Jackson has recorded at least 100 tackles in five of the past six seasons. Freeman has recorded at least 126 tackles in each of his first two seasons in the NFL.
Now the two will team together to be the Colts' two starting inside linebackers in coach Chuck Pagano’s 3-4 defensive scheme.
"Just seeing, playing next to Jerrell Freeman, I always watched him," Jackson said. "I've been playing a while, but I’m also a fan of the game as well so I knew about Jerrell before I actually signed. I actually followed him, so to actually see him and see what he’s capable of, how physically gifted he is and how smart he is, the sky is the limit for him."
Playing alongside each other will help ease the pressure for Jackson and Freeman because they no longer have to feel like they need to make every tackle, even though that’s not a bad mindset to have. Jackson did say they’ll probably have some kind of inside bet on who can get more tackles at some point in the season.
Stopping the run is a major emphasis for the Colts this season after they finished 26th in the league in that category last season. Jackson, Freeman and the addition of defensive lineman Arthur Jones should help Indianapolis improve in that area.
“[Teams have] got to pick their poison, whether you’re going to focus on Jerrell or focus on myself,” Jackson said. “At the end, as long as the team’s winning, as long as we’re stopping that run, that’s why I’m here. That’s why I signed on here. We’re trying to take this team to the next level and if I can help do that, I will. Jerrell is going to be a big part of the future of this team and this year.”