In Sunday’s win over the Jets, it looked like the Buccaneers were finally figuring out that DeSean Jackson is more than just a deep threat. Throughout the season, they have been trying to force deep throws to Jackson, and it was obvious that Jameis Winston was struggling with that. This past week, with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center, Tampa Bay mixed it up a bit. There were still a few deep balls, but there were also routes designed to get Jackson in space. The veteran can make plays with his legs, which is something the team might now be realizing.
In the win, Jackson caught six passes for 82 yards. His targets increased due to Mike Evans‘ suspension, but Tampa Bay would be wise to keep him involved this week against a poor Miami defense. Those short routes, sometimes even screens, should be a huge part of the plan for Jackson. The deep ball still needs to be in the mix, but those need to come at the right time. If Fitzpatrick is hitting D-Jax on the short passes consistently, then goes deep on a play action, it should be there. It took a while, but the Bucs might be figuring out how to use one of their newest weapons in a methodical way.
The Miami defense might be what Tampa Bay’s offense needs to get going. The Dolphins just allowed 548 yards and 45 points to the Panthers on Monday night. The Bucs will need to be balanced in their attack. But if they can run the ball, it will set up a wide range of possibilities in the passing game. Jackson is one of those guys that can make a big play to swing the game in his team’s favor.