ASHBURN — Opportunities have dried up recently for DeSean Jackson and the Redskins wide receiver wants to figure out why.
After catching 14 passes through the first three weeks of the season, including 240 yards and a touchdown, Jackson has been targeted just eight times the past two weeks and was invisible for much of Sunday’s win over the Baltimore Ravens.
“It’s true. I’m a wide receiver and I’ve got to go run my route and have to have an assist from my quarterback in order for me to do well,” Jackson said. “Hopefully that assist will come around and hopefully sooner or later.”
That was a brutally honest answer that referenced quarterback Kirk Cousins, who missed an open Jackson on a deep pass in the first half of the Ravens game. There were other instances where Jackson clearly felt he was open and Cousins missed him. That has been an issue for Cousins this season. Similar opportunities for big plays to Jamison Crowder and Pierre Garcon have also failed.
“I think there were times in the previous games where you say my reads took me to him, but we didn’t connect,” Cousins said. “That’s the plays where you say you want those back. I’ve said it quite a bit that he’s a talented player and we get him the football, good things happen.”
But Cousins also insisted he has to throw the ball where his reads take him on a given play. If the defense takes away Jackson with its coverage then Cousins has plenty of other options in Crowder, Garcon and tight ends Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis.
Even in a game where Jackson didn’t make a huge statistical impact – the Oct. 2 win over Cleveland – he still managed to cause havoc. Jackson drew two pass interference penalties for 80 yards total in that contest. So while he was technically targeted just one time and caught one pass, Jackson made his presence felt. That’s not always consolation for a player in a contract year, though.
“We have to try to get our playmakers the ball a little bit more, there’s no question about it. But, we can’t force the issue either,” Gruden said before cracking that “when I wake up at 5:30 in the morning or 4:00 and [Jackson] is standing outside my garage with a baseball bat, I think I better get him the ball. He deserves the ball a little bit more, but I’ll tell you what he does do, he dictates a lot of the coverage, which does open it up for other people.”
But Jackson is trying to put that uncertainty behind him – though he, too, joked about putting on a clown mask and standing outside Gruden’s house with a bat if he didn’t get the ball more. He even talked to team president Bruce Allen during practice on Wednesday, saying that he and Cousins would regain their chemistry soon.
“You want to get the ball, you want to score touchdowns, you want to catch long passes – things of that nature you want to do,” Jackson said. “I just want to earn whatever it is I’m getting paid. I want to earn it. I want to go out there and produce. I want to produce for my team. Hopeful to say I can do that this Sunday. Hopefully it’s not a one-catch or three-catch game. Hopefully I can go off and have 10 catches. We’ll see. Whatever the plan is as long as we get the win. The Eagles, that’s all that matters, I get.”
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