Last Wednesday, offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach Todd Monken conceded that, along with better coaching and putting him in favorable position to catch passes, Vincent Jackson also needed to do his part and “play better.”
The 33-year old captain didn’t appear to improve on Sunday.
Bucs WR Vincent Jackson – Photo by: Getty Images
After a miscommunication between Jameis Winston and Jackson led to an early interception in Atlanta, the two never seemed to be on the same page in Arizona and saw similar results as Week 1. As Eric Horchy pointed out in the Most Disappointing list, Jackson caught just four of nine targets Sunday and was the intended receiver on Winston’s second-quarter interception.
Still, while lack of chemistry is often blamed on the receiver, coach Dirk Koetter and Winston both put the interception on Winston.
“That ball was behind him,” Koetter said. “That was a bad throw. We call it a bench route. He’s got to get the ball outside.”
“I have to get him the ball,” Winston said of his connection to Jackson. “His job is to get open and catch passes. My job is to get him the ball. If the ball is not getting to him, whether he’s doing something or I’m doing something, it’s my fault. I’m the quarterback; the ball is in my hands. He’s just running the route. I’ve got to get him the ball.”
Winston’s a good teammate and is giving even more respect to the most decorated and proven offensive player on Tampa Bay. But stats don’t lie and Winston has looked significantly better throwing to other options. In the first two weeks Jackson has just six catches for 62 yards despite being targeted 17 times.
Winston, who’s thrown two of his five interceptions Jackson’s way, did admit the rapport between him and the 12th-year pro “can always get better,” but called it upon himself to “step up (his) game.”
“Vincent is Vincent,” Winston said. “I need to get on his level. I’m the young guy.”
After a chance to review the tape, Koetter was asked when addressing the media on Monday the reason for Winston and Jackson’s trouble connecting. The Bucs coach said the duo is simply not as precise as they need to be at this point, but will continue to work to get on the same page.
“We’re having too many instances where Jameis and Vincent, the precision isn’t there right now,” Koetter said. “The precision that we need. We’re talking about our two captains on offense and the precision between those two players just isn’t where it needs to be right now. That’s something that we’re going to need to get straightened out real soon.”
It’s only been two weeks and, in fairness to Jackson, he’s one of the best receivers in Bucs history, fourth all-time in receptions (253) in just four years on the team. But Tampa Bay could really benefit – and really needs – one more productive season out of Jackson as its No. 2 wide receiver in order to stay aggressive on offense and right the ship.
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.
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