TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston and wide receiver DeSean Jackson are making good on their promise to attack their offseason program this year and improve their chemistry heading in 2018.
Jackson posted a photo on Instagram of himself and Winston working out together Tuesday at Florida State. He captioned the photo, "Bac at it wit da young fella [Winston]. Year 2 wit bra gonna b sumthin different."
Last week, Winston responded to a story in the Tampa Bay Times that questioned what the Bucs should do with Jackson after an underwhelming 2017, saying, "We got this! I personally will make sure we show how valuable DeSean Jackson is to our team and [the] NFL."
— Jameis Winston (@Jaboowins) April 6, 2018
The Bucs signed Jackson last offseason to a three-year deal worth up to $35 million with $20 million guaranteed. But in Year 1, the two struggled, particularly on the deep ball, which has been Jackson's forte since he first got into the league.
The feeling inside One Buc Place has been that Winston's shoulder injury compromised his velocity and accuracy downfield, and that Jackson was winning his routes. They haven't noticed any drop-off in his speed, either.
"We did not get the production out of DeSean. And when I say 'production out of DeSean,' when you go back and look at the tape, we have a tape of just plays where we didn't hit DeSean," Koetter said. "DeSean was where he was supposed to be. He was either behind the defense, in between the corner and the safety, or he was in position to make explosive plays and we didn't get the ball to him. So that's on myself; it's on Jameis to do better."
The intent was there. Jackson had 15.82 air yards per target last season, the highest of any player in the league. But Winston completed just 16 of 53 (30.2 percent) of his passes of 20 or more air yards downfield -- 23rd in the league. Jackson caught five passes thrown for 20-plus yards last year (20 percent of the attempts). In 2016 with Kirk Cousins and the Redskins, Jackson caught 16 of those passes (50 percent of the attempts).
"I think DeSean and Jameis have both said that they need to spend more time working together, and I think they're addressing that," coach Dirk Koetter said. "When Jameis got cleared to throw this offseason, I think they started working on that. But that is definitely something that, when we get back, our chance to take control of that as coaches, that's something that we'll be working on."
In addition to outside practices, Jackson needs to be around for more OTAs. Jackson was noticeably absent for a few of them last year. While attendance isn't mandatory for those practices, the players Winston has had the most success with -- wide receiver Mike Evans, tight end Cameron Brate and wide receiver Adam Humphries -- have each had close to 100 percent participation in OTAs and have devoted extra time to working with Winston the past three years.