New Bucs safety J.J. Wilcox knows well the challenge a defense faces in containing Bucs receiver DeSean Jackson, as the two have squared off twice a year for the past four seasons as division rivals in the NFC East.
"Let me tell you something: I've played against DeSean for four years," Wilcox said after Saturday's practice. "He's a player. He's a baller. You've got to pick and choose which one: Do you want to give up the hitch, or do you want to give up the touchdown? I tell my DBs all the time, let's protect deep. We can live to play another day. We can live to play another down."
Wilcox, challenging Keith Tandy and Chris Conte for a starting safety job, said the constant threat of Jackson's speed will help the Bucs defensive backs now as they prepare for downfield threats throughout the season.
"I think these guys realize that DeSean is going to make our team and make our defense better," he said.
Wilcox had an interception in 7-on-7 drills Saturday and said he's striving for consistency as he adjusts to a new defense in Tampa.
"It was OK. Never really a good practice," he said. "I'm just trying to get better and learn my assignments. I'm up and down right now. I can't be that in the NFL. You have to be consistent and steady as you grow. I have a long way to go, but I think it's in the right direction."