Jackson at safety gives Bucs another playmaker
The Bucs were won over by the play-making ability of rookie Tanard Jackson, who will start Sunday at Seattle.
Jackson is a converted cornerback with speed who isn't afraid to gamble on occassion to create turnovers. He is expected to replace free safety Will Allen.
""I knew I had the opportunity to play, now it's just up to me,'' Jackson said following practice Thursday. Obviously, they've seen that I've worked hard and put myself in this position. Now it's about production and making plays. if you're producing and making plays out there, you'll stay in that spot and that's all I'm trying to do right now.''
Jackson, a fourth-round pick from Syracuse, reminds Bucs players and coaches of another converted cornerback, former Super Bowl MVP Dexter Jackson.
""I love the fact he's out there,''' cornerback Brian Kelly said of Jackson. ""I told him the other day, "Its good to have a guy who has some cornerback skills, a cornerback mentality, a la, Dexter Jackson, some guys that have a history of playing the corner position.' They know what me and Ronde (Barber) and Phillip (Buchanon) are thinking. So that's going to help us out a lot back there being able to make some plays.''
Case in point. The Bucs safeties had two interceptions last season, both by Jermaine Phillips in the same game against Cleveland. Those are Phillips' only picks in two seasons. During that stretch, the Bucs' safeties have accounted for six INTs.
""We're taking a calculated risk on having guys back there who have no problems making plays,'''' Kelly said. ""They've got the speed to make plays and they can recover if they make a mistake. I think that's what we've got right now.''