Kareem Jackson is putting the words "the more you can do" into action. Bill O'Brien's motto, one meant to inspire players to be versatile and fit multiple roles, applies to the veteran who has diversified his role by also playing slot corner during OTAs.
"A slot corner has to have quickness, has to have strength, has to have awareness and has to be able to, relative to the strength, be able to tackle. Because they can be a force player verses certain formations. Middle runs that they see they have to be able to tackle. It is a position that is very tough to play. When you have a guy like Kareem (Jackson) that is doing that for us right now, who can play outside and inside, he's a guy that is playing inside for us too."
Defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel calls Jackson's ability to adapt to the inside as "outstanding." It sets a valuable example for rookies like Jadeveon Clowney who are also learning a new role. Clowney, Houston's No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft, has been working to make the transition from a defensive end in college to outside linebacker in the Texans defense.
"Those young guys we have been talking about, they see a veteran playing two spots and now that gives them incentive to learn what they have to learn," Crennel said in a Texans Radio interview. "I think that makes everybody better because everybody knows that 'If I can play two spots, I can help the team more.' Clowney is going look and he's going to see this veteran who started last year. He's playing inside and outside and so if I can play defensive end and linebacker, then I become more valuable."
Jackson, entering his fifth NFL season, has been been filling in the slot for Johnathan Joseph who has missed time this month. Joseph, who underwent toe surgery after the 2013 season, has been on the practice field but limited in his activities. O'Brien is evaluating the secondary which may still see more changes in the near future.
"We've brought (A.J.) Bouye in. We've brought Elbert Mack in. We've brought Josh Victorian in," O'Brien said after Thursday's practice. "All of those guys have done a really good job. To this point, we're always going to do what is best for the football team. I believe that we have a very competitive secondary. We're still evaluating where they all fit. A lot of those guys, for instance Elbert Mack, he does a really good job on special teams. He's a guy that is involved in a lot of different parts of the team. To this point, I've been happy with where we are at in the secondary."