Last year Kyle Shanahan told us Drake Jackson was inactive down the stretch because he, "lost his power" at the end of the season. Yesterday Drake Jackson explained why that will never happen again.
During his press conference, Jackson described the biggest difference between last year and this year:
One thing that I would say I've changed from my rookie year to now is just being in here all day. I'm starting to fall in love with just being in here countless hours. In the tubs, in the training room...in the breathing room. Just trying to better myself. I don't think I was doing that last year. I just wanted to get out - or, not wanting to get out but I just kind of left after. Not really focusing on my body, I would say.
So this year, I'd definitely say I'm just really honing in and taking the time focus on myself and my body and what I need to go out there and keep doing it all over and over again.
Jackson started his rookie year with three sacks in his first five games taking defensive snaps, but he registered just two quarterback hits the entire rest of the season. He's obviously hoping the extra body work will help prevent a similar drop off this year.
The cunning warrior trains both body and mind, however, and the same holds true with Jackson. In addition to adding around 13 pounds of muscle and reaching personal bests in the weight room, Jackson also explained how he's training his mind as well.
"I know last year everything was kind of a blur for me, so just really settling down and being key to all my details and things of that sort."
The 49ers did not make any major additions in terms of edge pass rushers this offseason, even with several quality veterans still available on the free agent market. That speaks to both the confidence the team has in his future and to how much pressure is on his freshly-muscled shoulders. For this defense to function at optimal capacity, Jackson has to be the speed rusher opposite Nick Bosa that will force quarterbacks to step up into Javon Hargrave and Arik Armstead in the middle of the defensive line.
Right now Drake is taking the steps to do exactly that in 2023.
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