JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Big name free agent signings have provided a lot of boom and bust in the NFL over the years. Bringing in a top-level player can help a team flourish or badly destroy the locker room ecosystem.
Typically, stud players thrive in an environment that plays to their strengths and/or provides comfort with familiarity. For new Jaguars defensive tackle Malik Jackson, Jacksonville has offered a program that fits his goals and uses him in a way that he can make the most impact.
Jackson, who signed a six-year, $85.5 million contract in March, enjoyed playing three-technique in the Jaguars' defense during his first week of practice. That same role helped put teammate Sen'Derrick Marks on the NFL map just two seasons ago.
The new arrival says the position is about providing pressure, something he is very capable of producing.
"It allows the three-technique to prosper out here, to go straight and rush," Jackson said. "You can’t be wrong in the three-tech position. I like that. It allows a lot of freedom and you can’t make any mistakes so it’s good.”
Jackson played a key role in the success of the Denver Broncos last season and the team hoisted the Lombardi Trophy earlier this year. His pass rushing prowess was on display quite frequently last season, which made the Denver defense that much more impactful.
On Thursday, Jackson compared the speed of the Jaguars' practices to the ones in Denver. According to the prized free agent signing, the two teams demand a similar pace.
"Denver was running," Jackson said. "I like the tempo here because that’s what I’m used to. I’m used to going fast and used to running to the ball – always three step bursts. We say during the week, it’s just like the game on Sunday. The tempo is always the same. To me, it’s the same. We’re out here going fast, working hard and I like it.”
Jackson has felt comfortable with both his job and the coaching staff's demands since joining the club. He has even been able to handle Jacksonville's heat.
“It’s not that bad right now," Jackson said. "Right now, it’s pretty nice. From what I hear, it gets hotter as the months go on. Right now, it’s doing me well. I’m getting a really nice tan all around.”
The housewarming gifts of an appealing role, a familiar philosophy and a lofty salary have gone a long way in making Jackson feel at ease in his new environment. The Jaguars hope that comfort will lead to the opposite effect for opposing quarterbacks on Sundays this season.
Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.