JACKSONVILLE – The transition is going well.
Myles Jack said there are a couple of reasons for that. One: the transition is happening during the offseason, so there's time to focus on the mental demands of moving from the strong-side of the Jaguars' linebacker corps to the all-important middle position.
The other reason? Paul Posluszny.
"He's been like an older brother to me, just really taking me under his wing," Jack said Tuesday following practice on Day 2 of 2017 Jaguars OTAs at EverBank Field.
That may not be surprising, but it is notable.
Jack, after all, a few weeks ago moved into the middle-linebacker position at which Posluszny started for the Jaguars the past six seasons. Posluszny moved to Jack's strong-side position, and while Posluszny didn't complain, he at the time called it the biggest challenge of his career.
"He's been nothing but help, and I greatly appreciate it because he doesn't have to do that by any means, but I really appreciate it," Jack said Thursday.
Posluszny discussed Jack's progress during an appearance on Jaguars.com LIVE Wednesday.
"He looks unbelievable," Posluszny said. "He's going to be a great middle linebacker for us. He has done a great job of taking command of the huddle and leading the defense from a communication perspective. We all know physically he has all the gifts. He has all the talents to make the plays on the field."
Jack, who played collegiately at UCLA, was projected by many analysts as a top-five talent before a knee concern caused him to slide to the Jaguars in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft. He started 10 games at strong-side linebacker as a rookie.
The Jaguars then moved Jack to the middle earlier this offseason.
"It's a big responsibility, but it's been fun," Jack said. "It's really all the responsibility is put on your plate as far as number one: getting the defense aligned, the defensive linemen aligned, making the calls, making the checks, talking to the defensive backs. …
"I mean I've definitely had to study a lot more when I go home, take a nap and then get on the film and just get to studying, but it's been fun."
Jack was asked Thursday if he occasionally asked Posluszny for advice.
"It's not even occasionally; it's frequently," he said. "Even when I'm out there, I'm asking him questions like, 'Should I have done this, should I have done that, what would you have done in a situation?' After practice we'll watch film, we'll get together and we'll watch it together."
Posluszny on Wednesday said the situation has worked in reverse, too, with him asking Jack for input on his transition to the strong side.
"I mean, I'm asking him more questions than he's asking me, but every once in a while, he'll be like, 'So how'd you do this, should I have blitzed this way?' … little stuff like that," Jack said. "So, we're both kind of leaning on each other just learning new positions and everything."
Jack said he was nervous before speaking with Posluszny after learning of the switch. He said he quickly realized that wasn't necessary.
"I didn't know how he was going to be, but Poz, he's just such a professional," Jack said. "He was just like, 'OK, let's get it right, man. If this is what it takes to win, then that is what we're going to do.' I just followed his lead and they gave me the confidence to step in that huddle, look everybody in the eye and be like, 'OK, now, I'm the Mike linebacker.'
"Poz is still Poz. He still has nothing but respect from me, but I'm the Mike so I have to try and take over where he left off."
Time will tell how Jack fares at his new position, but make no mistake: he is in a good place as he enters 2017, and this is an opportunity to fulfill his status as one of the elite talents in 2016 NFL Draft. He also has the advantage of a full offseason. That's compared to last season, when an NFL rule forced him to miss OTAs because UCLA had yet to finish spring classes.
Jack participated in the team's mid-June 2016 minicamp but said Thursday, "To just be forced to jump into mandatory minicamp and then the preseason right around the corner that is kind of a tough deal."
Jack this offseason has no such hindrance, and also has an offseason and training camp to prepare to play one of the crucial roles on the defense. It's a big challenge, one that could shape the Jaguars' season. It's also a challenge he absolutely is ready to accept.
"Coming into the offseason I didn't really know where I stood or what position I was going to play," Jack said. "I was in limbo, but then they [said], 'This is what you are doing: I could focus my energy and attention on one spot and I know what I am doing. It has definitely been great because now I know exactly what I am doing and I can focus these next couple months exactly on what I am doing.
"It has been a relief for me to know what I am doing and know what my job is. That is a good feeling."