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Malik Jackson on signing with the Eagles: “I don’t think there’s a better d-line in the league”

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Jacksonville Jaguars v New York Giants Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

New Eagles defensive tackle Malik Jackson met with Philadelphia media for the first time during his intro press conference on Wednesday.

Jackson touched on a number of topics, including how he got benched in 2018, the allure of playing next to Fletcher Cox, and more.

WHAT WAS GETTING RELEASED LIKE AND WHY DID YOU CHOOSE PHILLY?

“The period [of being released], it was nerve-wracking. I think going through the [2018] season, I kind of saw what was happening. But you know, going through it is one thing. Getting released is not a happy thing because at the end of the day I don’t have a job. So, it was pretty nerve-wracking. But once the Eagles called, we just made a lot of the same decisions. They’re a great organization that would give me another chance to go out here and be who I know I can be. That’s all I could ask for. And yeah, it was just from there. It was an easy decision.”

HOW WAS YOUR FREE AGENCY EXPERIENCE DIFFERENT NOW COMPARED TO THREE YEARS AGO?

“The difference, came off a Super Bowl. I was starting the whole year. I think I had six sacks that year. Von Miller got franchise tagged and I was the number one defensive tackle. This year, got benched halfway through the year. My production was at 3.5 sacks, so it was a little more challenging trying to get my point across these teams about my value. You know, because it’s not up to the teams to pay you what you think you’re paid. It’s up to them to pay you what your market is. And so I think that was the hardest part this time, just trying to understand it’s a product of situation and my market is this, and that’s what I need to go out there and accept.”

WHY WERE YOU BENCHED?

“Um, you’ve got to ask the coaches, man. They told me I wasn’t playing the run too good. That’s all I really heard. But if you ask me, coming off the Pro Bowl year the year before, I don’t think that’s a valid excuse. But, like I said, I’m not the coach, I just play.”

WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION TO BEING BENCHED?

“Very frustrating. It was the first time it ever happened. So, I think you can kind of understand I was not happy at all, but I went in there and still tried to go to work. I didn’t try to be the guy that was cursing out everybody or walking around mad, which is hard. It hurt a lot because I thought I came in here [to Jacksonville], I felt like I brought guys in, I was a part of the culture changing. And to get benched for younger guys and guys that aren’t drafted, it hurts. But it’s a business and once you know that, you’ll be better for it.”

HOW DID YOU PLAY AGAINST THE RUN?

“I think I played good against the run, to be honest with you. But like I said, I just play. It’s up to them to make decisions and it is what it is.”

HOW DO YOU SEE YOUR ROLE NEXT TO FLETCHER COX?

“I see myself coming in here [and] just helping. It’s not like Jacksonville from where I have to come in and be “the guy,” hoorah, do this and that. I’m coming in to a team that already has leaders. With Fletcher Cox next to me, it should allow me to open up and have more one-on-one rushes. He’s a force to be reckoned with. He demands double teams. So hopefully I can come in here, do what I’m supposed to do, and I can take the double teams off him. So hopefully it goes hand in hand.”

HOW MUCH DID PLAYING NEXT TO FLETCHER COX APPEAL TO YOU?

“It was a lot of my decision, to go somewhere where they had a good d-line. I want to get back to where I know I can be. And to do that, I need good d-linemen around me. Coming here, with these four guys, [Derek] Barnett, [Brandon] Graham, and Fletcher [Cox], I mean, hell, I don’t think there’s a better d-line in the league. So, it was important for me to come and use my talents and have one-on-one opportunities.”

CAN YOU PLAY THE 1-TECHNIQUE? ARE YOU COMFORTABLE THERE?

“I mean, I can do all four, in my opinion. I think that’s one of the things that sets me apart is being able to play all four positions on the d-line and help wherever I’m needed to. So, yeah, I’m just here just to fit in like I said. This is Fletcher’s team, d-line. And I’m brought in here just to help him out and try to get us back to the Super Bowl.”

HOW MUCH DOES PLAYING NEXT TO COX MOTIVATE YOU TO GET BACK TO THE PRO BOWL AND WHAT’S YOUR MAIN GOAL?

“My main goal is to get back to where I know I can be. Last year was very disappointing. I learned a lot about the business of the NFL these last two years, or really last year. So, for me, it’s just getting back to where I know I’m supposed to be. Being who I know I am. And showing the rest of the nation who I am. That Pro Bowl wasn’t a spoof or a hiccup or whatever you want to call it. That’s who I am. And I’m going to make sure I get back to that. Having Fletcher next to me will push me, like Calais [Campbell] did. Hell, he’s exactly what I want to be. First-rounder coming out here, four-time Pro Bowler, future Hall of Famer. So, hell, the example is right in front of my face.”


Some thoughts and notes on Jackson’s presser:

  • Run defense was a legitimate issue for Jackson, as seen in the film review that BGN’s Benjamin Solak wrote on him. Solak specifically wrote this: “Jackson’s run defense is a significant question mark on his eval and could prove a liability in Philadelphia.” The Eagles ultimately felt like Jackson’s pass rushing ability outweighed his run defense concerns. Pass defense is generally more important than run defense, so hopefully the Eagles can figure out how to make it work. Jackson seems like a great fit for Jim Schwartz’s aggressive scheme.
  • Jackson was a little nervous in his presser, which is understandable, but he seemed to have a fun personality.
  • Jackson will wear the No. 97 jersey with the Eagles, per Les Bowen. Last worn by ... Destiny Vaeao.
  • It’s cool to see how much respect Jackson has for Cox.
  • Best defensive line in the league? The Eagles do have a lot of talent there. They should have one of the better ones, at the very least. Their interior pressure should be fearsome. Jackson and Barnett have the most to prove of the current projected starters, though.
  • More Malik Jackson reading: Malik Jackson’s valuation matches the evaluation | Eagles Free Agency Film Review: Malik Jackson | Five things to know about new Eagles defensive tackle Malik Jackson.