Chiefs coach Todd Haley told reporters today that last year’s #3 overall pick is in serious danger of losing his starting job.
To Wallace Gilberry.
Ok, maybe he didn’t put it exactly like that. In fact, he didn’t even mention Jackson by name. But when he was asked about Jackson’s backup, Wallace Gilberry, this is what he said:
Wallace is in an open competition to try to beat one of the guys in the front 3 in a 3-4 defense and I think he can do that. He’s got to pay with great technique, he’s got to do the things the way he’s supposed to do it and he’s got to know what to do. He’s in a competition so again I wouldn’t pigeon hold Wallace as being strictly one of the other, a sub rusher or just a first and second down player. That being said this week, I think we’ll have to kind of get in to some f the roles some of these guys might, can, will play.
Jackson, who AA staff member Big Matt affectionately(?) calls “Tin Man,” has not lived up to the high expectations attached to his draft slot and high salary. Gilberry in the meantime was not drafted at all yet finished 2nd on the team in sacks in 2009.
If Haley means what he says here, it is a pretty bold move. Jackson is only at the beginning of his 2nd year and was the very first draft pick of the Scott Pioli era. Guys taken as high as Jackson, not just on the Chiefs but on any team, are often given ample time to develop.
If Giberry is indeed playing better than Jackson and gets the starting nod at some point this season, it will send quite a message to the players that no matter who you are, you can lose your job if someone else is playing better.
I think it will also reflect well on the coaching staff. It will send a message to fans that the Chiefs brass is able to admit their mistakes and that they will move to rectify them rather than let the team suffer.
Still we have to wonder if this is just “coach speak” on the part of Haley. The head coach may just be trying to motivate Jackson. Only time will tell.
I know you will all have a lot to say about this so have at it.