DT Malik Jackson (3.31.21)

On how his interior pass rush ability can help the Browns DL:

“Yes, I feel like pass rush is a big thing for me. It is one of the things I pride myself on doing is getting to the quarterback. That is one of the reasons I wanted to come here. I know I have a good opportunity to come out here and really get some pass rush reps and get back to where I feel like I was three years ago when I had eight sacks. I am coming here to put pressure on that quarterback and help the D ends put pressure up that middle so the D ends can get the sacks when the quarterback falls out and vice versa when the D ends get the pressure on the end so the guys on the inside can get sacks. I am coming here to be a team player.”

 

On how he will look to rebound his career in Cleveland:

“The last three years, I got injured and then I came back, and I felt like the year after I got injured last year was decent. I had some mental blocks I had to get through with coming off of the Lisfranc [injury], but this year, I am way more comfortable, a lot stronger and there are no more mental roadblocks of having a foot injury. I feel like I am just going to come back and feel a lot more confident. I am around guys who know how to work, and I am around a coach in (defensive line) Coach (Chris) Kiffin who is going to push me and teach me things, and like I said, push me back to where I was. I know that is going to take some coaching and some hard work. Luckily, we have two of those things in Cleveland that can really push me. I am confident it is going to be easy for me to get back.”

 

On what DE Myles Garrett can do to help elevate his game:

“He has to just keep doing what he has been doing, bringing that edge, getting to that quarterback and making them step up. I know they have had that there. It is one of those things where I am just coming in just trying to add a little bit more umph. I know (DT Sheldon) Richardson has been doing a great job over there. It is one of those things where I am just coming in just trying to be a supportive role and not try to come in and do too much or act like I am an end all be all. What they have been doing over there has been great. I am just coming in and trying to just add a little bit, and like I said, push that quarterback out to the ends, and hopefully, Myles and the ends can do the same thing to make that quarterback jump up so we have a good partnership.”

 

On his conversation with defensive coordinator Joe Woods about his role with the Browns:

“I told him I just wanted an opportunity to go in there and fight for a starting job and things fall where they may. We really did not talk about solidifying things because right now, it does not matter. I just want a chance to come in and I understand the team they had. They just came from deep in the playoffs last year. All I asked for was a chance to come in and fight for a starting job and for the pass rusher job on third down. That is all I can ask for.”

 

On if he got to know Woods when they were together in Denver:

“I did. He was cornerback coach when we won the Super Bowl. I got to know Joe Woods very well. He is one of the reasons why I made the decision to come to Cleveland because I have such a good relationship with him.”

 

On what he likes about Woods and the defensive system in Cleveland:

“He is consistent. He knows what he is talking about. He has been through the fire. You are talking to somebody who knows what he is talking about – nobody who just came in out of nowhere – and he is honest. For me, being with someone who won a Super Bowl, they understand who I was when I was younger and they can see me play and understand who I am now and see that I am the same guy. For me, that was important. I know Joe Woods is going to give me the opportunity to just go out there and fight and just try to earn things. That is the conversation we had a lot, and that is what I respect about coach Woods. That is what I am looking forward to – his honesty, his straightforwardness, his game planning and putting guys in the right position to try and make plays.”

 

On his Super Bowl experience can benefit the Browns and the significance of having players on a team with postseason experience:

“I think it is important [to have guys on the team with postseason experience]. The Browns had an opportunity last year and went really far. I think when you have a guy who goes deep, the farther you get in the playoffs – like I plan to do this year, farther than last year – you have to have guys who know what is happening. What is your mindset? What do you have to think about? Where not to go. How not to think too far forward. I think knowledge of the unknown is a big key. Like I said, the team went far last year so I am hoping I am just a little bit of a push to help them go even farther and that way my knowledge deep in the playoffs can really shine.”

 

On his perception of the Browns before signing with the team:

“A Super Bowl-contender team, and that is what I was looking for, especially with the climate of this free agency and a lot of one-year deals. I did not want to go anywhere that was trying to rebuild. I wanted to go somewhere with a consistent team, somewhere I could come in and not have to be the guy and I could just be a supporting role and have opportunities to fight for a job starting and third downs. That is all I could ask for.”

 

On his relationship with Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager Andrew Berry in Philadelphia and if that played a factor in his decision to sign with the Browns:

“I met Berry in Philly, but that year, I got injured. I was older in my career so I decided to go back to L.A. and do my rehab a lot. I was able to talk to him in passing, but we were not able to have too many deep conversations.”

