DeSean Jackson had a disappointing first season with the Bucs by almost any measure.
In 2017, Jackson's 50 catches for 668 yards were career-lows in seasons in which he played at least 12 games. His 13.4 yard average was a career-worst.
Certainly, it wasn't all Jackson's fault. The Bucs simply did a poor job of getting him the football, especially down the field. Tampa Bay was hoping for more when they signed Jackson to a 3-year, $33.5-million contract.
On Saturday, Jackson stood out again in practice, catching a 54-yard TD pass from Jameis Winston.
Because Jackson is entering his 11th season and has m0re than 9,400 yards receiving, he has instant credibility among young players. And this off-season, coach Dirk Koetter says Jackson has become a better leader.
"DeSean's having an excellent camp," Koetter said. "I think DeSean has really asserted himself not only as a veteran but as a leader. He's tried to take on more of a (leadership) role, and I'm very pleased. We haven't hit him as much as we should, but that was progress."
How is Jackson is asserting himself as a leader?
"What he says, his body language," Koetter said. "DeSean has instant street cred because of his career. The players respect the heck out of DeSean, so when DeSean has good body language – he's talked to the team at least twice so far. He's going to be the captain this week in Tennessee. It's a big difference if you see a guy that you respect out there doing what he's supposed to do versus a guy that's out there moping around. And hats off to him, he's doing a good job."
Of course, the Bucs shouldn't expect Jackson to be "moping around," given his salary and importance to the offense. It's also interesting he will be a captain this week at Tennessee and you wonder if he will be voted a captain for the regular season.