The main reason the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed wide receiver Vincent Jackson to a five-year, $55.555 million contract was to bring the 60-70 receptions, 1,100-plus yards and eight-plus touchdowns he's averaged over his last three full seasons to a passing offense that ranked 23rd in passing yards per play and was tied for 27th in passing plays of 20+ yards in 2011.
Roy Cummings of The Tampa Tribune writes that Jackson was also valued for the veteran leadership he'd bring to a young Bucs receiver corps that includes 2010 draft picks Arrelious Benn and Mike Williams, who caught 65 passes for 964 yards and 11 touchdowns as a rookie before gaining 771 yards with three touchdowns on another 65 receptions in 2011.
Despite a torn ACL late in his rookie season, the 23-year-old Benn bounced back to be a big play threat (15.2 yard average on 55 career receptions in 29 games) in the offense. The 22-year-old Dezmon Briscoe, a 2010 sixth-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals, spent his rookie season on the Bucs' practice squad before catching a team-high six touchdowns last season. Talent at the receiver position was not an issue for the Buccaneers, harnessing it was. That's where Jackson has helped first-year receivers coach P.J. Fleck.
"He's been letting us know what we're going to see (from opposing defenses), and he's basically been telling me to just keep working on my game," Williams said of the advice he's getting from Jackson during the team's offseason workouts. "You can't ever think you've mastered it.
"No matter what, you have to keep on working on it. If you catch a pass 1,000 times, he wants you to catch it 1,005 times. So just keep working on my game is basically what I've learned from him."