 

On what it was like returning from the Lisfranc injury, if he was fully healthy in 2020 and how long it might take to get back to full speed if he did not feel 100 percent during last season:

“It was tough because imagine breaking something you use every day. When you get a chance to go back out there again, you are nervous about doing what you just did. It was a little tough early, but with the D line there, I was able to just get reps mentally. It was tough early, but it got better. I do not think I am far away to answer your second question of how long it will take to get back. I do not think it is going to take long. I think I am there. Like I said, you just have to build confidence in yourself and things that happen. When I was hurt, everybody said, ‘Oh, it is going to take forever to come back. You are not going to come back.’ You are working your butt off to say, ‘I am good.’ Those things still creep in your mind. Last year, I was able to get sure with it. It got cold and nothing happened so I know I am good now. All of those little ‘what ifs’ or ‘oh my gosh, I am nervous to do that’ are out of the window.”

 

On recent Browns acquisitions mentioning the Super Bowl and if he thinks it is good to set Super Bowl expectations early on or if it creates a risk of setting expectations too high:

“No, there is no such thing [as setting your expectations too high]. I think if you are not seeing yourself in January and if you are not saying to yourself the day after the Super Bowl, ‘My team is going to the Super Bowl next year,’ then you are wrong. I think you have to put yourself in the mindset of being great, expecting to be great and letting things fall where they may after 17 weeks. I do not think it is bad for guys to have expectations. I think it makes you work harder to put expectations on you that you want to meet. I think it is the right thing to do.”

 

On if that type of expectation is what that 2015 Denver Broncos had prior to winning the Super Bowl:

“Yeah, we talked it up. It is one of those things that is more in the actions than the words. You can sit there and say you are going to win the Super Bowl, and that is all good after the Super Bowl in February, March and April, but when you get with the team in June, July, August, September and then the season starts, it needs to be actions form there on. I think that it is good to talk, but I see guys on Instagram, and I know (LB) Malcolm Smith very well, I actually saw him the other day working hard. I see the actions behind the words, and that is what is important.”

 

On his evaluation of the Browns OL when preparing to face the team last season:

“The offensive line was great – one of the best last year we played. It might be the best as far as all three – sorry, all five; I was thinking of the three interior [offensive linemen]. I thought they were really good. That is another reason that I came here because I know practicing every day with those guys is going to get me better to the point where I can go on the field and things are going to be easier. It is important to look for a team not only with a good defense but also a good offense because that is the person you see every day. Going against (G) Wyatt Teller, (C) JC Tretter and the other three guys is going to be good for me because I will be able to put myself in game-like situations and get better.”

 

On the impact Johnson and Hill can have on the Browns defense:

“I have to see how it comes to the DBs, but from what I know from those guys, they are going to come in like me ready to compete for a starting job and bring their expertise and their knowledge. I am looking forward to it. It is one of those things that pass rush and coverage go hand in hand. If nobody is covering the receivers, the quarterback can just do a three-step [drop] and let it go, but if you have somebody covering that receiver and making that quarterback keep the ball, that gives you the opportunity to get there and get that sack. Vice versa, if I am rushing, I get there fast and that quarterback has to throw an ugly or quick ball and he does not see the DB and the DB is in the right position, he gets the interception. That is hand in hand. I am excited for the guys who we are bringing in, but I am just excited to get there and do my part to show them my work.”

 

On the Browns’ fan base and how it has embraced him since signing with the team:

“When I posted my Instagram picture from the Browns signing, I got a lot of love from that, and it was awesome to see. Everybody was super excited. Growing up in the league for me – this is my 10th year – seeing where the Browns started and seeing where I have the opportunity to help them go and where they have already been is exciting to me. I am just excited to be able to help turn the culture around that has already been turned around and be able to say I helped that team go even farther than they did the year before. That is what I am excited about, just seeing the history and really be somebody who came in and really helped turn it around after they turned it around – just that little bit more.”

 

On if he knows free agent OLB/DE Jadeveon Clowney:

“I do not know him personally, but I know of him.”

 

On if he would make a recruiting pitch to Clowney to come to the Browns if he had the opportunity:

“I do not think I have to, to be honest with you. It is one of those things that the team speaks for itself and what we are trying to build speaks for itself. If you want to hop on board, come hop on board. I understand the free agency market is not what he probably wants, but things are bigger than monetary value, and you get a chance to be on a good team and set yourself up in the future.”

 

On the NFL adding a 17th regular season game:

“I do not have a problem with the 17th game. My problem was with the pay being cut to 1/17th and not being added [pay], and also with the playoff game, they are adding a playoff game and not paying us more. They are just cutting the salary that extra [percentage]. That is my problem with that. I do not mind playing [an additional regular season game] and bringing in revenue – I understand – but to cut my paycheck from 1/16th to 1/17th instead of adding more money, that is the problem.”

 

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