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Tyree Jackson's Rehab Included Learning More About his New Position

The transition from quarterback to tight end will have its ups and downs, he said, but the Eagles could grow his role over the final eight games
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A year ago, Tyree Jackson was still wrestling with the decision to make the switch from quarterback to tight end.

Nearly three months ago, he began to rehab a fracture in his back after landing flat on it with a frightening thud while going high to pull in a pass in the end zone during a training camp practice.

Fast forward to Week 9 of the season and Jackson made his pro debut, banking 14 offensive snaps and another four on special teams in the Eagles’ narrow loss last week to the Los Angeles Chargers.

“I feel like everything happens for a reason,” said Jackson on Friday afternoon as the Eagles (3-6) prepare to head west to play the Denver Broncos (54-) on Sunday (4:25 p.m./CBS).

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“The time I was out I got to learn a lot of football, learn a lot about tight end, sit back and kind of be with my coach more and just learn from Dallas and those guys out there playing. It was tough, but it was definitely a blessing in disguise maybe.”

Jackson’s time rehabbing was spent watching cut-up tape of the league’s top tight ends, Travis Kelce, Darren Waller, and Rob Gronkowski.

He also had the benefit of up-close views of teammates Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert.

“I always believe in myself, because that’s how you’re supposed to be as an athlete,” he said. “I always thought that I could possibly be here in this position, but it’s been awesome.”

Ertz was traded on Oct. 15 and GM Howie Roseman mentioned that Jackson will now have an opportunity to show that his strong training camp can transition to actual regular-season games.

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“For me, I just have to control what I can control and continue to get better each day,” said Jackson, who was a quarterback at the University of Buffalo. “Making the transition there’s going to be ups and downs, like I’ve said before, so continue to get better each day.

“Just having someone like Zach in the room was awesome, just learned so much from him and even now I still talk to him and still keep in touch with him and learn from him.”

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At 6-7, 250, Jackson’s size makes him an intriguing target, particularly in the red zone, though the Eagles’ offense has done well this season in the area inside the enemy 20-yard line.

They are ranked third in the NFL at turning red-zone possessions into touchdowns, scoring 23 of them on 32 trips (71.9 percent). They have kicked six field goals in those trips to up their overall percentage to 90.6.

Earlier in the week, head coach Nick Sirianni preferred not to reveal his vision for Jackson's role over the final eight games.

Against the Chargers, Jackson was used in 13 personnel, on the field with Goedert and Jack Stoll. It was a blocking role, but that could change.

“I definitely tried to enjoy (his pro debut), but I didn’t want to make it any bigger than it was,” he said. “It was a long time coming but at the same time it’s just football, you have to go out and do what you’re supposed to do. I didn’t make a big deal out of it, but it was a blessing.”

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Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglemaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.