In his first time talking publicly since the NFL trade deadline, Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson wouldn't confirm or deny that he went to general manager Jason Licht asking to be traded. But he did indicate that he hasn't been as happy lately.
"Hey, man, whatever them conversations were, that was between us," Jackson said, flashing a smile. "It's over and done with now. We're moving forward. We've got eight games left to continue to do our best to try and get in the playoffs and try to go on a run here."
The Bucs are 3-5 heading into Sunday's game against the Washington Redskins -- Jackson's former team.
"I can't say I'm as happy. I'm not winning. I'm not being as productive. For me to sit here and say I'm happy with that, I'd be lying to you," Jackson said. "It's a competitive sport, a competitive nature, we're all professionals. Everyone gets paid to do a job and do it at [our] best. I don't feel we've been doing that the past couple of games, at our best, with what we're capable of doing with the talent in this locker room."
Bucs coach Dirk Koetter grew testy when asked about Jackson wanting a trade.
"[DeSean] didn't ask me. He didn't ask me about it. You're talking to me about stuff -- I don't even know what you're talking about," Koetter said, before acknowledging that he did have conversations with Licht about trading Jackson.
Jackson indicated on Twitter in recent days that he wasn't happy with his number of targets
"In my eyes, how I see it, is obviously not how the offensive coordinator or the coaches probably see it," Jackson said. "That can be a selfish question to answer, but I know what I'm capable of bringing to the team. I know what I can do as far as big plays and explosiveness, and I know what that does to other guys. It just sparks energy."
Koetter believes he and Jackson are in a place where Jackson can come to him with concerns.
"DeSean is extremely frustrated," Koetter said. "Every great player I've been around in my life is frustrated because they want the ball every play. So what."
Jackson opened the season leading the NFL with 275 receiving yards and three touchdowns in Weeks 1 and 2. In six games since, he has averaged 58.5 receiving yards per game, although that number was slightly skewed after a 112-yard performance against the Bears in Week 4.
Koetter couldn't identify specifically why Jackson's production has dropped in the last four games, but he pointed to the pass-catching corps of Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Adam Humphries, O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate, suggesting that he'd be stealing targets from them to accommodate Jackson.
In Weeks 1 and 2, Jackson was targeted on 26.5 percent of his routes run. In Weeks 3-9, he has been targeted 20.9 percent -- fourth on the team. It's not a quarterback thing either. Ryan Fitzpatrick has targeted Jackson on 22.8 percent of snaps this year; Jameis Winston targeted him on 20.7 percent of snaps.
Jackson's 32 snaps (48 percent) last week were fourth among Bucs receivers. He mustered two catches for 32 yards.
"The frustration is just knowing what's in this locker room, knowing the players we have, all across the board and knowing how talented it can be," Jackson said. "It did show early on. That's the frustration. Not being able to have the results the past three or four games, whatever that number is. That's been more the frustration with me. It's not individual."