Big year for Tyson Jackson. The Kansas City Chiefs defense seems poised to take the next step and the Chiefs will need the 2009 No. 3 overall pick to perform at a high level to truly maximize the potential in the defense.
Jackson's due a sky-high salary next year, which I can't envision the Chiefs paying at its current structure, so this is sort of like a contract year for him. It's a big year that will help decide his future and he's talking like he knows it.
"I've just got to lay it on the line every play," Jackson said on Tuesday, via comments sent out by the Chiefs. "Come out there like it's the last play of my career, so I leave it all on the table and rely on my technique, and what I've been taught over the last couple of years on how to play a 3-4 defense, and how to be strong inside, and how to control those offensive lineman."
His job first and foremost is to stop the run and, as he says, "control those offensive lineman" so that the linebackers can come bursting through. There is no glamour with that job, as Chiefs defensive line coach Anthony Pleasant explained to the media on Tuesday.
"The glamorous part about playing defensive lineman is you get sacks, and our defense is a linebacker defense," Pleasant said. "It's not grunt guys up front. Our job is to keep the linebacker free so the linebacker can make plays. It's not a glorified position as far as getting sacks, so we stop the run, and we get a chance to rush the passer. But if we can't stop the run, then you guys will start writing, ‘What's wrong with you guys, you can't stop the run.' (laughing) It's a no-win situation."
Very interesting perspective from Pleasant. The role of the 3-4 defensive end is something the Chiefs have talked about before, something they've cautioned fans about. It's not a sack position like it is in other defenses. Their success can be partially measured in how well the Chiefs as a whole stop the run and how many sacks Tamba Hali and Justin Houston can rack up.
It's a big year for Tyson Jackson. He and Glenn Dorsey have started together for three straight years (really, two-and-a-half). This should be the best season we've seen from both of them.