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Eagles’ tight ends coach weighs in on ex-Bills quarterback Tyree Jackson’s position switch


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Eagles’ tight ends coach weighs in on ex-Bills quarterback Tyree Jackson’s position switch


Posted Jun 13, 2021
Tyree Jackson

Former Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyree Jackson is competing at the tight end position for the Philadelphia Eagles this summer.AP

The Eagles’ tight end depth chart is a mystery heading into the summer.
While former second-round pick Dallas Goedert is ready to take on the top job, the players behind him have questions that need to be answered during training camp.
Three-time Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz is in a holding pattern as the Eagles decide what to do with the disgruntled cornerstone, and the rest of the group -- outside of recently re-signed Richard Rodgers -- is an inexperienced mix of project players and afterthoughts.
Tyree Jackson belongs in that first category.
A former college quarterback at the University of Buffalo, Jackson is converting to tight end after two years of disappointment in the pros.
Eagles tight ends coach Jason Michael, a fellow former college QB, thinks Jackson’s background as a signal-caller will help his transition to tight end.
"With the quarterback history, and the past that he’s got,” Michael said, "he’s got a good football understanding and understands general football.”
Jackson was a sleeper prospect for some draft analysts in 2019. A raw 6-foot-7, 250-pound QB, Jackson was coming off an impressive junior season, which enticed him to skip his senior year.
Jackson threw for 3,131 yards, 28 touchdowns and 12 interceptions during his final full season as a quarterback. While his numbers were appealing, teams passed on Jackson in the draft due to his accuracy (or lack thereof). Jackson completed just 55.8% of his passes at the college level.
Jackson signed with the Buffalo Bills as an undrafted free agent, but he failed to make the roster in training camp. He then joined the re-introduced XFL, working as the backup QB for the DC Defenders. In five games, Jackson completed 11 of 18 passes for 46 yards and a touchdown.
Jackson’s contract was terminated when the XFL folded due to the coronavirus pandemic, and he was forced to watch all of last year’s NFL season from the couch.
The Eagles signed Jackson to a reserve/futures contract in January with a catch: a position switch to tight end.
"It’s all new to him,” Michael said. "You go back to the simple things like being in a stance, the releases and things. It’s new to him every day and he’s taken those strides, and obviously, he has a good mental aspect from football and that helps him be able to take them into the physical (aspect). He’s done a good job of that so far.”
Jackson is new to the position, but he certainly looks the part. He towered over fellow tight ends Caleb Wilson, Jason Croom and rookie Jack Stoll while awaiting reps in the offseason program.
During those workouts, Jackson was able to show some progress while competing in front of his new coaches.
"It’s been positive to see growth from Day 1 to (Day) 9, 10, 11,” Michael said.
Michael will be a good resource for Jackson as he looks to take advantage of his new position. Michael has been a QBs coach and offensive coordinator at the NFL level, so he knows how to communicate with Jackson from the perspective of his old position.
"It helps the growth of the player when they can know the ‘why’ of what we are doing,” Michael said, "not just what the line on the sheet says in the playbook.”
While Jackson’s understanding of the playbook will be important, he will also need to physically prepare to play the most convoluted position in football. Michael thinks the tight end spot is the second-hardest position to play -- behind QB -- because of the many hats players have to wear.
Jackson is going to need to embrace that challenge and prove he can handle the different tasks to make the Eagles’ roster during training camp and the preseason.
"You’re playing running back, you’re playing offensive line, you’re playing wide receiver,” Michael said. "You’re going from a right-handed stance to a left-handed stance. So, all of the adjustments and things that you’re doing, you’ve got to understand the big picture of the offense, and not just one aspect of it.”
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On 6/15/2021 at 11:43 AM, jsdarkstar said:

Yep. A QB who is trying to become a TE is the answer for Ertz. Got it.

Goedert was drafted to replace Ertz. Rodgers was brought back to be TE2 or TE3 (if Ertz stays one more year). Jackson is a project that didn't cost us anything. He has good size and athletic ability and if he can learn to play TE could create mismatches. We drafted Mailata in the 7th round because of his size and athletic ability. He had no football experience at any level and we brought him in to develop. Greg Ward was a QB convert that has been our starting slot receiver for over a year. Sometimes projects work out and help the team. Every team still needs a scout team for practice purposes. Maybe this guy never is able to beat out the players ahead of him, but while he's here, he could still help this team by practicing hard.

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