Around the NFL  

 

Bucs' Jackson searching for chemistry with Winston

Print

Through three games, Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston still hasn't been able to build on-field chemistry with DeSean Jackson.

Jackson has caught nine of 20 targets, for a 45.0 percent catch-rate, the fifth lowest in the NFL among qualifying receivers, per NFL Research. He has 143 yards and one touchdown on those nine catches, with a long of 32 yards. Jackson sits behind Mike Evans (19 for 227), Adam Humphries (14 for 156) and Cameron Brate (10 for 137) as the teams' receiving leaders through three games.

Winston has had Jackson open deep multiple times, but just hasn't found the range to connect with his long-ball threat. The QB is  just 3 for 11 (27.3 percent) when targeting Jackson for 15-plus yards downfield (Jackson caught 47.2 percent of passes 15-plus yards downfield last season with Washington).

Thus far, Jackson can't explain why the chemistry appears off.

"I wish I had the answer for you,'' Jackson said Tuesday, via the Tampa Bay Times. "We're professionals. We're NFL players. We get paid to do a job. We need to go out there and execute the plan. ... It's only been three games. I hope sooner than later we can connect.

"I feel like me being a professional in this league, 10 years in, I've been through a lot in my career. But I'm not going to [jump] ship. I'm going to stay on point, stay on plan and I guess eventually it will come together. I've just got to continue to go out there and keep beating, beating away and doing things a little bit better.''

Winston shouldered blame for the struggles in getting his deep threat going, particularly pointing out missed throws when he had Jackson open for a big play.

"I think I've just got to get on track with him," said Winston, per the team's official website. "I have to play better in all respects. He's been doing what he does -- he's been open a lot. Again, it's the third game. I don't want to get into a talk about, 'Oh, I'm going to do this. I've got to get D. Jack the ball.' It's obvious I need to get him the ball. He is going to make this team better. At the same time, he's happier with winning than anything else."

Jackson downplayed his sideline blowup during Sunday's win over the New York Giants, but you can understand his frustration early in a young season.

Facing a woeful New England Patriots defense that has allowed the most passing yards per game in the NFL (324.0), and the most total yards per game (456.8), Jackson has a prime matchup to break out Thursday night. And we know DJax thrives under the prime-time lights.

"This is going to be a big game," Jackson said. "We look forward to getting another win here on our home turf. I definitely like to arise in these occasions when the spotlight's on me. Monday night, Thursday night, Sunday night games -- everyone's watching you, so we get a chance to go out there and show the world what we're about."

Print

Fan Discussion