FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Veteran running back Steven Jackson is in his third full week with the New England Patriots after signing a one-year contract on Dec. 22, and from his viewpoint quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick have come as advertised.
“It’s everything I thought it would be," Jackson said of playing with Brady. "True field leader. He has a great pulse of the team. He knows how to motivate guys and you understand why they win around here.”
And as for Belichick, Jackson said, "Over the years, we had a chance to cross paths, going back to 2004 [before the draft] and even some Pro Bowls. One thing about Coach Belichick, you get what you get. He’s a true professional. Very hard on the details, making sure guys are smart and aware of what they’re supposed to be doing. He hasn’t let me down yet.”
Jackson, 32, was one of a handful of players drawing large media crowds on Thursday after the team's walk-through, joining tight end Rob Gronkowski, running back James White and safety Devin McCourty.
Noting that it's been a long time since he's played in the playoffs (2004 season), he said, "You don't forget the feeling." He also discussed how fellow running backs Brandon Bolden and James White have been helpful to him with any questions he has about the offense.
While his teammates will benefit physically from a bye weekend, Jackson is using it as a bonus from a mental perspective.
"It allows me an extra week getting comfortable with the terminology. I can’t stress that enough, because it’s a different language and I’m learning on the go," he said of the Patriots playbook. "What people don’t understand is that when you learn a new offense -- I was in Atlanta the last two years -- that’s a whole other language. You may run some of the same concepts but you call it something different. When you’re in the heat of the battle, sometimes your body reverts back to what it knows instead of what it should be doing.”