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Redskins say DeSean Jackson looked faster in practice, anticipate big game

The Redskins expect to see receiver DeSean Jackson running full speed against the Saints on Sunday. Winslow Townson/AP Images for Panini

ASHBURN, Va. -- The Washington Redskins saw what they needed to from receiver DeSean Jackson this week. And they’re hoping it translates into a big game Sunday.

After missing six games, Jackson returned last week vs. New England, but only managed three catches for 15 yards and did not show the same downfield burst.

Jackson had been sidelined with a hamstring injury.

Redskins coach Jay Gruden said he was "very encouraged" by what he saw from Jackson in practice.

"When you have a chance to put back-to-back-to-back practices together after being out so long, it just makes him stronger," Gruden said. "It makes him feel better mentally to where he can let it go. We saw this week, he really let a few go, running fast like we know he can do. The big thing is to get his confidence back and his speed and ability to stretch and push it. I feel good about the progress that he’s made."

The Redskins’ receivers have just one catch for 40 or more yards this season after recording 17 a year ago (13 by Jackson). The Saints have allowed 11 pass plays for 40 yards or more, so the chance for big plays is available. It helps that Jackson will be healthier than last week. He struggled to get free against cornerback Malcolm Bulter on the one deep pass thrown his way.

"It was good to get out there and get his live first-game action," Redskins offensive coordinator Sean McVay said. "He feels comfortable to open up his stride, realizing his hamstring is ready to go. He’s had a good week and he’s been full speed, so we’re expecting big things Sunday."