According to Birkett, Jackson takes copious notes while watching film in preparation for that week's game. Jackson often refers back to his notes between defensive series, much to the chagrin of his old school coordinator.
"He thinks too damn much," Cunningham said. "He's a hell of an athlete. He'd make a hell of a lot more plays if he started listening to a couple of us around here."
Jackson's four-year career has been split evenly between the Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions. Despite playing in 10 fewer games, and playing in just 30 percent of the Lions' snaps the past two seasons, Jackson has been a far more effective pass-rusher in Detroit, picking up 10.5 in 22 games compared to the 6.5 he had in 32 games with the Seahawks.
With Jackson, who is entering a contract year, clearly in possession of an analytical mind, those sack numbers should be enough for him to let go and trust that Cunningham only is trying to help him take his game to the next level.
"The game is about you and what you have in you," Cunningham added, "and all the great linemen I've ever been around, they took the game in their own hands, and we're kind of working on that right now. You can't always be perfect. You've got to take a shot to make the play, and that's the difference between a good player and a great player."