When Antrel Rolle was with the Giants, he often spoke about the mental toll of having to prepare to play two positions. He was asked not only to cover his safety responsibilities but at times come down to the line of scrimmage and play nickel cornerback. It was difficult for him to carve out time to work on the disparate skills for both positions and study the playbook for them.
Rolle was a Pro Bowl player and an established veteran when he was asked to do those things.
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Bennett Jackson is not. He hasn't even played in an NFL game.
And yet the Giants seem to be asking him to give them the same kind of duality that Rolle and, before him, another veteran in Deon Grant, were able to provide. His response?
No big deal.
"I definitely feel like I can do those roles," he said on Sunday. "It's just going to be a little harder on me, but it's definitely something I see I can do."
Jackson is somewhat used to making position changes. He was a wide receiver at Notre Dame before converting to cornerback. That's where he played when he was drafted by the Giants last year. He came into this season as a safety, but with dwindling numbers at corner (and a skillset that helps at the position) he's been straddling the line between safety and nickel for the last week.
Even now, with the Giants down two safeties after Friday's game and three with Nat Berhe still recovering from a calf strain, he'll continue to be a man of both worlds.
"Certainly, he's going to have to play more safety now," Tom Coughlin said. "Hopefully we can continue to do that."
Jackson chuckled at the idea that he'll have to remind himself what position he is playing when he's on the field so he knows where to line up and what his responsibilities are in terms of calling out checks and coverages (the job of a safety).
"I lock myself in once they say we're in our nickel group," he said. "I get that down pretty simple. It's a lot at first, but once you start understanding the defense it comes a lot easier."
And he's been getting a lot of extra tutelage as well.
"[Safeties coach Dave] Merritt is on me pretty much every day about my alignment and my technique, along with [cornerbacks coach Tim] Walton and [defensive coordinator Steve] Spagnuolo," he said. "That helps me out because they detail every little thing."
And at his position - make that positions, plural - there are going to be a lot of them.