FOXBORO, Mass. — Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have unsurprisingly made a strong impression on Steven Jackson during the veteran running back’s short time with the New England Patriots.
Jackson talked up Brady after playing just the final two regular season games with the Patriots. The quarterback has lived up to Jackson’s already lofty expectations.
“It’s everything I thought it would be,” Jackson said. “True field leader. He has a great pulse of the team, knows how to motivate guys. You understand why they win around here.”
Jackson, who officially signed with the Patriots on Dec. 22, is headed to the playoffs for just the second time in his 12-year career. Jackson played two postseason games in his rookie season with the St. Louis Rams and didn’t make it back in his next 10 seasons.
“It’s been a long time,” Jackson said. “It’s been a long time. The last time I appeared in a playoff game was 2005. You get the feeling, but at the same time, all things considered, it’s been a long time.”
Making the playoffs is business as usual when Belichick is head coach. Jackson and Belichick have mutually admired one another since the running back declared for the 2004 NFL Draft.
“Great, he’s great to coach, works hard,” Belichick said. “You would think he’s a rookie — he’s just trying to soak everything in, understand everything as well as he can. He practices hard, he runs scout team, does the things he needs to do to improve and work on some things he hasn’t been able to do in months when he was working out but not playing football, so he’s trying to take advantage of all those opportunities.
“He’s been great, he’s got a great attitude and he’s picked things up well and has gotten better. Really literally every day he walks of the field is better than it was the day before, including the games, which again are limited, but hopefully there will be more of them.”
Jackson, who has 21 carries for 50 yards and a touchdown and one catch for 20 yards, returned the praise.
“Well you know, over the years we had a chance to cross paths and going back to 2004, to even some Pro Bowls where we crossed paths,” Jackson said. “One thing about coach Belichick is, you get what you get. He’s a true professional. Very hard on the details and making sure guys are smart and aware of what they are supposed to be doing. He hasn’t let me down yet.”
Thumbnail photo via Andrew Innerarity/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Jan 3, 2016; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New England Patriots running back Steven Jackson (39) carries as quarterback Tom Brady (12) looks on in the second half against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Innerarity-USA TODAY Sports