TAMPA — Bucs receiver DeSean Jackson, speaking during an open locker room media session for the first time since reports late late month that he asked to be dealt before the trade deadline, didn't rebuff the notion.
"Whatever them conversations were, they were between us," Jackson said when asked if he spoke to general manager Jason Licht to request a trade. "It's over and done with now, and I'm looking forward. We've got eight games left to continue to try our best to get in the playoffs and win here."
Jackson opened the season with three 100-yard receiving games in the Bucs' first four games, all of them with Ryan Fitzpatrick as the team's starting quarterback. But since then, he's averaged just 50 receiving yards over the past four games, three of them Tampa Bay losses.
Now, the Bucs are 3-5 as the season heads to its midpoint Sunday against Washington. The team's recent slide — five losses in six games — correlates with Jackson's diminished success.
Jackson said he's not frustrated with a lesser role, but he's frustrated that the Bucs haven't met their own expectations.
"I don't see it as frustration. It's just knowing what's in this locker room, knowing the players we have all across the board, and knowing how talented it can be," Jackson said. "It did show early on. That's the frustration. So not being able to have the results the past three or four games, whatever the number is, that's been more of the frustration for me.
"It's not individual, it's more accomplishing what we all want to accomplish," he added. "It's winning football games and being in the games and not shooting ourselves in the foot and getting behind. I think we're all putting it on ourselves and we're not playing complementary football.
"We need to play complementary football — offense, defense and special teams. That's what drives my frustrations, because I know what we're capable of doing. I know the players we have in this locker room, so it's really about getting the opportunities and making the most out of them."
The Bucs have had to come back from early deficits in five of their past six games, and their minus-15 turnover margin is the worst in the NFL. Tampa Bay's defense has allowed 34.4 points a game, which is also last in the league.
"This business is drawn off of wins and losses," Jackson said. "The more we win the longer, we'll be here. The less we win, the faster we'll be out. We've got to figure that out. if it's important for people to be in this locker room and continue to have a job in the NFL, you've got to win. That's what this league is based off of. As long as we can win, we'll all be here."
Contact Eduardo A. Encina at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @EddieInTheYard.