Receiver DeSean Jackson stopped short of saying he regretted his decision to sign a three-year, $33.5-million contract as a free agent with the Bucs last March. But he certainly is disappointed in his lack of chemistry with quarterback Jameis Winston and plans to work on it.
Jackson also believes Winston needs to get back to having fun and "playing ball in the yard.''
Appearing on ESPN's First Take Wednesday, Jackson talked about the Bucs' disappointing 5-11 record and his lack of production. Jackson caught 50 passes for 668 yards and three touchdowns in 14 games.
"Honestly, I'm with ya, man. I feel like anytime I'm on that field, I feel like I'm capable of doing some dangerous things,'' Jackson said. "It's just a lot of things that go into that throughout the week. Game plan. Injuries come up. As far as me, I feel like I'm a point in my career with 10 years in, I still feel like I have a lot of football left in me and I can still play at a high level. I just wasn't able to get the opportunity.
"We missed a couple times down the field. Like I said, injuries set in. But just the overall connection, I still think there's a lot out there that I have to offer. I still want to show the league and the whole world what I'm able to do. Like I said, last year was tough on me. Very frustrating. But my take on it, I feel like I can go out there and continue to work and be a mentor and help. Just leadership as far as the success that I've had and what I've been through in my career. I'd say last year, obviously was tough. But we're still building. We're going to build our chemistry. We're going to do everything we can…to get better.''
Jackson indicated he believed Winston may have tried to please too many people and got away from the style of play that made him a national champion and Heisman Trophy winner at Florida State.
"I think he needs to continue to be what he was that made him be Jameis Winston,'' Jackson said. "As far as coming from Florida State, winning the national championship. I actually talked to him at the end of the season. I've got experience with the quarterbacks I've played with in the past. I think he has to come in there, which he is already doing and just being professional, and just go back to the steps when I was a young kid or I was in high school and just have fun with it. You try to impress and say, "Hey, I want to do this,' and show them 'I can do this or show them I can do this or that.' But you've got to kind of get away from that and just going back to playing ball in the yard. How we were playing when we were young. That's what I tell him. You've got to back to getting comfortable and being Jameis Winston who we all know he can be. The past two years, he had 4,000 yards passing so I just stressed onto him, everything, all the intangibles he has everything.
"I've seen him play. I've seen him on the practice field, he has the leadership. He has everything to be their guy. It's just going back, have fun and not trying to impress the world. Just be yourself.''