My favorite part of First and 10 @ 10’s interview with new Broncos’ cornerback Kareem Jackson is Steve Atwater welcoming him at the end of their show: “Welcome to Denver, man. We appreciate it.”
Atwater even chuckled a bit as he said the last part and I can completely understand why because he is probably relieved to see John Elway putting together a secondary once again capable of becoming an elite group. And even more, I bet Atwater is slightly relieved - hence the “we appreciate it” comment - that the defense, including the secondary, under Vic Fangio is going to be an aggressive tackling group - a la Steve Atwater.
But Atwater isn’t the only one.
Jackson is pretty fired up to be in a defense that will allow him to use his versatility as well as his love for a big hit.
“As a defensive back, you want to be in those schemes where you get a chance to play zone and have eyes on the QB so you can read and react and possibly jump some routes,” he told the 1st and 10 crew on Monday.
“That’s a dream for a DB to be in that style defense,” Jackson added. “And having guys like Von [Mller] and [Bradley] Chubb who can get after the quarterback, we can read and react, get our hands on the balls, and for me, I love to be physical, so I’ll get a chance to deliver some hits.”
Jackson believes a lot of players nowadays like to “shy away from being physical and making those open-field tackles,” but he relishes that opportunity.
“Those are my strengths, so I’m excited to be one of the guys who can do multiple things and have multiple roles,” he said, noting that being a good tackler requires doing the little things right - from practicing his steps, always working on closing at the right angle, hitting the quarterback in the right spot to get him down. “It’s just paying attention to little details so I can make a tackle and get a guy down in the open field.
Kareem Jackson on where his hit on Phillip Lindsay ranks: "I think I got a 1A and 1B. That was probably the 1B. I had a similar hit against the Vikings, on a guy about the same size as Phillip."— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) March 15, 2019
Jackson told Phil Milani that his mentality for tackling is thinking of himself as a “heat-seeking missile” when he chases down the big hit.
Exactly where Jackson will play - and what position in the secondary - is a little vague...because he can do so many roles. Andrew Mason of Orange and Blue Radio, noted that even playing cornerback, Jackson “has the broad vision of a safety” with it the ability “to quickly analyze the offensive alignment in front of him.”
And he loves moving around this much.
”I actually enjoy kind of floating around, playing a little bit of everywhere,” Jackson said. “I feel like that could be an advantage for us as a team game-planning-wise, just depending on what type of skill sets that the offense possesses in terms of the guys that they have.”
Vic Fangio definitely plans to use that versatility to his new defense’s advantage.
“[Jackson] gives us a lot of options,” he said last week. “Just from week to week we might be able to line him up where we feel he best fits to defend the team we’re playing. He’s smart enough to learn all the different positions. He’s proven it in games and on tape that he can execute the positions, not just know what do to do, but play them competitively and at a high level. ...It’s a big advantage.”
Bryce Callahan, former Bears’ safety now wearing the better orange and blue combo, called the newly assembled secondary “dangerous,” and Jackson seems to agree.
“We can be a great group. It’s all about bringing each other along and being on the same page,” he said. “It’s exciting me.”
Back in Houston, Jackson started a foundation to raise awareness for breast cancer in honor of his mom, who is a two-time survivor of breast cancer, and his sister who is a leukemia survivor.
When he isn’t on the field, Jackson loves visiting children in the hospital and doing his part to brighten their day.
“Cancer is a tough thing and it can take over for a family,” he said, “so I just want to try to be some kind of stability for these families and put smiles on their faces and be there for them in the tough times.”