What a difference a year has made for Browns linebacker D’Qwell Jackson.
At this point last season, Jackson was pushing himself to get back on the field after tearing a pectoral muscle against the Pittsburgh Steelers in October, 2009. However, the rushing came with a price, as Jackson tore his other pectoral muscle during an evening practice at training camp last summer.
Prior to the NFL’s work-stoppage, Jackson accepted an offer to return to the Browns in 2011.
“The last few years have been tough, just dealing with the injury side of it and getting that corrected first,” Jackson said. “Once they came with an opportunity and said, ‘We want you back,’ this is where I started and the way I left off last year, I didn’t get a chance to make it to one preseason game. I wanted to put a Browns uniform back on and let the chips fall where they may.”
Rather than working just to get back into football shape, Jackson spent the off-season adjusting his workout regime for “overall health.”
“My training this year was more focused on core, focusing on strengthening my muscles, making sure my massages were there, seeing the chiropractor and just fine-tuning the things that I’ve been doing in previous years,” Jackson said. “I feel great, in great condition. When I go out there, I’ve trained to the point where I won’t second-guess myself.
He added, “I kept a helmet in Maryland with me. I wore the helmet around, so I could get used to moving and having the helmet on. I’ve been doing this all my life, so it’ll take me a day or two to get back into it, but as far as not being confident and second-guessing myself, I don’t see that being an issue at all.”
When Jackson was healthy, he collected back-to-back-to-back 100-tackle seasons in a 3-4 defense. He posted a league-high 188 total tackles in 2008, including 112 solo stops, in addition to two sacks, three interceptions and five passes defended.
Jackson and the Browns defense will transition from a 3-4 scheme to a 4-3 alignment. That was a “dream come true” for Jackson, who is currently slotted to play middle linebacker. He is also looking forward to teaming up with young players in Phil Taylor, T.J. Ward and defensive back
“I was definitely excited when we drafted Phil Taylor,” Jackson said. “To go and draft a d-lineman, I’m licking my chops. With T.J. coming back -- a great player at strong safety -- and Joe coming back, we’ve got a good group of young, core guys. I’m sure those guys upstairs, Pat Shurmur and those guys will get the right guys to complement everyone else.”
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