone coverage, Jackson struggled to adjust at times. And there were also communication issues.

Washington Football Team cornerback William Jackson (23) intercepts a pass intended for Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Jaelon Darden (1) during the first quarter.

There were several coverage breakdowns throughout the first half of Washington’s 2021 season. Often, players were confused about their individual assignments, allowing a wide receiver to break free for a big play.

Washington’s defense was dramatically better when defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio moved safety Landon Collins to a hybrid linebacker role, with Bobby McCain and Kam Curl as the primary safeties. Collins thrived in his new role, while McCain became more comfortable in the defense. The secondary play was much better in the second half of the season.

RELATED: Commanders LB Jamin Davis ready for improved second season 

During the opening week of Washington’s OTAs last week, Jackson spoke to the media and believes the secondary will be even better in 2022.

"We’re definitely gonna do better this year," Jackson told the Commanders official website. "We’re communicating better. I’m glad we’re here because last year it was virtual."

Jackson missed Week 7 and Week 8 last season due to injury. When he returned, he began to resemble the player he was in Cincinnati. Jackson was more comfortable over the next several weeks, and the Commanders were much better against the pass.

Sadly for Jackson, he’d miss the final three games of the season, one of which was an embarrassing blowout loss to the Cowboys.

Jackson spoke of the comfort level he and his teammates have during the first week of OTAs.

"We’re just starting at a high intensity," Jackson said. "We’re playing fast. No one’s out there thinking anymore. We’re out there playing fast. We know where guys are going to be now. We’re just out there having fun and putting it all together."

That’s great news for Washington’s defense. The Commanders return their top three corners in Jackson, Fuller and Benjamin St-Juste, and both McCain and Curl.

While Washington could use more depth at cornerback before training camp, there are reasons to be confident with the top three.

Jackson believes the best is yet to come.

"We’re having fun now," Jackson said. "And it’s definitely going to transfer to the field."