This week at One Buc Place, the assistant coaches were made available for the first time this offseason. Each position coach was open to the media to talk about the guys they know best, and there were certainly some narratives that were fortified and also some new perspectives that were discovered.
We wouldn’t call it a new perspective for the coaching staff to expect free agent wide receiver DeSean Jackson to be a producing part of the Buccaneers’ offense this season. However, we didn’t expect to hear that opinion be voiced as sternly as it was by offensive coordinator, Todd Monken, either.
“How can we get DeSean Jackson up to playing at a really high level? Not that he’s still not capable of it, but how do we get him to play at why we paid him?’’ Monken said. “I’ve told him that, ‘we have paid you a lot of money to be a damn good player. This isn’t a contract where we’re paying you for what you’ve done for us…we’re not paying you like (Derek) Jeter [in his last three years]. We don’t have any old street cred that we’re paying you for. No. We need you to be a great player now. That’s why we gave you the money.”
Bucs WR DeSean Jackson – Photo by Cliff Welch/PR
Though Monken has only been with the Buccaneers since last season, you could tell there was a hint of disdain in his voice. Not that any of it was towards Jackson, let’s be clear about that. But, I’m sure Monken has been around some of the older coaches or front office members who have traded stories about athletes they’ve drafted or free agents they’ve signed who simply did not live up to the money spent – and if there’s anything people at the top can’t stand, it’s when money (and time) is wasted.
For the Buccaneers, there are unfortunately quite a few names that come to mind, not only with money spent, but also in resources to acquire – Darrelle Revis, Dashon Goldson, Michael Johnson, Anthony Collins just to name a few.
Monken’s tone and demeanor with such a message to the media fortified the idea that this isn’t that same old Buccaneers regime. This is an organization and coaching staff that does their research, spends the money and expects to get the most out of it in return.
“[Jackson] came here because of the money,” Monken said. “Don’t give me all that bull about you came here because of the weather and Jameis. No. You came here because we paid you the most. You need to play like that. And he gets that. He’s smart enough to understand that.”
When Monken talks about that production they want to see from Jackson, I’m sure he would tell you that such impact for the offense can come in a variety of ways – and should, that’s why they’re paying him as opposed to another receiver. But, tangible worth for all big offensive contracts can boil down to one word.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were one of the worst teams in the NFL last year when it came to dynamic plays, and more specifically, dynamic touchdowns, meaning plays of 30 yards or more in 2016. Since coming into the league in 2008, no receiver in the game has had the same kind of electrifying and consistent success on those long distance plays than Jackson has.
Redskins WR DeSean Jackson – Photo by: Getty Images
Jackson has recorded a touchdown of 60 or more yards in every single season of his career, and what Monken is saying is that 2017 better not be the first time he breaks that streak. Jackson’s career high in touchdowns for one season is nine, his last Pro Bowl year in 2013. Since then, after signing a big deal with Washington, he hasn’t come close to that production with just six, four and four touchdowns per year respectively.
When Jackson said in his introductory press conference that he doesn’t feel his age will slow him down at all, that’s exactly what the front office expected to hear and expects to see. They don’t just want a Jackson who can come in and make a splash plays “every now and then”. They want a splash plays every week; that’s the kind of money they gave him.
Jackson has never recorded double-digit receiving touchdowns in a single season. There’s plenty of fire power in this Buccaneers offense to give him that best chance, or at least close to it.
Monken, Jason Licht and Dirk Koetter don’t just want three good years out of Jackson. They’re banking on great years, and hopefully a carer year somewhere in there, too.
This team gave Jackson a good chunk of their treasure. Monken says he better live up to it.
Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he’s not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: [email protected]
Todd seemed a little testy. Maybe it has to do with Dirk calling the plays again this year. I’ve said it’s not good for a coaches career to have the title O.C. without the play calling duties. Monkin knows he’d be a hot coaching candidate with this offense if only Dirk didn’t say I’ll take it from here on Sundays. Not good for the dynamics of the coaching staff. Monkin didn’t say anything about D Jax that isn’t hovering above everyones head in the NFL, produce or bust?
No not “everone in the NFL” is thinking DSJ hasn’t produced consistently in his long and extremely successful career. He has led the league in YPR and in no. long receptions virtually every season sinof ce he started, including last season.
It is dumb to effectively charging DSJ with brong a slacker when he has proven just the opposite.
