Donte Jackson apologizes for criticism of play-calling

Carolina Panthers cornerback Donte Jackson walked back comments from Sunday afternoon critical of interim coach Perry Fewell's defensive play-calling in the team's loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

Jackson was the primary defender on two Falcons touchdown passes in the defeat, including a 93-yard catch-and-run from rookie receiver Olamide Zaccheaus, who beat Jackson down the middle of the field and ran past an open swath of turf populated by no defensive-back help. The cornerback was not pleased following the loss with how he was put in that position.

"First of all, it was two bad calls. Two horrible calls. Two calls that we didn't call in those situations all week at practice," Jackson said after the game, per Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer.

Jackson caught heat for openly criticizing the play-calling of Fewell, who was coaching his first game as Panthers interim coach after longtime coach Ron Rivera was fired earlier that week. The second-year corner apologized for the remarks Thursday, saying he was merely frustrated that Carolina had lost its fifth straight game.

"Everybody in the locker room is frustrated," Jackson said, per ESPN's David Newton. "The season is not going how we want it to go. But doesn't give me the right to go out there and say anything about anything.

"I was totally out of line. Apologetic to my coaches and we're moving on to Seattle. That's our main objective this week."

Jackson pointed out that he apologized directly to Fewell, who was Jackson's position coach for the first 12 games of the season.

"I was very apologetic to my coach," Jackson said. "Coach Fewell is a great guy, very understanding. Our conversation was long. It didn't have much to do with that situation. It was about life and how to learn and bounce back.

"That's what makes him a great guy. He knew I was frustrated after the game. He's not going to hold that to my character. That's why we all have a ton of respect for Coach Fewell, the way he carries himself."

Jackson and Carolina (5-8) have three games remaining in a lost season, the next of which comes Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks.

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