Re­venge fac­tor: Jaguars de­fen­sive tackle Ma­lik Jack­son can’t wait to get a shot at his for­mer team.

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Cameron Wolfe Cameron Wolfe: cwolfe@den­ver­post.com or @CameronWolfe

Jack­sonville Jaguars de­fen­sive tackle Ma­lik Jack­son couldn’t hold back his ex­cite­ment about fac­ing his for­mer team for the first time Sun­day in Jack­sonville.

Jack­son left the Bron­cos in free agency last win­ter for more money. The 6-foot-5, 300-pounder is de­ter­mined to play the spoiler role in Den­ver’s playoff pur­suit. It’s per­sonal.

“That’s the big­gest thing I have to bat­tle with, prov­ing that I’m worth more than what they of­fered me and they shouldn’t have let me go,” Jack­son said on a con­fer­ence call Wed­nes­day. “That’s my whole premise go­ing out there and let­ting them know I’m a prob­lem and you let this prob­lem go, so now you have to deal with me.”

Jack­son has been one of the few bright spots in an oth­er­wise gloomy sea­son for the Jaguars (2-9). He has 4½ sacks, in­clud­ing two Sun­day against Buf­falo, and he has been a dis­rup­tive force along the line.

He still has friends on the Bron­cos, but his in­ten­sity level will be high Sun­day.

“Ma­lik loves to talk. He plays with that kind of at­ti­tude. It’s funny to me,” Bron­cos out­side line­backer Shane Ray said. “We’re ex­cited to see him, too. I’m sure our of­fense is go­ing to try to put Ma­lik in the ground with all the trash talk he did in one-on-one pass rush over the years.”

Jack­son said he’s as­sum­ing a lead­er­ship role for a young, re­build­ing team. The big­gest tran­si­tion for him has been deal­ing with the los­ing.

“It’s def­i­nitely tough, es­pe­cially com­ing from Den­ver, be­ing spoiled with the play­offs ev­ery year and a first-round bye,” Jack­son said. “It’s kind of sober­ing be­cause you re­al­ize ev­ery team isn’t win­ning 12 games a year. It brought me back down to earth.”

Jack­son said he be­lieved through­out the 2015 sea­son that he would re­turn to Den­ver, even after the Bron­cos signed de­fen­sive end Derek Wolfe to a four-year, $36.7 mil­lion ex­ten­sion in De­cem­ber. But Jack­son said once he turned down the Bron­cos’ five-year, $53 mil­lion of­fer, he fo­cused on free agency.

“The Bron­cos had a year, play­offs and Su­per Bowl to get a deal done and they waited,” said Jack­son, who signed a six-year, $85.5 mil­lion con­tract, with $42 mil­lion guar­an­teed, in March. “So I wasn’t re­ally wor­ried about what they had to say, I was more open to the whole league.”

Bron­cos out­side line­backer Von Miller, who signed his own big con­tract in July, added: “I knew what the mar­ket value was for Ma­lik. It’s un­for­tu­nate he had to go some­where else to get that, but I knew what our sit­u­a­tion was.”

The Bron­cos’ run de­fense has strug­gled in Jack­son’s ab­sence, drop­ping from third over­all in 2015 to 27th this sea­son. Den­ver has re­lied on Jared Crick, Billy Winn and Adam Got­sis op­po­site Wolfe, with vary­ing re­sults.

“It’s made a pretty big dif­fer­ence,” Bron­cos line­backer Bran­don Mar­shall said. “Ma­lik is dis­rup­tive in the run and pass game. Ma­lik is a unique player.”

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