Bucs receiver DeSean Jackson can't explain why he has not connected more with quarterback Jameis Winston this season but says it's not for a lack of practice time together.
Jackson, who signed a three-year, $30.5-million contract in March, has been targeted 20 times in three games, catching nine passes for 143 yards and one touchdown. Winston has missed him on deeps balls at least once each game, including one that resulted in an interception at Minnesota.
What's the reason for the lack of chemistry between Winston and Jackson?
"I wish I had the answer for you,'' Jackson said Tuesday. "We're professionals. We're NFL players. We get paid to do a job. We need to go out there and execute the plan….It's only been three games. I hope sooner than later we can connect.
"I feel like me being a professional in this league, 10 years in, I've been through a lot in my career. But I'm not going to (jump) ship. I'm going to stay on point, stay on plan and I guess eventually it will come together. I've just got to continue to go out there and keep beating, beating away and doing things a little bit better.''
While Winston and Jackson have had trouble connecting, the Bucs quarterback put most of the responsibility on himself.
"I think I just got to get on track with him,'' Winston said. "I have to play better in all respects. He's doing what he does, getting open. But again, it's the third game. I don't want to talk about, "I got to do this, I have to get DJac the ball.' It's obvious I've got to get him the ball. He's going to make this team better. But at the same time, he's happier with winning than anything else.''
Perhaps because of his familiarity with his other receivers, Winston has had no trouble hooking up with Mike Evans, who has been targeted 32 times already this season. Evans has 19 receptions for 227 yards and two touchdowns. Even slot receiver Adam Humphries has as many targets as Jackson (20), catching 14 passes for 156 yards.
Jackson said he had hoped the synergy with Winston would be better at this point in the season.
"We all wished it would, yeah,'' Jackson said. "Everybody planned it to be the perfect situation and we were asked to be that but he never really played with a guy like me. I'm just going to keep on doing everything I can to help him.''
Winston said Jackson has a flair for the spotlight and Thursday night's nationally televised game against the Super Bowl champion Patriots would be a good time for him to break out.