After surgery, it’s not clear if the star cornerback for the Los Angeles Chargers will be able to play when the Las Vegas Raiders come to town for the first game of the season. If that’s the case, how does the injury to JC Jackson potentially impact the Week 1 matchup between the AFC West rivals?
What is JC Jackson’s timeline to return?
Two to four weeks seems like a pretty narrow timeline in terms of recovery from surgery. The estimated range can sometimes be months, depending on the procedure. However, given the timing of the surgery, that two-week difference likely feels like an eternity to the Chargers coaching staff. They have a crucial divisional matchup in Week 1 that is less than 20 days away. They will want all their corners ready to go to help defend the Raiders’ three-headed monster of Davante Adams, Hunter Renfrow, and Darren Waller.
The game will fall almost directly in the middle of Jackson’s recovery timetable. If he is indeed back in a minimum of two weeks, he should be totally ready to go for the Raiders game. If it is closer to the maximum of four weeks, he will likely be out for that matchup and possibly even the Chargers’ Week 2 tilt with the Kansas City Chiefs. Then there’s the scenario where he’s back in about three weeks. This would likely leave him with some type of game-time decision. Even if he did play, he would most likely not be 100 percent. With how tight the AFC West figures to be this season, expect Jackson to play if he is at all capable of doing so, even if it is in a limited capacity.
How does this affect the Las Vegas Raiders?
It’s never cool to root for injuries, but it is impossible to ignore how much of a boon this could be for the Silver and Black. The Chargers would likely have trouble defending the Vegas passing attack even with Jackson. Without him, that will be an almost impossible task. He is the only corner that they could theoretically leave on an island with either Adams or Renfrow. Assuming Derwin James is assigned to Waller, the Chargers will likely have to bracket the other two, or at least shade to them.
Even if Jackson plays, he more than likely won’t be at full strength. He would have had a hard enough time covering Adams then. If he is even a half-step slower, he will likely need help on that assignment.
No matter how you look at it, this is huge for the Raiders. The Raiders’ receivers are going to be a matchup problem for just about everyone in the league. This news just exacerbates that advantage. Head coach Josh McDaniels must do everything he can to exploit it. In one of the most stacked divisions ever, every edge in every game is vital.
*Top Photo: Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal