Vincent Jackson hasn't had a great start to the 2016 season – Photo by: Getty Images
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.
Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I am going to suggest that VJax made his money catching Hail Marys (wrestling most of them away from DBs) from Glennon a few years ago…so, when it comes time to throw the deep ball up for grabs, choose VJax not Humphries, or Shorts….just my opinion of course.
“The precision isn’t there right now” applies to more than this QB-WR pair. ———- To be clear, Winston is highly likely to be the best and most productive QB this franchise has ever had. ———- But the elite QBs – think Brees, Brady, Manning, Rogers – have something that so far (admittedly just 18 games in) Winston does not – pinpoint accuracy. Even in week 1 Winston was putting the ball into what I’d call ‘a catchable area’ and relying on the receiver to make a play instead of putting it right on the money. ——- I assume I’ll get flamed for being objective instead of slathering man love on our franchise QB the way PR does with whomever they happen to be infatuated with at the moment, but the tape doesn’t lie. That style of play lends itself to boom/bust performances like those we’ve just seen. ————– Hopefully it can get cleaned up but W likely picked up some bad habits at FSU when the Noles had a physical advantage that doesn’t exist in the NFL so it won’t be quick or easy. We’re probably two drafts away so we have the time and we’re setting up for a multi-year run once we fill some holes and add some depth.
Jackson is just fine. You gotta throw him the ball for him to make an impact. He may not be the fastest, but he can still outpower any DB. And he is a very big guy. If Winston has time he can hit anyone who is open. We will be fine if Martin is starting and producing.
The way I see it, it is a two way street. Most of the passes that have went to Jackson weren’t that good of throws, some were pretty far off. But the ones that were catchable, Jackson needs to hang on to them. I have no doubt that they will get better, I just hope it is sooner rather than later.
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