The biggest disappointment for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season was their 5-11 finish.
On top of that, however, there was the frustration players such as wide receiver DeSean Jackson felt over the inability to consistently make the game-changing big plays he and the rest of the Bucs’ passing game were capable of producing.
‘Coming into this year, we put a lot of emphasis on getting our timing down pat’
Jackson expects that to change, beginning Sunday when the Bucs begin the season against the New Orleans Saints.
“Obviously, going back to last year it was very frustrating because in my career I’ve always been known to do the big plays and spectacular 50-, 60-plus(-yard) touchdowns and stuff like that,” he told Bruce Murray and Mark Dominik on the SiriusXM Blitz. “Last year just was tough. We had the opportunity. We just weren’t able to connect on them for whatever reason, but coming into this year, we put a lot of emphasis on getting our timing down pat, just letting those quarterbacks just see the speed that I have and just letting them know that you can throw to a spot and just trust that I’ll get there with my speed.
‘We’re going to have a good time’
“So we’ve been working a lot on it and we’ve been connecting. From last year to where we’re at this year, I think it’s night and day and we’ve put in the work and we did everything we could to set ourselves up for a long season this year, so Sunday will be the first game that everybody will be able to see. I don’t want to spill the beans, but we’re going to be taking some shots. It’s going to be something good. We’re going to have a good time.”
For the first three games of the season, they’ll be having it without quarterback Jameis Winston, who is serving a three-game suspension. Ryan Fitzpatrick will start in the meantime.
‘It’s good to have a guy like (Ryan) Fitzpatrick in there’
“At the end of the day, it’s an unfortunate situation Jameis had to go through what he went through,” Jackson said. “But I think (Coach) Dirk (Koetter) and the organization did a good job of handling that. Since we realized he was going to be getting suspended, Fitzpatrick took the majority of the reps, sprinkling in the little reps here and there with Jameis because we are expecting him back after the third week. But it’s just one of those things where it’s good to have a guy like Fitzpatrick in there where he’s played a lot of football and he knows what it takes, and I’m very confident that he’ll be able to come in there and just do what he can for us to just win games.
“At the end of the day, it’s a next-man-up league, we’re familiar with that. But Fitz is the guy and we’ve got to work with that and we’ve got to deal that and I think he’ll do a great job, but I think Jameis handled the situation the best we he could and moving forward, hopefully he comes back ready to go.”
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