For most of the Buccaneers OTA practices over the last few weeks, there was a question that kept coming up during the voluntary workout.
“Where is DeSean Jackson?”
Jackson got a few practices in with the team, but was also absent from a good amount of them. Because of the nature in how he was acquired and how much of a high profile player he is, there was obviously some eye brows raised from the media and the fans. However, we tried to settle the scuttle and remind people that it was completely voluntary, and that Jackson had been working out with both Winston and Evans long before the OTA began.
Bucs WR DeSean Jackson – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
For the start of mandatory mini-camp, Jackson, along with all other 89 players on the roster, were present and accounted for. Before the second mini-camp practice in the middle of the week, Jackson addressed the media for the first time since getting to practice with his new team. He said the welcome he and the other new players have received has been warm.
“From day one, being able to come and build relationship with these guys, new teammates coming into a new place, always being a familiar face, it’s been nothing but open arms from these guys here,” Jackson sad. “Open arms since I came in from me as well, it’s vise versa for me being able to be in these rooms with some of the younger guys helping out with some of the knowledge I have. It’s been great. It’s still a ongoing process everyday day in and day out we take pride in what we do coming out working hard on the field translating that to the meeting rooms and being accountable and given it your all.”
The talk of the town is what the Bucs offense will look like with both Jackson and Mike Evans on the same team at the same time. Jackson, a veteran wide receiver in the NFL, was asked what he thought of Evans compared to other receivers he’s played with.
“I don’t like to try to compare guys,” Jackson said. “I think everyone has their different talents to the game. I’m not taking away no credit from my past receivers in my time, but [Evans] is obviously a freak of nature. He can still can get down the field and make big plays on defenders. Having that combination with a bigger guy and a speedy guy, it’s going to be interested to see how it goes during the season. I’m excited about that as well. I know he is, too. I know a lot of fans is, too, so we are ready to get down and strip down and get ready for training camp and August into the season.”
Of course, you couldn’t go a full Bucs player interview without being asked about Jameis Winston, but for Jackson is was certainly a necessity. He was asked what he like the most about his new quarterback, and the connection they could have as friends and teammates.
Bucs QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
“I been around some great quarterbacks in my time, but Jameis is special young cat,” Jackson said. “He comes out and works hard, and he asks us to do the same. That’s a great quality to have. He’s going to be here, he’s going to be very accountable and vocal and he gives out what he wants back in.”
And underrated bonus of Jackson’s signing is how it will help the Buccaneers defensive backs. Brent Grimes is a veteran, and has seen plenty of top talent over the years, but most of the other cornerbacks are young and still learning the NFL game. For them, it’s not only a once a week thing that they see top NFL talent they go up against. This season it will be every day in practice. Jackson talked about that “iron sharpens iron” aspect of coming aboard.
“It’s a give and take,” Jackson said. “We got some good players that are being competitive and aggressive, so that’s within the game, so it’s just a grind. We got another practice left, two practices left until we go away for a little bit of time and regroup and get situated for training camp. I think everyone is taking the right steps to move forward to becoming who we want to become.”