The Giants made some big changes on the defensive side of the ball this year, but one major piece returning to the unit in 2022 is cornerback Adoree' Jackson.
Now entering his sixth season in the NFL and his second with the Giants, Jackson is the veteran among the team's corners at just 26.
Jackson has leaned into his role as the most experienced player in the room throughout the off-season and summer. The Giants' No. 1 corner is now ready to carry that over into the regular season, starting this weekend with the Week 1 matchup against the Tennessee Titans.
Jackson recently sat down for an exclusive interview with Giants.com to discuss his new role as the veteran of the CB group, going up against opposing teams' No. 1 receivers, the new coaching staff and more.
Q: What excites you about going up against an opposing team's top receiver?
Jackson: I think what excites me the most is the competition level, especially when I'm able to go against (Kadarius Toney) KT, (Kenny Golladay) KG, (Darius Slayton) Slay, (David) Sills, Wan'Dale (Robinson). Man, it's just about the iron sharpens iron; and I remember when I was at USC, that's one of the things I was intrigued about. I used to tell the coaches, 'Let me go out there and compete' and just go against whoever they bring, whoever their best player was. So, it just speaks highly of you and then your staff, too. They believe in you. So, then you really got to believe in yourself. But when you have a coach or a system that believes in you and your abilities and lets you go out there and do your thing, I respect that a lot.
Q: You're in Season 6 now - not that old for the NFL - but you're the veteran in the CB group. How has that been going so far?
Jackson: It's been fun. It's actually been fun; I'd say being able to actually talk to the guys and understand that I've been there, but I'm not too far removed. So, it's not like it's a big gap in between. So, I can be able to help them when need be. But at the end of the day, I'm still learning from them as well. Seeing them come in with that hunger, same thing I had, and seeing them compete. You need that. I feel like there's competition there. So, coming into year six has been fun, seeing these guys. And I let them do their thing because I remember when I was a rookie. ... I want to make their lives as easy as possible, but at the same time hold each other accountable. So, they know what to expect; and it's not like you got to be so hard on them because they're going to be hard on themselves as well.
Q: What would you consider your leadership style?
Jackson: I think leading by example and then just if you need somebody to talk to or advice, I'm there to help. Like I said, I'm not too far removed at all. I'm still going to be able to talk to them and help them out when need be. I have some experience, and the good thing about that is I can relay to them that they can make better decisions than I made – hopefully be better than me or be better than what I've been through and be able to pass that down. So, I can just teach them. And that's probably the best thing I can do.
Q: Earlier in your career, whether it was with the Titans or even at USC, were there older players that you leaned on in the same sort of role?
Jackson: When I was at USC, there was a guy named Kevon Seymour from Pasadena. He ended up going to the Buffalo Bills. He was like the guy that took me on the ropes and showed me the ways when I was at USC. So, he was with me for two years, and then when I got to Tennessee, it was Logan (Ryan). So, I think I had two greats. And besides Logan, it was Deshea Townsend, who actually played for the Steelers, won a Super Bowl, played corner. So, I was fortunate enough to have some great guys, not just talent-wise but good people. So, I just thankful for those three in specific: Keyvon Seymour, Deshea Townsend and Logan Ryan.
View photos of veteran cornerback Adoree' Jackson's time spent with the New York Giants.
Q: Are there any others cornerbacks in the league now that you sort of put on their tape every so often and try to pick up a thing or two from?
Jackson: In the league now? You know what's crazy, my favorite corner – I remember coming out and going to college with Jason Verrett. He was one of my favorite corners to watch. It was just his game, man. It was nice. He's a dog. Seen him at TCU play, seen him with the Chargers now he's with the 49ers playing, so I think I had to say I watched – I just watched his stuff recently actually. Jason Verrett.
Q: You have three interceptions for your career. But if you look close at the analytics, PFF stats, your numbers are great. Do you ever look at the interception numbers, and does that bother you that it's only at three?
Jackson: It bothers me, but it doesn't make me frustrated if that makes sense. Obviously, I want to get picks, but at the end of the day, it's all about being effective. You know out there in a game, like I said before, when opportunities present themselves, I just got to make the plays. And it's going to happen. So, it's just a mentality thing. So, I only got three. And when we talk about this again, hopefully I got like six. Six with three added, so that makes nine.
Q: I know this is only your second year here, but second coaching staff as well. How has the feelings inside the building changed now with Coach (Brian) Daboll?
Jackson: The feeling's great. You know what's crazy? I've been through this before when I was at Tennessee. And so, for me to have a second chance at this, it just gave me a different outlook and perspective. You know, you always hear coaches come in. They got their own mentality, and they're going to bring in their own type of players that they want. And now being older, like I said, my leadership role is the guys who haven't been used to that, it's like 'Alright. Here's how you go about it. You can go about it the right way, or you can do it how I went about it.' And then I think for me now experiencing that and going through that, I'm just trying to be me every day. Be positive. Be happy. And at the end of the day, if I'm being me and they see me being me, it's no walking on eggshells or being like 'Oh man, I got to do this, or I got to do that.' Showing them how I do. It's all about competing at the end of the day, and that's what they respect the most: competing and going hard. Balls to the wall. Just doing the little things right and trying to be a pro. So, I think that's the mentality in this locker room; everybody's just out there competing and taking it day-by-day and taking what comes their way.
Q: One holdover from the old coaching staff is Defensive Backs Coach Jerome Henderson, your position coach. How excited were you when you heard he was coming back?
Jackson: I was fired up, man. I was pulling to make sure we kept 'Rome, man. At the end of the day, you can have a whole new staff, but when you have some familiarity – him and (Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey) TMac, man – it's just great to have. It's like going over to your cousin's house. You know what I'm saying? Like that's not your parents, but at the end of the day, that's your cousin. And you're cool with him. And 'Rome is a guy that brings a lot of energy and is going to coach his butt off to make sure that we're at the best of our ability. And I respect that a lot. I was excited to be able to keep 'Rome and (Assistant Defensive Backs Coach) Mike (Treier) in the building with us to be able to coach us. They're good dudes, great coaches actually. And they teach us a lot.
Q: Did you do anything different in your preparation this year for the season, for training camp, anything out of the norm?
Jackson: I don't think anything's out of the norm for me. Just trying to hone into myself. You know, be more in tune with myself and focus on the now. Not too much worried about the present or the past, although those are things that do happen. But at the end of the day, trying to lock and reset and focus on the task I have at hand and what I can control. It's just me and trying to be better day in and day out.
View photos of the New York Giants' 2022 roster as it currently stands.