One of the under-the-radar stories of training camp so far, buried under the reports of Blake Bortles and the retirement of Branden Albert, is the transition of Myles Jack to the middle linebacker position. There hasn’t been much, as far as news or splash plays, from Jack in training camp and at this point that’s probably more of a good than bad thing. Jack is still getting the hang of calling the defense and getting everyone lined up correctly.
“I’m getting everybody lined up. I’d say I’m doing the one-on-one level but that isn’t enough in my eyes. I have to try and fill a hole where Paul Posluszny, where he was there for five years and it was like clockwork,” Jack told reporters on Tuesday after practice when he was asked to evaluate themselves. “That’s the standard I’m holding myself to. Just doing enough isn’t enough in my opinion. That’s where I’m continuing to learn every day, working with (Defensive Coordinator) Todd (Wash), working through this heat with the pressure from the coaches and everything. Trying to maintain poise because when we get in the game, that’s when the bullets are flying and that’s when I have to be that rock. That’s the standard I’m holding myself to. I’m working very hard at it but it’ll come.”
By all accounts Jack has been just fine in position drills, but in team he’s still swimming and thinking a little bit, which is to be expected. Live reps are going to be what Jack needs to make the transition, so every snap he gets in 11-on-11 and in the preseason will be a significant help. His learning curve could be accelerated as well with joint practices scheduled with the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“Just being clean. I emphasize everything, not try to focus on one thing. It’s a whole component of playing MIKE,” Jack said about what he’d like to accomplish in the joint practices with New England next week. “That’s everything from getting the calls right to when I’m tired, still being able to talk and tell everybody what to do, making sure everybody knows it’s the far corner on the other side, little things like that. When I go up there, I’m going to take it as it’s a game. We’re going and I’m going to give it my best shot.”
There has been some concern from fans that Jack’s name hasn’t been mentioned yet with any splash plays on defense, but at this point in training camp and his process in taking over the MIKE position, that shouldn’t be a huge surprise.
As we’ve talked about with Myles Jack all offseason, there’s going to be some growing pains, but the best way for him to learn is going to be in live reps.