Whether he is making plays on the field or making fans laugh on his weekly KJack TV segment, Kareem Jackson is having fun this year and it shows.
“He’s had a good season for us,” head coach Bill O’Brien said. “He’s a versatile guy, a great teammate. You can see that – I know when you guys are in the locker room, he’s just a good, real personable guy and he can do a lot of different things. Very smart player, good tackler, good ball skills, can cover, can play outside corner, can play inside, can play safety. He’s just a versatile guy that has really helped us a lot this year.”
The Texans most-tenured player on defense is in his ninth season, but his first at starting safety. When coaching staff approached Jackson about making the permanent switch to safety after OTAs, the veteran cornerback accepted his position change without hesitation.
“It was basically what was best for the team with Andre Hal going into his situation and then him not being able to play,” Jackson said. “So that was pretty much the best move for the team so they told me they were going to move me to safety. For me, I just wanted to embrace that move and still be able to go out and compete and play at a high level and I felt I could do it.”
Hal, the team’s fifth-year safety, had been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and would undergo treatment immediately. If Jackson felt any apprehension about making the move, he didn’t show it.
Now five games into the 2018 season, Jackson may be having his best year yet at his new position as starting safety.
“He looks good at safety, doesn’t he? I know, right,” Jadeveon Clowney said. “I told him that. I like him out there. I just like having him on my team regardless of where he’s playing at behind me. I feel a lot safer with him out there knowing that he’s back there. He’s a smart guy, smart player.”
However, Jackson’s move to safety has not been a linear one. Due to multiple injuries at cornerback, Jackson has started games at both safety and corner this year, sometimes alternating between the two during games. His production is still impressive: 32 tackles (24 solo), two tackles for loss, one interception, five passes defensed and two forced fumbles.
“I think when you factor in that he’s playing a new position this year that you would say that he’s very productive because he’s been productive in getting hands on balls and making tackles and helping run the defense on the back end,” Crennel said. “That’s all very positive.”
In Sunday’s overtime win against the Dallas Cowboys, Jackson intercepted quarterback Dak Prescott in the second quarter and added an 11-yard return. The 2010 first-round draft pick became the Texans all-time leader in interceptions (15).
“I’ve been in some great positions this year whether it’s play calling or whether technique-wise, I put myself in some good positions to be able to make some plays,” Jackson said.
Jackson currently ranks second in team history with 76 career passes defensed and is third in Texans history with 501 total career tackles through 120 games.
The Houston Texans defeated the Dallas Cowboys in front of a record-breaking home crowd of 72,008.