Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Tanard Jackson adopts more serious demeanor

TAMPA — Bucs safety Tanard Jackson said having to sit through a season-opening four-game suspension served as a wake-up call, a "reality-setter," that has led him to the top of his game.

"It definitely helped me prioritize my life, what's most important," said Jackson, 24. "And my job, the game I love to play, is at the top of my list."

Jackson has two interceptions and a forced fumble in the past two games, delivering much-needed impact plays that the struggling defense has lacked throughout much of this season.

"Tanard had an immediate impact as soon as he got back," coach Raheem Morris said. "It was 'welcome back' with a hit, a 'welcome back' with an interception for a touchdown — you name it. He's made big plays, he's made big tackles. He's been the guy he was before he left and has come back and developed a little bit of a hunger.

"Some things work out for a reason. … I'm not sure if (the suspension) wasn't a good thing for Tanard Jackson."

Jackson had been a constant in the secondary since he was drafted out of Syracuse in the fourth round in 2007, becoming the first Tampa Bay defensive player to start 32 consecutive games to begin his career. His ability (and versatility as a former cornerback) made him one of the Bucs' best young players, and he expected to be one of the team leaders on defense this season.

That's why Jackson said he believes he let the team down when he was suspended by the NFL for the first quarter of the season after violating the league's substance-abuse policy. The games, and losses, were difficult to watch but helped him, he said, "not take anything for granted."

"When you're away from the team, away from everything, away from what you've been doing for years, your livelihood, the approach is now a little more serious," Jackson said.

Although Jackson worked out while on suspension, defensive coordinator Jim Bates said one of the toughest things for players to regain after missing time is their tackling ability. Bates pointed out that teams don't do full-speed tackling in practice, being conscious of potential injuries.

"I think Tanard really missed that as far as missing four weeks in a row of practice and getting out there and hitting people," Bates said. "But his breaking on the ball, his intelligence, his range, all of that, is coming back. He's made two interceptions, he's very valuable, and his tackling will improve to where we can get the complete game out of Tanard."

Jackson's big plays have come in key moments. Against Carolina, he forced a fumble near the Bucs goal line, resulting in a turnover. And midway through the fourth quarter, he intercepted a Jake Delhomme pass and returned it 26 yards for a tying touchdown.

Against the Patriots in London, Jackson picked off a Tom Brady pass in the end zone in the second quarter, snapping the quarterback's franchise record of 183 attempts without an interception. Jackson's two interceptions (in just three games) match his career high set in 2007.

"(Jackson) has been great," linebacker Barrett Ruud said. "He's just a natural football player. You can play him at corner, nickel, safety, wherever. He's just a guy who goes in and loves to play, and makes a lot of plays when he's out there."

Jackson said he feels like he's playing at a high level, but it rings hollow considering the team is 0-7.

"It's still about wins with me," he said. "If we can all make our individual plays, and all do that collectively, win our one-on-one battles, that's when I feel like we'll get this team to jell together, and pull together and get our first win."

Joe Smith can be reached at [email protected]

Bucs vs. Packers

1 p.m. Sunday, Raymond James Stadium, Tampa TV/radio: Ch. 13; 103.5-FM, 620-AM

Line: Packers by 91/2

Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Tanard Jackson adopts more serious demeanor 11/06/09 [Last modified: Friday, November 6, 2009 10:25pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Dirk Koetter to Bucs: Take your complaints to someone who can help


    TAMPA — It was just another day of aching bellies at One Save Face.

    Dirk Koetter: “All of our issues are self-inflicted right now.”
  2. Bucs journal: Few complaints about Jameis Winston's play


    TAMPA — It wasn't enough to pull out a win Sunday at Buffalo, but a week removed from a shoulder sprain, Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston threw for 384 yards and three touchdowns against the NFL's No. 2 pass defense.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Brent Grimes (24) signs autographs for fans before an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017.
  3. Lightning's Jon Cooper uses unusual tactic to create mismatches

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Tyler Johnson is about to swing his left leg over the boards for his next shift alongside linemate Alex Killorn and … who else?

    Stamkos? Kucherov? Point?

    Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper argues the called as his team gets a faceoff violation, leading to penalty and #Caps PP goal, during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday evening (10/09/17).DIRK SHADD   |   Times
  4. A buzz-worthy look at the Astros-Dodgers World Series matchup

    The Heater

    Houston Astros' Yuli Gurriel is congratulated by Jose Altuve after scoring during the fifth inning of Game 7 of baseball's American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) TXMG170
  5. Florida, FSU try to ignore death threats, angry fans


    GAINESVILLE — Frustration over uncharacteristically down seasons at Florida and Florida State has started to spill over from message boards and start crossing real-world lines.

    Fans watch the Florida Gators game against Texas A&M, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, in Gainesville, Fla. At the half, Florida was up 10 to 3.