TAMPA – It’s hard to tell exactly what it was that set him off, but if the little sideline tirade that Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson threw on Sunday was a result of quarterback Jameis Winston’s inability to get the ball to him, coach Dirk Koetter is OK with that.
Jackson came off the field and slammed his helmet and threw his gloves after Winston failed to connect with Jackson on a critical 2-point conversion during the Bucs 25-23 victory over the Giants and Koetter says Jackson has every reason to be frustrated.
“DeSean should be frustrated because DeSean is an elite player in this league and we didn’t get him the ball,’’ Koetter said after Jackson caught just two of the six passes that were thrown to him on the day, gaining a total of just 20 yards.
“We tried to get it to him, and I mean, we’ve talked about how Jameis and Cam (Brate) were clicking; how Jameis and Adam (Humphries) were clicking; how Jameis and Mike (Evans) are always clicking. We even got O.J. (Howard) on track today.
“But with DeSean, we just couldn’t get it to him other than a couple of short ones. We either flat out missed him a couple times or we didn’t see him. So DeSean has every right to be frustrated and we have to get him involved more because he’s a dynamic playmaker.’’
Jackson dressed quickly and left the Bucs locker room without speaking to reporters, so it’s uncertain if he’s frustrated over the lack of opportunity or because three games into the season he and Winston still haven’t developed a good connection.
It’s likely the latter, though. Jackson has now been targeted 20 times this season, tied with slot receiver Adam Humphries for second most on the team behind Mike Evans, who has been targeted 32 times. But he’s only caught nine passes for 143 yards and one touchdown.
The reason is that most of the balls Winston has thrown to Jackson would have required Jackson to perform a series of acrobatic maneuvers to catch the ball, most of those passes being thrown well behind him or in some cases, believe it or not, well over his head.
“I’m going to talk with DeSean,’’ Winston said. “That’s all me. It comes with my development of being able to throw the ball downfield. We had three opportunities and I overshot him. I undershot him on one. It’s a work in progress. Third game. We just have to continue to get better.’’
Jackson knows he’s going to play second fiddle to Evans on this team but his ability to make big plays in his own right is being compromised by the struggles Winston continues to have getting the ball downfield.
That’s an area Winston needed to improve on dramatically coming into this season and it looked for a while in training camp as if he was getting better but nearly a quarter of the way through the season, the Bucs still haven’t found a way to take full advantage of one of their best weapons.