Adoree' Jackson was a jack-of-all trades for the Titans in his rookie season.
And because of it, he was an especially busy man.
Jackson led the Titans with 1,260 snaps in 2017 - playing on defense, special teams and even lining up on offense occasionally. The only NFL player to participate in more plays than Jackson last year was Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu, who recorded 1,261 snaps.
Heading into this offseason, Jackson set his mind on getting geared up mentally and physically for Year 2. He hopes to take his game to another level.
“I think Year 2 is always that year where you are more comfortable, more relaxed, and a different player, really,” Jackson said last week from the Titans Caravan. “It is really all about just going out there and being myself and playing ball.
“When you’re more comfortable out there, you’re able to play fast and be free. It’s about understanding it is a new year, but you already have your feet wet. So now it is about going out there and having fun.”
Plenty has changed around Jackson, however, from coaches to teammates.
Jackson said he’s changed himself.
“I feel like I am bigger and stronger,” he said. “I’ve been trying to work on certain things, just trying to work on what I didn’t have last year -- strength, size, and just working on little things technique wise to clean things up
“Everybody says it looks like I’ve gained 10 pounds. … I am just going out there and making sure everything stays tight.”
In reality, Jackson, listed at 5-foot-11, 185 pounds last season, said he’s only put on a few pounds. But he said he has “a different build.”
Some more reality: With Mike Vrabel as his new head coach, Dean Pees as his new defensive coordinator, and Kerry Coombs as his new secondary coach, things have changed, and he’s adjusting.
“Everything is different,” he said. “But it’s cool. I’m learning a new playbook, learning a new style. But I am enjoying it.”
There’s also a new cornerback in the room – former Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler, whose presence should give the Titans some intriguing options this fall on defense. The Titans have some valuable experience at the position with Butler and Logan Ryan, along with some talented young players in LeShaun Sims and Tye Smith, who have NFL experience themselves.
The Titans also signed veteran safety Kendrick Lewis this offseason and drafted defensive back Dane Cruikshank.
“I like Malcolm a lot,” Jackson said. “Just going out there and learning from all those different people – Kevin Byard, Logan (Ryan), L-Dog, and just being able to learn from different guys. They all have different techniques, how they like to do things. It is all about putting tools in your toolbox.
“So having Malcolm out there and to learn from and to compete with. It is always fun to go out there and compete with a guy who has the same mindset and goals as you.”
Something else Jackson would like to change is his interception total.
Looking back, it was undoubtedly a strong rookie season for Jackson, a first-round pick out of USC in last year’s draft. Jackson played in all 16 regular season games (plus both playoff games), and he recorded 67 tackles and three forced fumbles. He was credited with 23 passes defensed, and four tackles for a loss. On offense, Jackson carried the ball five times for 55 yards.
Jackson returned 25 kickoffs (23.1-yard average) and 34 punts (8.5-yard average).
One thing he didn’t have: an interception.
On the way out the door following his rookie year, Jackson did get a pick-me-up from Byard, an All-Pro performer last season.
“KB told me Year 2 is always a great breakout year,” Jackson said of Byard, smiling. “He told me, ‘I didn’t have any (interceptions) my first year, and then my second year I had eight.’ So he said, ‘Now it’s up to you to do what you do.’
“It’s always about competition, and having fun. And I plan on doing that. When I am out there on the field, I feel like something spectacular play is going to happen for me, and if not me, somebody on our team, on the field. I caused some turnovers last year, and now for me, getting my hands on the ball, getting interceptions, returning something – whether it be a Pick 6 or in the return game – that would be a blessing.”