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Player Q&A with Malik Jackson

You grew up a twin, right? What was that like?
"It was cool, you know, having somebody that looks just like you. It gets old a little bit, because you kind of want to create your own person and stuff like that. But it was cool growing up. That's all I know, so I loved it."

So you guys are identical?
"Yeah, I look way better though. Make sure you put that in there."

And you're the younger of the two?
"Yeah, but he's only like seven minutes older than me, so that really doesn't count."

He played end in college and was pretty successful. What's he doing right now?
"He did play in the Arena League. He's trying to move up and kind of work his way (to the NFL). Last year he did play in the Arena League in Portland for a few games. I'm just happy to see he's doing what he wants, just living the dream, and hopefully I can help him out in any ways I can."

So you guys grew up competing with each other in high school football – what was that like?
"It was awesome, especially when you have somebody who's like you who you can compete against. He had a lot of sacks in high school, so you could see who had more, and if you didn't have more, that person would be upset. It was one of those things where it was competition, but it was good competition that made everybody better. You've got to have that."

When you entered the draft, many analysts knocked you for being a "tweener" without a true position. How have you turned that negative label into the positive of versatility?
"Well you know I heard that throughout my college career, or at least when I was at Tennessee, that 'tweener' thing, and I was just like, 'I'm not like that.' I was blessed to get drafted here so I kind of wanted to take it by the horns and show them anything they want me to do, I can do."

Last year it felt like you really blossomed, getting quality production from a lot of positions. How did it compare to your expectations and where do you see yourself compared to last year?
"Right now I see myself getting better. I see myself as a better player than last year, just kind of going out there, feeling comfortable, knowing what I'm doing and so those things feel comfortable. I'm just trying to meet those stats, as far as what I did last year, and kind of better myself on those. It's a long season and it's a work in progress, but as soon as I get those stats up to past where they were last year, I'll have a good year."

Having to prepare to play multiple positions and fight for reps on the D-line, do you have to put in extra preparation?
"I don't think so, because we're here the whole year in Denver. I think every day, just drilling it, drilling it, you see Sly (Sylvester Williams) or you see T-Knight (Terrance Knighton) doing it, so you kind of get the gist. I just try to go out there, just be that guy – "the more you can do, the more you get to do" kind of thing. That's just my mind. I'm just trying to go out there and prepare and if somebody goes down, I can go in there and fill in and act like nothing happened."

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Check out the best shots from Sunday night's historic game between the Broncos and 49ers.

Both of the defensive captains, in Terrance Knighton and DeMarcus Ware are on the defensive line, and you sometimes play right between them. What have you learned from those guys?**
"Literally just how to work. Those guys are workaholics. They do have some down time and stuff, but you see D-Ware always on his iPad, you know, T-Knight's always just talking football, and it's one of those things where it just never turns off. That's what I've learned is when you're at the grocery store, you can be thinking about it, if you're at home, you can be watching something, and when you're here, you can always be doing something. So I think they've just taught me how to work and be on my job, and if you want to be great, you've really just got to show up and be prepared to go every day and give it your all."

Have you learned specific techniques from them, since you play each of their positions at times?
"Yeah but, you know, there are some things that T-Knight does and you're like, 'No way I can do that.' There are some things D-Ware does like that. But I do try to go out there and take a few things – like T-Knight's slow-down-and-hit-the-hands-and-go-around-slow move. There's a few things I'm trying to take and tweak a little bit, but there's no way I'm doing what either of those guys are doing (laughing)."

It seems like the defensive line might be the tightest knit group on the team. Does it feel that way?
"I think so. I think we're a very tight group. We always hang out, we chill and stuff. But I just think the defense period, with the safeties and the corners and the linebackers, we're all just hanging out in the locker room, vibing, joking, even off-the-field type things. So I think as a defense, we're getting closer and closer, at least every year I've been here with Coach Del Rio. And it's been awesome to see and grow with."

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