Vincent Jackson hasn't had a great start to the 2016 season – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Vincent Jackson hasn’t been all that effective in the passing game the past two weeks – six receptions on 17 targets – but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been productive in other areas early on this season.
Offensive coordinator Todd Monken, who conceded after Week 1 that Jackson, along with coaches, could perform better, said on Wednesday that Jackson improved in Arizona, “playing harder and more consistent.” (Though Jackson would dispute any notion that that he wasn’t playing hard in the first place, saying, somewhat defensively, “I play hard every week. Go back and check out all the film from my career.”)
The 12th-year pro has come under some outside criticism, but those outside, Jackson would argue, aren’t seeing the complete performance from him or other receivers.
“I think there’s a lot of roles that our receivers play – run game, obviously the pass game and for me, personally, I want to perform well every week and I take pride in doing the things they put on my plate,” Jackson said. “They ask me to do a lot in the run game and I think that’s something of value that I bring to the table. There’s always room for improvement, for each and every player in this room. We’re all striving to continue to improve.”
Bucs WR Vincent Jackson Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
That includes becoming more precise, as head coach Dirk Koetter said earlier in the week.
While Jackson admitted that Tampa Bay’s passing game needed to become “sharper,” especially on timing-routes against single coverage, he doesn’t believe the missed opportunities are an issue of chemistry. Improvement is just about execution, focusing on the fundamentals and taking what the defense gives you, he said.
“Our chemistry is fine,” Jackson said of him and Jameis Winston. “Our relationship is fine. We just have to hit ‘em on Sunday and that’s just a matter of execution. It starts with protection, Jameis being able to sit in the pocket and see the same things that I’m seeing and the other receivers are seeing as far as leverage.
“It’s huge for quarterbacks and receivers to not press. We have to be out there and follow our training, as far as making the right reads. If the play is not there, then we have to check it down to the running back or throw the ball away and live to fight another down. We’re working through those things and Jameis is doing a great job.”
To those who suggest he’s lost a step, Jackson responded, “Come out and watch practice.” He’s been in the league long enough to know that hard work throughout the week doesn’t always translate into stats on Sunday, but you keep grinding and continue to look for opportunities.
In his 12th season, Jackson said he’s “all good” physically and cares only about winning. He’s more than confident in his ability and expects to make plenty of plays in 2016.
“I feel like I’m still playing at a very high level. Our coaches have all the confidence in me and obviously my teammates do as well,” Jackson said, noting earlier that the energy in practice has picked up this week.
“For me it’s a matter of just continuing to do my job. I don’t have to do too much or press or try to do anything extra ordinary. I trust my training and I know I can make plays and when those opportunities come. I hope more come my way. Until then, I’m just going to continue to do my job.”
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: [email protected]
I’ve always found it amusing when players talk of giving 110% or needing to “play harder” to account for the loss of another player. As Jackson said, “I play hard every week”. I’m sure he does, but from this untrained eye, so far this season he looks less effective than what we are accustomed to seeing. With Martin on the mend, the receivers will probably become more critical to the team’s success. Let’s hope they are all up to the task.
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