During training camp, Malik Jackson knew he had something to prove.
Once a Pro Bowler in 2017, he got benched in Jacksonville in 2018 and got hurt in the Eagles season opener in 2019. Now 30, and coming off a Lisfranc injury, Jackson knew the situation.
“I’m not gonna say they forgot about me, but I think I just have some ground to make up and make people remember,” Jackson said in August.
Jackson took a good first step on Sunday.
In this year’s opener against Washington, Jackson actually lasted the entire game and he played well, picking up two tackles and two QB hits. He got pretty constant pressure against Washington, especially early.
So is he starting to make people remember him?
I think so,” Jackson said this week. “Without being rude to the guy we just played, I think I was supposed to do that. He was a second-year guy. I believe this was his first season starting at the beginning of the season. I personally believe I was supposed to do that.
“So when we come up here this week I hope I have earned some respect from this guard coming up. But at the same time, for the guard after this game to respect me I have to do the same thing I did last week to this guy. You’re only as good as your last game and I have a clean slate coming up, so I want to be consistent. That’s my main thing. I started well, now it’s about being consistent and going out here on a reign of terror.”
On Sunday against Washington, Jackson mostly faced second-year guard Wes Martin. It was just the sixth start of Martin’s career. So Jackson, as an established vet, felt like he did what he needed to.
In terms of experience, he has an edge on Rams left guard Joseph Noteboom too. The third-rounder from 2018 will make his eighth career start on Sunday.
While the Rams have good offensive tackles, Jackson and Fletcher Cox have a chance to do some damage inside this week. And after Jackson admitted he got gassed later in Sunday’s game, he’ll be a little more prepared in Week 2.
For Cox and Jackson, this is the most they’ve ever played together. Last year, Cox missed all of training camp and then Jackson got hurt in the opener. This year, they practiced together all summer and now have one full game together under their belts.
“It was really good. The communication was really good,” Cox said. “Things we worked on in training camp we carried over to the game. Things when we got on the sideline and talked about when the offense is on the field, things we could do better in certain situations. We just started clicking. That’s the kind of communication and things that we talked about, that we wanted to be on the same page.”