JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser spent time this week with Jaguars rookie Myles Jack, discussing three topics as he prepared to make a second consecutive start at the Otto linebacker position
The topic:The wait
The background:Jack, a second-round selection in the 2016 NFL Draft, spent the first three regular season games backing up weak-side linebacker Telvin Smith and middle linebacker Paul Posluszny. While fans and observers clamored for Jack – considered by many a Top-Five talent in the draft before long-term concerns over a knee issue – to start, Jack spent that time learning multiple linebacker positions. He was asked to put into perspective the frustration he felt in the preseason and early part of the season.
The quote:"My approach was to learn as much as I could. I could have handled it two ways: I could get upset about it and let it deter me and not take practice seriously and not pay attention – or I could continue to work and be ready when my number was called. I chose to do that. I think that works out better than being mentally messed up and checking out of meetings. You can't say, 'I don't care about this.' Just stay patient and learn and know that it happens at certain times."
The topic: Paul Posluszny
The background:Jack was drafted with the idea that he eventually could be the Jaguars' starting middle linebacker. Despite that, Posluszny – the team's starting middle linebacker – has worked closely with Jack through training camp and into the regular season to help the rookie learn how to approach the NFL on the field and in the classroom. Jack was asked how much better he is than when he first arrived in Jacksonville – and how much is because of Posluszny.
The quote: "Night and day – just my mental approach is different. I see how he sees things, how he looks at the game. You hear how he speaks in meetings and articulates things – it just makes you look at the game differently. I've learned a lot from him. Fortunate doesn't even [describe] it. I'm lucky and blessed that he would take the time. Even with me playing Otto, he's corrected me. Even in the Colts game, I went to the wrong side and switched over; he said, 'You need to be over here.' He's the Wikipedia of the defense. He knows where people are supposed to be, so he's very helpful."
The topic:The draft
The background:Jack in March and early April emerged as one of the major stories of the '16 draft, with speculation over the seriousness of his knee issue dominating Twitter for several weeks. The issue eventually led to Jack slipping from a possible Top 5 overall selection to the top of the second round, where the Jaguars selected him No. 36 overall. Jack was asked how far away the draft felt now.
The quote: "It's a big emphasis that's put on the draft, but at the end of the day once you get here it's Round 1 through undrafted on the field and all that matters is what you do on the field. Now that I have that perspective … it definitely feels like a long time ago, but it's a fresh wound. It always will be until the day I die. I guess you could you could say it's a drive. A lot of people didn't believe in me. Just show them they were wrong.