D’Qwell Jackson was once one of the best linebackers in the entire NFL after his 2008 season found him on top of the leader boards in tackles from scrimmage. However, since that season, Jackson has dealt with a series of pectoral injuries and has spent the last two seasons on the sidelines instead of with his teammates. Now, heading into the fourth and final week of the preseason, it finally looks like Jackson may return to regular season action against the Cincinnati Bengals on September 11.
The Browns had to take it slow with their starting middle linebacker as he began training camp working through confidence issues and injury concerns. Now that he has seen some game action, Jackson seems to have his football mentality in full force and is making a great impact on a relatively weak linebacking corps.
The Browns really do not have the correct personnel to run the type of defense that they will be implementing during the 2011 season. Cleveland is weak at the outside linebacker position and will be forced to rely on a pass rush from a starting line that will boast two rookies and two unproven journeymen.
This means that Jackson’s role is even greater in this defense because of the team’s lack of experience and lack of familiarity with the schemes. Already in this preseason, it is easy to see that Jackson has a solid grip on the Browns’ playbook and is willing to play without fear of injuring himself for another season.
Against the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night, D’Qwell only collected two tackles, but was a consistent force in Michael Vick’s face and help the Browns hit the former Atlanta Falcon a total of nine times.
Cleveland and Jackson will have to hope their good luck continues heading into their final preseason game against the Chicago Bears. But, barring any unforeseen setback, the Browns will be very happy to finally have their starting linebacker back in action against the Cincinnati Bengals.