It’s early, but — rookie Eddie Jackson takes first-team reps at safety

BOURBONNAIS — It seems like only a matter of time before Bears rookie Eddie Jackson supplants incumbent starter Adrian Amos at safety — especially after the fourth-round pick from Alabama took first-team reps with veteran Quintin Demps in Saturday’s practice in shorts.

“It’s pretty cool,” said Jackson, who had a pass break-up and a tackle in the run game in the Bears’ preseason opener against the Broncos on Thursday night. “It’s helpful just being out there with the older guys and seeing how things work. And also being out there next to Quintin Demps — just getting a feel for things and being in with those guys felt good.”

Jackson still has a lot to prove in the preseason to win the job. But he’s definitely trending toward the starter’s role. Coach John Fox avoided addressing Jackson’s play at safety directly when asked about Jackson on Saturday — often an indication that something’s up. Fox disdains addressing depth-chart movement, or anything that might fuel speculation.

“He missed a lot of the offseason, being a rookie, but he’s got a really good football IQ,” Fox said. “I think you saw his return skills are capable. We averaged 10-plus yards in our punt return, which we were a non-factor a year ago. All-in-all, I think he’s just going to continue to improve.”

Bears rookie safety Eddie Jackson (39) had a pass break-up and a tackle on a running play in his NFL preseason debut. (Jun Yam/AP)

Jackson has made a smooth transition to the NFL, in part because of his upbringing at Alabama.

“The speed of the game [in the NFL] is a little faster, but it’s not a real huge difference,” Jackson said. “But learning and putting in the work is the same thing. At ‘Bama, their camp is harder than the camp here, so this kind of helps you on your body.”

Jackson cleared a mental hurdle with a 15-yard punt return in the second quarter — his first punt return since the one that ended his season when he suffered the broken…

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