Everyone knows of veteran wide receiver DeSean Jackson's long-ball capabilities. He's been a notorious deep threat for years in this league. But what you may not pay as much attention to, or maybe take for granted, is his consistency on shorter, more conservative throws.
That's exactly what he's put on display during the first few days of his 11th NFL training camp. Making the connection with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has been imperative, knowing that Fitzpatrick will be the one throwing the ball for the first three games of the season. Whether it's predetermined plays while still in shorts or shells, or maybe Fitzpatrick's style of shorter, quicker throws, Jackson not only had the play of the day on Friday with a 60-yard reception downfield, but he's proven over and over again these past few days that he'll take the slant or out routes as well.
On Saturday, Fitzpatrick hit Jackson with a short throw in traffic and Jackson dove to make the grab. There have also been instances of Jackson taking a handoff in the backfield on an end-around to bring it outside and up the sideline. He has the speed and the agility to evade defenders, now it's about using it. In the offseason, fellow receiver Mike Evans said he wanted to work on his yards-after-catch and it would seem that Jackson is on that page as well.
The Buccaneers aren't wanting for receiving weapons. In addition to Jackson, the Bucs have receivers Mike Evans, Adam Humphries and Chris Godwin, as well as two very capable tight ends in Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard to which Tampa Bay incorporates more than most in the league. There are options for the quarterback to throw to and this year's training camp will be all about how to best utilize them. So while Jackson is thought to be the long ball guy with his speed, which is still blinding after 10 seasons in the league, don't underestimate his ability to incrementally move the chains.
Keep an eye on Jackson as training camp goes on, with his quickness – he's easy to miss sometimes.