Jackson stepping up as leader in Bucs locker room
Roy Cummings, Florida Football Insiders, published 13 November 2017

A new leader might have emerged inside the Buccaneers locker room in the wake of their ugly 15-10 slump-buster of a victory over the Jets at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday.

DeSean Jackson, who is starting to make some noise on the field as well, spoke up and apparently made an impassioned speech in which he begged his teammates not give up on the season. “Essentially (what he said was) we just got to keep going, we got to keep grinding,’’ quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said. “(He said) this is what we’ve been waiting for the last few weeks and it’s been loss after loss after loss and trying not to get down but hopefully this is the spark that’s going to get us going.’’

Jackson added that the grind only gets more difficult from here on, but he noted that the rewards can still be great as long as every is willing to work harder at practice and do more film study both at the team facility and away from it.

That’s quite a message and the fact it came from a veteran who isn’t known for making a lot of speeches isn’t the only reason it has a chance to really sink in, especially among some of the Bucs younger players.

It’s even more important that this speech came from a player who has not been utilized anywhere near as much as the Bucs intended him to, but has proved to be a leader in another way by ignoring his stats and working at just the level he’s now asking others to work at.

By the way, that work that Jackson has been putting in is now starting to pay off. The Bucs still aren’t using him as much as they need or want to, but we wrote here earlier this week that Jackson was beginning to play at the level the Bucs have always hoped he would, and that continued Sunday.

Though the numbers won’t please his fantasy owners, Jackson led the Bucs with six catches for 82 yards and has now caught 11 passes for 125 yards the past three games. Those numbers, though, belie just how well Jackson has been playing.

“That guy, for the last three games, he has been everything we asked for and more as a free agent signing,’’ Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said. “That guy has had an excellent attitude; he’s practiced hard. Now, he has gotten rewarded, I know that. But I notice stuff like that and those are some of those little things that helps your football team.’’

And giving impassioned speeches like the one he game after the game is another.