Now 34 years old, DeSean Jackson has enjoyed his own share of a farewell tour over the last couple of seasons. From a pit stop in Tampa Bay to an attempt at rekindling old glory in Philadelphia, Jackson now finds himself in Hollywood looking to recapture his spotlight. With 17 snaps in two weeks, however, Jackson has found himself on the sideline, uninvolved and uninterested through the Rams’ first two wins of the season. But, with Matthew Stafford under center and Sean McVay at the helm, there’s plenty of targets to go around, and Jackson, a potential future Hall of Famer, deserves a sliver of the pie.
A one-dimensional wideout through the majority of his career, Jackson is known for one thing, and one thing only: speed. One of the premier deep threats the league has ever seen, from the onset of his career, Jackson has torched opposing secondaries with 32 touchdowns of 40 or more yards—that ranks him sixth all-time. Additionally, his 63.2 yard average on those touchdowns is the highest in NFL history.
“For me to be here on my stomping grounds in an area that I’m very familiar with, there’s not a better feeling, man,” Jackson said.
While his burst has slowly decreased over the years following his second-round selection out of Cal in 2008, Jackson understands he’s by no means the primary read in Stafford’s progressions, but he’s still got plenty of juice to get by opposing corners.
“I’m not worried about myself anymore. I’ve accomplished a lot of things—Pro Bowls, 10,000-plus yards, the accolades are there. At this point in my career, I’m about winning, man.”
With three Pro Bowl selections to his name, two of which came within his first three seasons as a pro, Jackson’s focus remains centered on winning a title, and what better place to do it than Los Angeles. With just seven career playoff games played,
“I look at it like almost when LeBron [James] went back to Cleveland and won a championship for Cleveland, Ohio,” Jackson said. “So, that’s what I’m here for, that’s all I’m really worried about.”
A look into the Rams’ offensive game plan finds Jackson quickly taking a backseat to pass-catchers Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, and versatile second-year speedster Van Jefferson, who’s enjoyed an optimal start to his NFL tenure. With multiple years working under McVay’s tutelage while the two were in Washington together, a quiet first two weeks shouldn’t be indicative of the overall snap count Jackson will enjoy as the Rams steamroll into the meat of their season, including a Week 3 meeting against the Buccaneers.
One of the most creative minds in all of football, coupling McVay’s puppeteering ability, Stafford’s willingness to stretch the field, and a Ferrari waiting to kick into gear in Jackson, It wouldn’t surprise me if the aging thoroughbred nine-ball extraordinaire finds himself having his number called more than a few times in the coming weeks.
While the Rams entertain an embarrassment of riches out wide with the aforementioned sure-handed duo of Kupp and Woods, the talent they overflow within the intermediate areas occasionally allows secondaries to bracket Los Angeles, which ultimately limits the Rams’ effectiveness both inside and outside the hashes. And while it’s a rare occurrence, as McVay’s offense constantly evolves, the skill set of Jackson, a wiry wideout who touts the ability to create both down the field and on designated touches at or behind the LOS, presents a dynamic I expect McVay to deploy more often as the Rams enter a three-week stretch of NFC powerhouse opponents.