At the conclusion of Sunday’s practice at One Buc Place, head coach Lovie Smith acknowledged that he has been remiss in not talking enough about wide receiver Vincent Jackson during his daily press conferences.[Michael Compton photo/Vincent Jackson]
Jackson, the Bucs’ No. 1 wide receiver, received plenty of praise from Smith on Sunday.
“I don’t know if I’ve really talked about Vincent yet up here, we kind of take him for granted because he’s just the ultimate pro, goes out each day and does his job,” Smith said. “He’s having a great camp, made a lot of big plays, he’s our [No.1] receiver and we’re going to get the ball to him. In order for us to have success, Vincent has to have a great year and he’s doing everything to get himself in position to do that. Great size, catches the ball well, good speed, he’ll block and there’s not a whole lot to dislike about him.”
Jackson, who spent seven seasons with the San Diego Chargers before signing with the Bucs as an unrestricted free agent in 2012, has averaged 1,304 receiving yards and 7.5 touchdowns in his first two years in Tampa. Jackson credits his connection with quarterback Josh McCown for the duo’s success in training camp.
“I think a lot of it just has to do with his savviness," Jackson said on Buccaners.com. "He’s a very smart guy. He understands space and location and separation on routes and the way the dimensions of a defense work. We spent a lot of time off the field [in the summer] away from this facility going to high schools and just spending some time talking through some things, running some basic routes and getting a feel for each other. I think that relationship is only going to continue to grow.”
The Bucs’ offense has been getting the best of the defense in recent practices. On Sunday, however, the defense shined in red zone drills. Despite touchdowns from rookie tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins and running back Mike James, defensive tackle Gerald McCoy made two key stops on running back Doug Martin at the line of scrimmage.
“You can definitely tell the defense is more aggressive and a little more physical, definitely at the goal line, than last year,” Martin said at JoeBucsFan.com. “But both sides of the ball are doing a better job of being physical out here.”
Whether it’s the offense or defense prevailing in drills, Smith said he looks for the positive.
“Bucs win every day is how I see it. There is a positive to look on and I like it when both have their time up top,” Smith said. “Once you get down into the red zone, speaking offensively, you have to get touchdowns. The ball is on the two-yard line, you’ve got to get a touchdown every time and for the defense to be able to hold them, it shifts momentum quite a bit. I saw a defense without a lot of life, pick it up.”
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