Jackson is slated to catch passes from backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick for the first three games of the 2018 regular season in the wake of Jameis Winston's expected suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com reports.
Jackson actually displayed solid rapport with Fitzpatrick over the four-plus games in which the latter saw action last season. The 31-year-old pass catcher hauled in two of his three touchdowns on the season from the veteran backup and posted 19 grabs on 30 targets overall during the four contests that Fitzpatrick started. Jackson is looking to improve on a lackluster first season in Tampa, during which he posted career lows in YPC (13.4), YPT (7.3) and receiving yards per game (47.7), and as such, has been making appearances in OTAs this offseason in an effort to improve his chemistry with Winston. However, barring a last-minute development, it appears Jackson will have to wait until at least Week 4 of the regular season before he can start to see that work pay dividends.
Jackson was present for the start of OTAs last week, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com reports.
Jackson is known for training the majority of the offseason in his native California, where he typically engages in a program focused on speed. However, he was present and accounted for at the first day of OTAs last week as part of his ongoing effort to build additional chemistry with Jameis Winston. Despite his presence last week, Jackson is not expected to attend every voluntary offseason practice, as he's also trying to keep up with his normal offseason regimen as much as possible.
Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter said he expects Jackson to have much better production in 2018, noting that the team made an entire tape of plays where the veteran wideout was open but didn't get the ball, Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Signed to a three-year, $33.5 million contract last offseason, Jackson finished 2017 with career-low marks of 13.4 yards per catch, 7.3 yards per target and 47.7 receiving yards per game. The disappointing season in combination with a large contract and talented wideout depth chart might seem to put his status with the team in jeopardy, but the Bucs apparently don't blame Jackson for his lack of statistical output. The hope is that an improved offensive line will give Jameis Winston more time to look downfield, allowing him to take advantage of a wideout group led by Jackson, Mike Evans, Adam Humphries and Chris Godwin, not to mention Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard (ankle) at tight end. Jackson's efficiency should improve at least a little, but the ample competition for Winston's attention will make it tough to realize a significant increase on last year's mark of 6.5 targets per game.
Jackson's Chevy Silverado was left abandoned at the scene of a crash on Christmas Eve, with police finding marijuana and hollow-point bullets in the vehicle. A spokesman for the Tampa Police Department said that because there weren't any witnesses or other evidence to place Jackson or another driver behind the wheel at the time of the crash, the case will become inactive. Jackson isn't set to face any discipline from the NFL or the Buccaneers and should be in store for a normal offseason after recording 50 catches for 668 yards and three touchdowns in 14 games during his first campaign in Tampa Bay.
The 10-year veteran's final numbers weren't drastically different from his final Redskins season in 2016 as far as receptions, but his yardage saw a precipitous drop from the 1,005 he'd tallied while catching passes from Kirk Cousins last year. Jackson's 13.4 YPC was also a career low, but as perJenna Laine of ESPN.com, the 31-year-old speedster led the NFL with 15.8 air yards per target. However, the accuracy on those throws was an issue, as Jackson was unable to bring in any of the seven targets of 40 or more yards that he saw. Conversely, he notched 11 catches on such throws during his three-season tenure in the Nation's Capital. According to Laine, head coach Dirk Koetter insists that Jackson hasn't lost a step after watching him up close for a full training camp, preseason and 14 regular-season games, lending credence to the notion that 2017 may have simply been a somewhat rocky acclimation year. Jackson will head into next season looking to drastically improve on his 2017 numbers and add a sixth 1,000-yard season to his resume.
|2017||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||14||13||50||668||13.4||41||3||10||1||36|
|2017||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||14||13||3||38||12.7||23||0||1||1|
|2017||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||14||13||0||0||---||0||---||0||0||0||0/0||0||0||---|
|2017||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||14||0||0||---||0||0||0|
|2017||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||14||0||0||0||---||0||0||0|
|2017||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||14||0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|
|2017||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||14||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|