You've heard it from me more than a few times. Defensive linemen take longer than most (if not all) positions to develop in the NFL. Thus, it's not reasonable to expect Kansas City Chiefs rookie Tyson Jackson to produce big results in year one. The same can be said for Glenn Dorsey, who is entering year two (though, with the position switch, his issues are deeper).
With three games under his belt, does the former LSU Tiger feel like he's beginning to come into his own?
"A little bit but I still have a long way to go," Jackson said following Saturday night's 14-10 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. "I'm still trying to adjust to the technique in the NFL. It's totally different than the things you can get away with in college, which isn't happening anymore. So, we've got to continue to keep working hard."
Despite missing the team's first ten training camp practices, Jackson has put up respectable numbers in a position that usually generates little as far as stats go. Two assisted tackles and one and a half sacks, including one tackle and a sack Saturday night. Those numbers came in the first and third preseason games, as he produced no stats in game two.
"As far as plays go, I'm pretty caught up," Jackson said when asked if felt caught up since holding out the first week of training camp. "I'm still behind a lot technique. But we've still got another preseason game to keep sharpening up on everything."
The statistics are nice for Jackson but he indicated it's the scoreboard at the end of the game that matters. He's definitely got the 'It's not about me' attitude down, which appears to be a key ingredient in the Pioli way.
"My success is not important right now," he said. "We were trying to win that game tonight but we were a little short so we've gotta go back to the drawing board and continue to work harder."
He's in the same position as college but the defensive scheme slightly changes his role. Instead of lining up beside former and current teammate Glenn Dorsey at LSU and just focusing on rushing the passer, part of his responsibilities include occupying as many blockers as possible to free lanes for the linebackers.
"I'm just playing within the scheme right now," Jackson said when asked whether he felt good about his play thus far. "I think coach is putting everyone in great position to make plays. We just have to keep going out there and continuing to work harder and harder to put as much pressure on the quarterback as possible to help the secondary out."