Adoree' Jackson: New York Giants' success is all about 'keep fighting, keep battling'
Following a five-year stretch without a playoff appearance, the New York Giants are on fire in 2022, with a 6-1. The team goes into NFL Week 8 facing the Seattle Seahawks, who sit atop the NFC West with a 4-3 record.
One exciting addition to the Giants’ roster last season was Adoreé Jackson, a 27-year-old cornerback who spent the previous four seasons with the Tennessee Titans.
Just prior to this weekend’s matchup, I spoke with Jackson about his evolving role with the New York Giants and what it takes to survive and win in today’s NFL.
Andy Frye: The Giants are 6-1. Obviously, the offense gets credit for a lot in the NFL but talk about the Giants' contributions and synergy.
Adoreé Jackson: I think for us, we always talk about complimentary football. That’s something big that we preach on and having each other’s back. So, no matter what is going on throughout the game, whether offense is playing hot, the defense isn’t, the special teams are, or vice versa. Whoever is playing hot, regardless, we never point fingers. Just go out there, keep competing, keep battling and keep fighting. Having that mantra and that saying for all of us when we started OTAs in April, I think that’s what has helped us get our synergy and let us all play for each other and hold each other accountable and be there for one another.
AF: In your second season in New York, you've played almost every snap. What's it take to evolve—and stay—in the NFL?
Jackson: I feel like to be able to stay and evolve in the game, it’s all about your mental game. It’s (your) understanding that to evolve, you need to be mentally prepared and always working on taking your game to the next level. Whether it’s going out there physically, having that mentality, that physicality you want to bring out there, pushing yourself to do the extra work, do the extra reps.
It’s hard to get in this league and it’s easy to get out of this league. When you’re in here, you try to stay and do as much as possible. Be a great person, do the little things in practice, help the guys around you. I understand that it’s all about competition and I feel like to be able to stay in here, you’ve got to keep having that drive, that hunger to always compete and to always have fun. I feel like if you lose the fun in this game, that’s when everything else tells all. I feel like having fun, being mentally sharp and keeping your body physically prepared is what keeps you here.
AF: For defensive backs like yourself, is gaming the QB and picking off interceptions much more complicated than we fans think?
Jackson: It’s different when you play on the defensive side. Obviously, the receivers or the quarterbacks are on the same page, and they know exactly what route they’re running. They may have two different routes depending on what leverage or what you’re doing. I feel like for us, defensively, you have to study film and be able to anticipate what route or what play might come, but never guess.
I feel like to be on the defensive side and to be able to play against opposing, great receivers and great quarterbacks and to be able to make plays on the ball, whether it’s a PBU, a pick, forcing a fumble, or whatever it may be defensively, I feel like it gives you that confidence and that reassurance of why you do it and why you’re playing in the league and playing defense.
AF: Your mother Vianca struggled with and recovered from breast cancer. Talk about what Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Crucial Catch means to you.
Jackson: Crucial Catch and Breast Cancer Awareness Month mean a lot to me since my mom has battled and beat breast cancer. For me, I hope it gives people an insight to be able to tackle or get ahead of things that they may not know are coming. A lot of people watch football, and you may see that one commercial, or you may see something during the game that just sparks a reminder to get screened or remind someone you love to get yearly exams. Also, just to know we all go through the same things, regardless of if we’re out there playing professional football and entertaining the fans.
We’re still people and we’re all relatable. I think having this month is great for people, even those who may have lost someone because it reminds fans that we are all the same. We’re with them and we’re in this fight together.
AF: Like New York, your division rivals the Eagles and Cowboys are having great seasons. How can the Giants win the NFC East?
Jackson: I feel like the NFC East has always been a tough one regardless of records or regardless of how teams are playing or not playing. For us, just taking it a day at a time, focusing on the little things, getting mentally prepared and getting our bodies physically ready. Also, to be able to come in and correct things that need to be corrected and understand that no matter if you do some things well, there’s always room for improvement. The things that you haven’t done well, you’re able to correct those too.
That’s one of the great things about playing week to week; being able to make adjustments and critique yourself and to be able to go out there and put something else on display each week. For us, we just need to stay focused on the task at hand and that’s the next game mentality, next play mentality or next series mentality, whatever it may be.
AF: What does life after football look like for you?
Jackson: I love this game and I hope to play a long time, but I’ve been thinking about my next move since I was drafted in 2017 and how I can use my platform as a professional athlete to set myself up for what’s next, not just financially but in networking and opening doors. Just like on the field, you always have to be ready for what’s next.
My business partner James Moore and I founded KME Ventures a few years ago. It was formed to create, incubate and launch ideas, primarily focused on the creation of direct-to-consumer platforms and strategic investments into businesses we can add value to. Most of our work is behind the scenes but I’m really looking forward to a big venture we have launching this fall that has been years in the making. Just like football, you got to stay prepared for what’s next. Outside of some of my business ventures, I’d like to do some chilling and relaxing with my family and friends.
I’m looking forward to enjoying the hard work that I’ve put in and to be able to actually enjoy life with my loved ones. I want to give back to the community and to be able to inspire and give hope to the next great players. I’d love to be a source of guidance for someone. I want to pay it forward and do things that would have helped me or my family when I was a kid. Just trying to give back and help those that need advice. I’ll enjoy all the hard work that I put in and just give thanks.