Monday, June 11, 2012
On Kareem Jackson's weak spot
By Paul Kuharsky
LX from Chuco, TX: writes: "...Kareem Jackson makes me question the Texans' sanity. In the chat you said "Kareem Jackson looked fine" and "Yes, (Alan) Ball is in line to be (Jason) Allen. Good addition, I think." Those seem to be contradictory statements; If Kareem was really "fine" then the response to the Ball question should be that Jackson is the starter and that Ball is a backup. As much as the Texans love Kareem (or at least hate to admit an error) do you think they will ever get rid of him?"
Houston CB Kareem Jackson played in 15 games in 2011, netting 42 tackles, one FF and one INT.
Paul Kuharsky: Their feeling about Jackson and yours (and many fans’) are certainly far different. They are not anywhere close to getting rid of him, nor should they be. You don't cut guys because they affect the sanity of someone in Chuco.
And I don’t believe my statements were contradictory. It’s completely possible for Jackson to look good at OTA practices and for the team to still decide to help him with Ball.
That’s not going to be sorted out now, but will be sorted out in camp.
I’m not big on splitting a starting job in half, but the Texans made the Jackson-Allen combo work. Allen moved on to Cincinnati as a free agent, and Houston was wise to find a veteran from the outside who can take Allen’s role if the Texans need him to.
Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and the team’s top player in the defensive backfield, Johnathan Joseph, both said good things about Jackson during OTAs. (They also said good things about Ball.)
Said Phillips: “(Jackson) was a better zone guy than he is man. The other guy was better man/press than zone. That was last year. I think Kareem is getting better at man. He played man, I don’t mean he couldn’t play man. But Jason was a good press guy, but he had trouble playing off.
“(Joseph) will play the best receiver, whoever he is, zone or man, we’ll put him on the best receiver. I don’t know if we’ll substitute for Jackson or not. But we’ve got some other guys who look like they can play.
“We have several guys that are pretty good at (man) and that’s why we brought in Alan Ball, too. Because he can play, he can play either one. When I was in Dallas, my last half year, he was one of our best players. We said, ‘OK, we’ll just put him at safety.’ He was playing corner and he was playing real good but we couldn’t get him on the field because (Michael) Jenkins and (Terence) Newman had played real good and we almost led the league in scoring defense.
“So we put Ball at safety and then Jenkins and Newman didn’t play worth a d--- and I wish I would have kept Ball at corner for those guys that half a year, because they just played terrible for a while.”
Jackson’s widely regarded as the weak link in the Texans’ defense, including by me. He got a lot better last year, in large part because of defensive backs coach Vance Joseph.
The big question is whether he will be the best option in man coverage or if the Texans will still feel safer with a platoon where someone else, like Ball, comes in for press situations.
Said Joseph: “They drafted him here in the first-round to be a fulltime corner, not to be a split-time corner. I know he understands that. I look at a player who progressed from Year 1 to Year 2, and in OTAs I’ve noticed him progressing and we expect it from Year 2 to 3 in training camp.
“He’s a smart football player overall, you can put him in man or zone. He has responded well. We don’t have any doubt in our mind at all about Kareem.”