Ron Rivera
Ron Rivera admits that signing William Jackson III was a mistake after the cornerback struggled to fit in defensively. Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images


  • Ron Rivera admits that signing William Jackson never lived up to the expectation
  • Jackson struggled to adjust to the new defensive plays of th Commanders
  • He will try to fit in with the Steelers' defensive matrix

William Jackson III finally got his wish of exiting the Washington Commanders.

This occurred after the 30-year-old cornerback was dealt to the Pittsburgh Steelers as both teams swapped future conditional late-round picks.

The deal also ensured that the Commanders would not end up without proper compensation.

It was apparent that Jackson wanted a change of scenery, something that Washington was aligned with.

Now, it appears that Commanders coach Ron Rivera admitted that the move to sign Jackson did not work out as they had expected.

Speaking to JP Finlay of NBC Sports Washington, Rivera explained how Jackson was not a fit for the player they were looking for.

"We were looking for a guy that had a specific skillet, that could understand the match coverages and play the match coverages the way we do with everybody else. And he struggled with it because he really is a man-coverage type of guy. So along the lines, during our evaluation process, we were wrong," Rivera explained.

It was in March 2021 when Jackson signed a three-year, $40.5 million with the Commanders as a free agent after four seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Considering that the former Houston Cougars product performed well with the Bengals there were high hopes for his coming.

Unfortunately, a change in plays resulted in the 30-year-old failing to adapt to the match-up zone scheme that defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio wanted.

With the Bengals, Jackson blossomed in man coverage.

After playing 12 games in his first season with the Commanders, his struggles on the field were noticeable and questions arose on whether he was a fit for the match-up zone.

In the offseason, Jackson worked on rectifying his issues.

Moreover, the efforts he gave created optimism heading into the 2022-23 NFL season. However, his play regressed.

Quarterbacks from opposing teams completed 70.8% of passes with a 121.4 quarterback rating when targeting Jackson in the team's first five games.

But it was only in the Commanders' game against the Tennessee Titans that things reached the tipping point, something that resulted in Jackson being pulled from the game.

"Sometimes you get it right, sometimes you get it wrong. And when you get it wrong, when you recognize it, realize it, time to move on. That's what we're trying to do here. We're trying to not just move on for our sake, but also to give William an opportunity to go to another team that knows that they're going to give this guy a shot to use his skillset and exactly what they do, specifically," Rivera said on the struggles that Jackson went through.

William Jackson III
William Jackson III hopes to recall his old form with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Cooper Neill/Getty Images