Dane Jackson got to be a starter last year when Tre White got hurt. How did he do?
“Pretty solid. Still a lot of work to do,” Jackson said.
He ended up being a first team corner for eight games to close the season last year. It allowed Jackson to learn a lot about being an NFL regular starter.
“You gotta have a routine,” Jackson said. “Coming from the practice squad, you don’t get that routine because you don’t really know if you’re going to be up (playing) or not. Just getting that routine going. The more games you play, you figure out your routine and it gets better every time.”
No matter how much he learned, the Bills still spent a first round pick on Kaiir Elam. Jackson is doing all he can to help the rookie, even if Elam, as expected, takes the starting job Jackson had last year.
“We worked out a few times together when he was up here in Buffalo,” Jackson said. “We pretty much clicked instantly. There’s no animosity or anything. It’s all love.”
For years, Levi Wallace had to fend off the ‘hot new thing’ at corner to keep his job. That was Jackson last season. Even losing the camp battle to Wallace last year, Jackson was impressed how Wallace never wavered.
Like Wallace, Jackson expects the challenges to his spot won’t stop.
“Coming in as a 7th rounder, (they’re) always going to bring in someone to try and take your spot,” Jackson said. “Whether you do good or bad. There’s always a repeated cycle. You just know after the season you might get that. You gotta keep going.”
Position battles never seem to involve much drama or tension in Buffalo. There is constantly mutual respect, even between two players competing for one job.
The goal is not to determine a winner and a loser at a position. It’s about making everybody better.
“It’s never like, ‘This guy, he can’t do this. He can’t do this’,” Jackson said. “If (coaches) think you can’t do that, they’re going to try to help you to get better. To do that. To help the team.”
Which is what Jackson plans to do, even if he’s not a starter.