Passing combo looks good
and just call in over the phone, I wanted to be here and be face and show.”
Wasn’t this supposed to be a long-distance relationship anyway? Jackson going deep (well, maybe not all the way to California) and Winston throwing the ball as far as he can. In fact, already they are getting closer, which may make it easier to complete balls further downfield. Last week, Winston spent two days throwing footballs to Jackson in Tallahassee.
“I was able to get out and check out their facility at Florida State,’’ Jackson said. “I grew up a Florida State fan, so it was pretty cool to go check that out as well. So, it was definitely a nice college town.”
This all makes for a great photo op in March, but let’s see if they can co-exist during the ups and downs of a 16-game regular season.
Koetter recently said he put together a tape of all the times that Jackson did his job. Time and time again, Jackson won his route, got separation or behind the defense. The football didn’t find him.
“As far as my job, being a professional, all you can do is worry about yourself,’’ Jackson said. “I’m sure everybody could do their job better. That’s being human. I feel I probably could have done some things better, too.
“But on the overall sheet, I think I did a good job of going out and keeping my cool, not blowing a fuse from my early days when people probably said, ‘He’s a cancer,’ and things like that. So I’ve learned a lot. But it’s definitely frustrating if you feel like you’re a guy in this league and you make big plays and you can’t get those big plays.’’
There were questions about his commitment last season, especially when the losing started.
Did Jackson always practice hard? Did he set an example for younger players? Did he fight back from an ankle injury to play against Carolina on Christmas Eve? How about for the season finale against New Orleans?
One guy who did play hurt in those games was rookie Chris Godwin. Starting for Jackson, he combined to catch 10 passes for 209 yards and the gamewinning TD against the Saints.
The Bucs really don’t have many options with Jackson. Even if they were inclined to move on, they face a $7.5-million hit on their salary cap. Only about $1 million would likely be offset by the team that would sign him.
Winston and Koetter and general manager Jason Licht all want a mulligan with Jackson. The Bucs were 3-7 in one-score games last season, and one or two more plays a game by Jackson could be the difference in the outcome.
Jackson says he will have a simple approach heading into 2018.
“Just have fun, just go up there and light up the scoreboard and fire the cannons,” Jackson said. “That’s what we’re here for.”
DeSean Jackson (11) and Jameis Winston are working to build a rapport this offseason.