Bucs Vincent Jackson: 'I still feel I'm playing at a very high level'
Embattled Bucs receiver Vincent Jackson has a message for anyone who believes that at age 33 and in his 12th NFL season, he is slowing down:
“Come out and watch practice,'' Jackson said Thursday. "What you see on Sunday sometimes doesn’t always translate to what’s reality, you know what I mean? I feel great. I still feel like I’m playing at a very high level. Our coaches have all the confidence in me, obviously, my teammates do as well. So for me, it’s just continue to do my job. I don’t have to try and do too much or press or anything extraordinary. I trust my training, I know I can make plays and when those opportunities come – I hope more come my way – but I’m just going to continue to do my job.''
Jackson has been targeted 16 times this season and has only six catches for 62 yards. He caught two passes for 18 yards in the Bucs 31-24 win at Atlanta Sept. 11 and ran the wrong route, resulting in an interception. In Sunday's 40-7 loss at Arizona, Jackson caught four passes for 44 yards.
Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said Wednesday that Winston and Jackson need to get on the same page or 'the elements have to change,' hinting at a lineup switch.
“Well, I guess I would just say that I have seen in my career where sometimes it can drift in and out and the smallest of things can get it off,'' Koetter said. "If it was easy to just go in there and snap our fingers and fix it, trust me, we would have done it. Sometimes we don’t even know how it got off because it hasn’t always been that way. Has it been that way a little bit lately? Yes. We’ve got to figure out a way to fix it. I don’t know exactly what the reason is. We can talk about it, we can identify it, we can look at it on tape, we can go out there and try and correct it on the field – eventually it has to click or the elements have to change. Those are your options.”
Jackson also said he was surprised the passing combination with Winston hasn't clicked this season, especially since they seem to connect in practice.
“It’s tough. I mean, as much time as we put in. We’ve been going at this since April,'' Jackson said. "We understand the league, you know what I mean. On Sunday, you might miss a few here or there. We’re working at it. Jameis has all the confidence, getting the ball around and getting everyone involved, we’re going to make sure we get everything straightened out.''
Jackson also bristled at the suggestion by offensive coordinator/receivers coach Todd Monken that Jackson played 'harder,' in Week 2 than he did in Week 1.
“I play hard every week. I don’t know what he meant by that,'' Jackson said. "But each and every week I go out there and I’m laying it all out for the team. I’ve always played that way. You can go back and check out all my film from my entire career. I play hard.
"Our chemistry is fine. Our relationship is fine. We’ve got to hit them on Sundays and that’s just a matter of execution, whether it starts with protection and Jameis being able to sit in the pocket and seeing the same things that I’m seeing or that the other receivers are seeing as far as the defense’s leverage and things like that and giving us an opportunity to catch the ball and securing it, finishing it.''