In Midst of Pandemic, J.C. Jackson Training with ‘Mamba Mentality’
Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson reads Kobe Bryant's book to his family. Photo Credit: Gregory Taylor
In the world of the coronavirus, no facilities are open. Not even Gillette Stadium.
Football players are stuck at home when at this time last season they were getting ready for OTA’s and mandatory mini-camp.
COVID-19 has not stopped J.C. Jackson and trainer Greg Taylor from preparing the cornerback through diet and in-house exercises.
“J.C. is working on the three facets that he wants to focus if the season was going on right now,” Taylor told Prime Time Sports Talk. “He is a good kid that has grown into a young man and he understands the big picture and wants to take the leap to be great.”
Taylor who is from San Diego, California where he trains athletes and does motivational speaking, says Jackson is not content with the talent he has shown thus far on the field.
“[J.C. has shown a lot] with his character and his hunger with the example he wants to set for people like young kids as well as his own children,” Taylor said. “There’s a difference from being good and being great and somebody who just wants to be there.”
Even Jackson’s father Christopher has noticed the little changes in his son’s mentality as the cornerback tries to make that big leap.
“He’s growing up,” Christopher said. “Every year, his eyes see different so other than that, he’s just been J.C. He’s always had that work ethic with just grinding and getting better every day.”
The Maryland alum is paying extra attention as well to his diet and that is part of the mission with Taylor on the east coast for the long haul.
“That’s the main reason why I’m here,” Taylor said. “That was something that he wanted to focus on mentally so when things do open back up, he’s in the best shape that he has ever been at. He is willing to do some things that he has never done to get there.”
Both Jackson and Taylor are drawing inspiration from an idol of their own. Kobe Bryant.
“[Kobe Bryant] woke up one day and was with his daughter and didn’t come home that day and I think that puts a lot of things into perspective,” Taylor said. “J.C. is in that position where he has a young son, a child on the way, and it’s something that really struck a chord with him.”
Taylor and Jackson are propelled by the late Laker’s constant hunger for greatness on and off the court, fuel that they are using in every workout.
“We play that song by Lil Wayne [called] ‘Kobe Bryant,'” Taylor said. “It talks about him saying that he wants to win and he’ll do whatever it takes to do that. We do that too here.”
On top of playing the song, the pair make a point to start every workout at 8:00 a.m. in homage to Bryant’s first NBA number, do two sets tributing Gianna Bryant’s basketball number, with their quick foot ladder having 24 squares.
Taylor’s son Kobe-Michael, has worked with his father and Jackson inspired by their work ethics through this stressful time.
With the ‘Mamba mentality’ as a part of their determination and routine, Taylor brought his own spin with a unique acronym.
“We talk about winning every day,” Taylor said. “What’s important now (WIN). Let’s win every day and every way that we can. Whether it be as a person or as a professional athlete. So that is something that is very important to him and we talk about it immensely each day on how we can get better. We block time out for it, we structure it just like if it was a mini camp.”
Jackson is dedicating this season to Bryant and playing it in the future Hall of Famer’s honor.
“He is for sure playing in his memory,” Taylor said. “You can’t walk in those shoes with the kind of career Kobe had as a basketball player. But from a football perspective, He can be a closer version to that, most definitely.”
Jackson and his camp released a statement today on what would have been the 19th wedding anniversary of Kobe and Vanessa Bryant.
“From the J.C. Jackson Camp, we want to wish Vanessa Bryant a happy anniversary. We are praying daily for healing, we intend to dedicate our next season to honor Kobe by applying the same, ‘Mamba mentality’ principles on and off the field to be the best version of ourselves.”
As for the future of this isolation period, Jackson’s father’s answer was simple as to how his son will look when the quarantine is lifted.
“He’s going to be ready,” Christopher said.