T-Jax on 9-0 Saints: 'I love playing this team.'
Bucs safety Tanard Jackson is on a roll, having produced at least one turnover in each of his last four games.
Jackson has three interceptions, a forced fumble and fumble recovery during that stretch while the Bucs have struggled to stop the run.
Perhaps that's why Jackson said he's looking forward to playing the Saints and Drew Brees, the league's fourth-rank quarterback in passing yards.
"I told Ronde (Barber) earlier this week I love playing this team,'' Jackson said. "As good as they are this year, their on a roll, an unbeaten team and we're having a down year, but I love playing this team. You get to make plays on some balls. You know they're going to throw 45, 50 times a game. We just have to do our job. It's a challenge for us - definitely. But I think we're up for it.''
Jackson was suspended for the first four games of the season under the league's substance abuse policy. He said being away from football helped change his preparation habits.
"Things have been going my way as far as that. I've been able to make some good reads on the ball as far as the quarterback's eyes,'' Jackson said. "The fumble recovery (in Miami), that's everybody out there making a play and me having an opportuniuty to be around the ball. Like I said before, I think my approach is a little different. I'd been away those four weeks, and being able to get back to what I love to do, being back with my teammates, I would say my approach to the game and my preparation is a little different now.''
Jackson also said the new defensive system under Jim Bates allows him more freedom to making plays on the football.
"No question, we're free a lot of times in the back end of this matchup defense, which allows us to make plays on the ball, it allows us to read the quarterback's eyes,'' Jackson said. "We've been getting some pressure up front and that helps a little bit, too, when you've got some guys in the quarterback's face, forcing him to make some bad throws and some bad decisions. So it works hand-in-hand. We need both to make those plays.''
Of course, Brees is the master of looking defenders off with his eyes before delivering a strike.
"That's what he does,'' Jackson said. "Fortunately, we've had the oportunity to play him twice a year, so we've got a good feel for him and what he does. He does like to do that, he's probably the best in the business as far as looking at a receiver and coming back the other way. It's a credit to him. He's a great quarterback in this league with great weapons. We just have to play disciplined football and be where we're supposed to be and try to create some turnovers, which I think we've had success with the past three weeks.''