Bucs rookie Dexter Jackson, a second-round pick out of Appalachian State, made his debut as the primary kick returner Sunday with mixed results: five punts for 29 yards (5.8 average with a long of 14) and three kickoffs for 84 yards (28 average with a long of 33). After the game, he spoke with St. Petersburg Times sports writer Dave Scheiber:
How do you feel after your first regular-season game?
I feel good. It was just a matter of getting adjusted to the speed of things with it being a real game. I just had to trust in my blocks and try to do what I could to help the team.
Did it feel a lot different from playing in the preseason games?
Yeah, it really did. I had some jitterbugs in my stomach at first, and I was just really ready to get out there and get a return under my belt, and get familiar with the game.
Ike Hilliard wound up replacing you on a few punts. What was going on there?
It was just something coach (Jon Gruden) wanted to try. I took (four) in the first half, so he was just trying to get someone else in there and let me take a little break.
What did you feel best about?
I felt best about my kick return (of 24 yards) at the start of the second half. I kind of exploded up in the middle. I felt I got my vision better, and I feel I can carry that on to next week.
How about your punt return of 14 yards at the end of the game, setting up the offense near midfield with one more chance?
I felt like I could set the team up for a big drive and we could hopefully win the game. Right now I just want to try to get better each week. (Sunday) was a start. I can't be too hard on myself or too high on myself.