Kareem Jackson has made his mark, repeatedly, this season in the Texans' defensive backfield.
The nine-year veteran switched positions to safety over the offseason, flourished there throughout the early going, and segued successfully back to cornerback over the last month. On Sunday in Denver, he was a physical presence for the Texans defense, coming up with four tackles and a pair of pass breakups in the 19-16 victory over the Broncos.
He was so impactful, he passed the eye test for head coach Bill O'Brien in the postgame press conference.
"It was noticeable on the sideline," O'Brien said. "A lot of time I have to tell you, 'I have to watch the film,' but it was noticeable how well he played tonight."
Jackson stopped Denver running back Phillip Lindsay twice for a gain of just two yards in the first quarter, and then dropped receiver Emmanuel Sanders for a gain of two on a pass, and then a gain of one yard. After the intermission, he broke up a pair of passes, including a clean, devastating hit on a pass to Lindsay. Jackson's been a tone-setter all season long, and he's impressed a lot of teammates, including a 3-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
"He is killing it," defensive end J.J. Watt said after the win in Denver. "That hit today was one of the hardest hits I have seen on a football field. It was clean. It was a great hit. He has been doing that all year. He has been getting interceptions, making big hits, and making tackles."
For Jackson, who's fourth on the Texans with 51 tackles, the recognition has been nice.
"It's just all about being consistent and being a piece of the puzzle here," Jackson said Monday. "I just want to come in, whether I'm playing corner or safety or in the slot, whatever I have to do to be a guy that can contribute and to be consistent in what I do on a weekly basis."
The Texans' career leader in interceptions with 16, he has a pair this year. Jackson's also forced two fumbles, recovered another, and tallied four tackles for loss. Doing it all while shuffling positions isn't easy, according to safety Tyrann Mathieu.
"I don't think many people realize how hard that is, how much studying, how much responsibility that is on a player," Mathieu said. "He's been holding it well, obviously, playing well, setting the fire, setting the tempo for us on defense."
Jackson and the Texans are off this week with a bye, and will return to action a week from Sunday at Washington.
The Houston Texans defeated the Denver Broncos for their sixth straight win going into the Bye Week.