|06-08-2005, 02:13 PM||#1|
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: South of Boston
(Nate) Jackson switching from wide receiver to TE
More on Nate Jackson:
Jackson pulls an end around
Bronco switching from wide receiver to TE
By Pat Graham
The Daily Times-Call
ENGLEWOOD — Turns out Nate Jackson wasn’t bingeing on Twinkies, Twizzlers and Twix in the offseason.
The extra pounds on the frame of the third-year Denver Broncos wide receiver had a purpose — the team wants to convert him into a tight end.
Denver coach Mike Shanahan asked if he’d be willing to make the switch and Jackson favorably responded.
“I want to be around, and whatever it takes to be around, and whatever position they want to see me in, I’ll do that,” Jackson said. “If they saw me as a center, and wanted me to put on weight and play center, I’d probably do that.”
That’s not necessary at the moment, but the Broncos will get back to him should center Ben Hamilton need a backup. Jackson wouldn’t have far to go if the call to play center arrived. Jackson finished last season at 217 pounds and has already ballooned up to 235.
“You guys didn’t notice the 20 pounds?” Jackson said with a smile.
The cat was completely let out of the bag by Denver quarterback Jake Plummer after the team camp Tuesday. Plummer was extolling the virtues of free-agent pickup tight end Stephen Alexander when he accidentally let the secret slip.
“Stephen Alexander’s a great acquisition for us,” Plummer said. “He’s a strong veteran. And then you got all the guys battling behind him. A guy who’s been doing well here is Nate Jackson.”
“He was, but they’ve moved him,” Plummer said. “Nate is looking good out there.”
Jackson obviously can be trusted with a secret. He was continually grilled over wideout Jerry Rice coming to town last week, but he never let on that a change was in store for him.
“I think they’re trying to find a good fit for me,” said Jackson, who caught eight passes for 73 yards before fracturing his left ankle in a loss to San Diego on Dec. 5. “Coach asked if I would be interested and I said sure, and I started putting on some weight.”
Putting on the weight was easy for Jackson. And. no, he didn’t head up to Hardee’s for one of its 1,420-calorie, 107-gram Monster Thickburgers. Jackson ate three square meals a day and threw in a few ready-made shakes. His version of the shakes included three eggs, large quantities of ice cream and chocolate sauce.
“I ate well,” said Jackson, who played at Menlo College in California. “I put weight on pretty quick.”
He’s starting to get accustomed to his new girth.
“It was a little shaky at first getting out of breaks and into full speed, but I’m used to it now,” Jackson said.
The Broncos are no strangers when it comes to converting receivers into tight ends. Shannon Sharpe was a former receiver at Savannah State College, and current tight end Jeb Putzier was a wideout at Boise State before sliding closer to the line of scrimmage upon his arrival in Denver.
“You have to think differently,” Jackson said of the switch. “You have to learn new terms and concepts. It gives you a better grasp of the big picture.”
The tricky part comes in battling defensive ends and linebackers instead of cornerbacks and safeties. However, if he can get free of the line of scrimmage, the receiver in Jackson will take it from there.
“I’ve been blocking and I’ve been down there with the big boys mixing it up,” Jackson said. “As a tight end, it’s a little easier to get open once you get out of the way of all those big guys. You get less man coverage, and when you do get man coverage it’s against linebackers.”
Even with more weight, Jackson grinned at the thought of being covered by a linebacker.
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