There are no guarantees of future performance by any person who is on this planet. Every NFL player is one injury away from forced retirement. No player is immune to the effects of aging. But to start iff immediately with threats and negativism with no basis in past performance as Minckem did is inexcusable.
pls pardon my fat fingers on the smart phone keyboard!
Nice to hear a coach, as Howard Cosell would say, “tells it like it is.” Don’t we all think the same thing?
No Scubog, Moncken certainly did NOT “tell it like it is”, and I certainly NOTthink the same thing.
I heard that in his presser too and thought it was a little premature before even the first OTA. What prompted the seemingly shot over the bow? Seems like a conversation that should have taken place before the contract was signed.
DeSean Jackson signed a 3 year, $33,500,000 contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, including $20,000,000 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $11,166,667. In 2017, Jackson will earn a base salary of $6,500,000 and a roster bonus of $6,000,000, while carrying a cap hit of $12,500,000 and a dead cap value of $20,000,000. (taken from Spotrac).
He’s a Buc now and we’re paying him for two years regardless. Not the kind of talk you’d like to hear before the first pass is thrown. The Bucs know more than me, but I’ll be interested to see if the Buc brass feel this way or as Surfer thinks that Monken was just feeling testy that day!
Honestly I like it, he’s keeping it real and setting the tone. DJax does not always give his all. Hopefully people making him accountable will bring forth the best we’ve ever seen from him. No reason he shouldn’t ball out this year yet I know he’s known for having something tweaked up until the games he actually wants to play.
Why say this too the press!? It sounds obnoxious to me. I don’t like it.
Who needs Mel “the hair” Kiper when we got our own Rob Roy Cummings.
Bucs need to make the playoffs, plain and simple. Not 3 years from now; NOW. If they don’t and DJax doesn’t play well, he won’t see the third year of that deal.
I couldn’t agree more with what he said. As our prized offseason signing, DJax definitely has high expectations to live up to. I think he will play a big role in our offense this year and hopefully for the remaining 2 afterward.
Somethings going on. He said that for a reason. PerhapsDjax is not in the building, or not working out, or not playing catch with Winston, or something.
I don’t know how many TD’s he will have but that’s not the most important thing IMO. He is a deep threat and that opens everything up “IF” you hit him deep consistently. I love Jameis but that’s been one part of his game that has not been good or consistent. The deep ball that is. Hoping his accuracy in general is better this year and him and Jackson have good continuity.
I try to read everything and watch a lot of film. I caught Mike Evans on NFLNetwork and he addresses some of the concerns you mention. You would expect a WR to say good things about his QB, but I thought he was being open and honest about what he’s seen this offseason. Always believe your own eyes, but listen at minute 1:00 on Winston’s improvements as observed by Mike Evans.
Not sure there’s allot of upside in Monken saying this out loud. These diva receivers can sometimes take this kind of motivational coaching the wrong way. Hopefully, Jackson is a grown up and and pro. Fingers crossed.
Moncken was out of line. If anyone has the right to discuss money vs. performance, it’s Jason Licht, not a third level assistant coach who has yet to do any coaching of this new guy on the roster.
Secondly, calling a guy out in front of the public, a proven veteran with many years of league leading performance proving his bona fides, is just plain dumb and counterproductive and a drag on team morale. If I were Coach Koetter or Jason Licht, I’d tell him to STFU under pain of firing if he doesnt.
Finally, as a matter of common sense, threats and insults don’t work if the objective is to inspire high performance.
I guess now we know why this dude ain’t a head coach.
I think it’s insulting to DeSean Jackson, implies that he does not bring it each year. Monken might want to look in the mirror, believe his record as head coach at So. Miss. was 13 – 25. Does he feel he earned his check?
Jackson came for the money…we all know that. And we also know that we’ve had free agents not produce. I don’t mind the assistant coach saying that as long as it didn’t come as a surprise to those above him.
We need big plays on offense no doubt. My only question is if its realistic to expect him to have double digit TD receptions when we have Mike Evans, we’ve drafted TE Howard, and we have Cameron Brate…that doesn’t include Humphries and the other role receivers and RB’s. We need him for big plays and to loosen up the defense some on Mike Evans and break him open even more.
I understand how important a true threat opposite Evans is, but I agree with Monken’s “you are paid so no excuses, just production” attitude.
Will these comments to the media sour their relationship? In a word, no. Monken is a coach. Jackson is a player. Jackson has guaranteed money and now has to hold up his end of the bargain on the field…
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