ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Vic Fangio’s defense is a defensive back’s ideal situation.
At least, that’s what Kareem Jackson has heard.
The 10-year veteran, who played mostly cornerback and a little bit of safety during his nine years with the Texans, was introduced Friday as one of the team’s first two free-agent acquisitions.
Asked why he chose to sign with the Broncos, Jackson pointed to Fangio.
And Jackson’s excitement to play in the system stems from his conversations with those who would know best: members of the Chicago Bears’ defense.
“With the secondary, I had a chance to watch the guys in Chicago a lot this year,” Jackson said. “They played some great defense. I’m pretty good friends with [Bears CB] Kyle Fuller and [he] has said nothing but great things about Coach Vic.”
Fuller’s recommendation comes because of Fangio’s unique ability to put the members of his secondary in position to make plays. That’s what Jackson is most eager for as the Broncos inch closer to being back on the field.
“For me, just getting a chance to play with my eyes, be instinctive and react,” Jackson said. “I don’t know a DB in this league that doesn’t want to be in these types of defenses where they can kind of see the quarterback, read, react and make some plays on the ball.”
Jackson hasn’t recorded more than two interceptions in a season since 2014, when he picked off three passes. His career best came in 2012, when he snagged four passes and took one back for a touchdown.
Fangio’s scheme, though, could put him in a position to boost those totals.
“[His versatility] gives us a lot of options,” Fangio said Friday. “Just from week to week we might be able to line him up where we feel he best fits to defend the team we’re playing. He’s smart enough to learn all the different positions. He’s proven it in games and on tape that he can execute the positions, not just know what do to do, but play them competitively and at a high level. It’s a big advantage and it helps when you’re looking at other players that you have guys that can move around.”
Jackson’s presence could be equally as imposing in the run game and the short-passing game.
"I kind of pride myself on being physical, kind of imposing my will on the receivers or running backs if I get the chance," Jackson said. "I think those things throughout the course of a game can kind of change the game. It can spark your team or it can cause turnovers or things like that. Obviously those things can definitely work in our favor. Throughout my career, I’ve just always been that type of guy. Always wanted to get down on the line and be physical and tackle.”
As he showed against the Broncos in November, he’s more than capable of delivering that big hit. As President of Football Operations/General Manager John Elway said Friday, that’s when Jackson offered running back Phillip Lindsay his “Welcome to the NFL” moment.
“I think I have a 1A and a 1B [favorite hit]," Jackson said. "That’s probably the 1B. I had a similar hit a couple years back against the Vikings, a guy about the same size as Phillip. It’s always better when you get a chance to hit somewhat of a smaller guy. It was actually the same side of the field, a little swing route, and I had the chance to kind of get a hit on him.
“For me, situations like that throughout the course of a game — for me, I’m looking for hits like that. It could be plays like that, that determine the game.”