Giants' Adoree' Jackson embraces leadership role, talks new coaching staff, Super Bowl goal
There’s a buzz in the air when the calendar flips from July to August. The drinks taste colder, the sun feels brighter and the grass smells better — way better than what’s emanating off the New Jersey Turnpike.
The NFL regular season is almost here.
The New York Giants were among the 32 teams who launched training camp in preparation for the grueling 18-week season. Even in the blazing hot sun, fans were out in full force at the Quest Diagnostics Giants Training Center adjacent to MetLife Stadium.
The Giants are looking to not only win more than six games but also return to the postseason for the first time since 2016. The team is back with a new-look front office led by Joe Schoen and a fresh pack of coaches headed by Brian Daboll and anchored by Mike Kafka and Don "Wink" Martindale.
Adoree' Jackson is going to be a key part of the defense for the Giants. He may be only 26 years old, but he will be looked at as the veteran who will provide the leadership needed to get the team back over the hump. Darnay Holmes is entering his third season, Aaron Robinson and Rodarius Williams are entering their second season.
Jackson told Fox News Digital from inside the team’s practice bubble that he’s trying to instill some of his wisdom so that his teammates don’t make the same mistakes he did.
"I think that's my role, just trying to help. And it's crazy someone would be like, ‘I remember watching you in college,’ and I’m like, 'Goddamn, I’m that old?'" Jackson said with a smile. "It's cool, so I think just trying to be not like a big brother, just like a cousin. You always got your favorite cousin and I try to be that to them, to be able to help them out as much as possible if they need something but not be too bearing. I like people to come to me as they feel. That’s just how I try to roll, try to lead by example day in and day out."
Leading isn’t just something Jackson is talking about. He’s showing it on and off the field.
As temperatures started to head into the 90s without a cloud in sight, Jackson made sure to get his reps in. He went one-on-one against wide receivers to practice defending all types of routes. In 11-on-11 drills, Jackson went up against Kenny Golladay — who is expected to break out after a disappointing 2021 season. Golladay caught a pass from quarterback Daniel Jones over Jackson.
Golladay and Jackson also went one-on-one, with the wide receiver getting the better of the veteran cornerback as well.
When asked about the battles, Jackson smiled.
"Me and KG, shoot, everybody be battling. That’s the fun part about it," he said. "I’ll make some plays, they’ll make some plays. At the end of the day, it’s competition. Iron sharpens iron, so I appreciate that a lot, especially these one-on-ones that we do."
With Martindale as the new defensive coordinator, Jackson has to make sure he’s up early for practice and hitting the books to study the defensive schemes. He told Fox News Digital that he is always thinking about what he could’ve done better in practice and works to correct it.
"Man, it's crazy often. Even when we go do our walkthroughs and stuff, I'll see [the] plan, and I'm like, ‘Oh, this read, this play,’ and I'll still remember (Darius) Slayton, this route, this is what he did or, oh man, I probably could’ve done this better. It's always me thinking about it or watching the film," he said.
"Eli (Manning) came here yesterday and said if you didn’t do anything today you’re not getting better. There’s no staying the same, you’re getting worse or getting better. At the end of the day, trying to get better and trying to figure out things that worked for me."
It’s hard not to notice how upbeat practice was.
The coaches were razzing up the players while the competition was fierce on the field. When asked whether it was the new coaches roaming the sideline that made things feel more hopeful, Jackson said they weren’t the only thing to make it more electric out there.
"They’ve been out there cheering and going crazy," he said. "It gets you pumped up. You got the music playing, you got the fans. Especially with the coaches, you start with them, too, man — the trash talk. I love that. Like you make a play, OK whatever. They make a play, whatever, and we just go back and forth. The coaches staff, them having their swagger … you just feel it. It is nice to have."
Jackson signed a three-year deal to come to the Giants prior to the start of the 2021 season after spending the first part of his career with the Tennessee Titans.
He said legacy and tradition lured him to one of the oldest NFL franchises.
"I feel like it’s the Mecca or the place to be. It’s really about tradition at the end of the day," he told Fox News Digital. "As a kid growing up and watching football, all you heard was the Giants or the Patriots or the Cowboys, Philly. It was almost a no-brainer. It was one of those things, like it just felt different, felt at home."
Surrounding Jackson inside the field house were some of the names of Giants greats who played in the same secondary that the former USC standout is currently playing in and who helped the team to four Super Bowl titles, including Corey Webster, Sam Madison, Myron Guyton, among others.
The team may be a ways away from the 2011 team that won the organization its last Super Bowl, but Jackson said to get back there the team must play together.
"It’s going to take us a collective buy-in, doing the little things and having one goal, one band and one sound, like a drumline," he said. "Nobody’s bigger than the team. The strongest link, the weakest link, is going to all be the same. We just want to get better [at] the end of the day. I think that’s what it’s going to take. Hold each other accountable, being a unit and push each other day in and day out."
Jackson is coming off playing 13 games for the Giants in his first season with them. He had 62 tackles, eight passes defended and an interception.