DeSean Jackson off to speedier start
Rick Stroud, Tampa Bay Times, published 9 September 2018

It took just one deep pass to DeSean Jackson Sunday to know it was a new year. Jackson's 58-yard touchdown reception served notice that the Bucs speedy receiver was not getting off to another slow start the way he did last season. Jackson finished with five catches for 146 yards and two touchdowns, including a 36-yarder in the fourth quarter that essentially put the game out of reach in Sunday's 48-40 win over the Saints.

"He's a special player,'' quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said. "He's been special everywhere he's been. I think he's really grown in terms of his fit in this offense. I think on the other hand we've grown in terms of how it exactly is going to fit. You see that sometimes. You bring a guy in and it's not exactly plug and play and perfect. But we worked really hard in OTAs and training camp doing the right things and getting on the same page. He's been great at practice and he's been great out there in the huddle.''

Jackson caught another pass for 35 yards in the fourth quarter but suffered a concussion on the play. More troublesome than that may be a shoulder injury he suffered on the first touchdown. He was unavailable after the game. Not to be outdone, receiver Mike Evans led the Bucs with seven catches for 147 yards, including a 50-yard touchdown reception.

But for Jackson, who had only 50 catches last season after signing a three-year, $33.5-million contract as a free agent, Sunday was a good sign. "Little faster today,'' coach Dirk Koetter said of Jackson's start to 2018. "First play, he caught the ball out there in the flat and then two over the top. That's what (general manager) Jason (Licht) brought him for.''