Jackson ranks second in the NFL in receiving yards (317) and leads the AFC in yards-per-catch amongst players with at least 10 receptions (19.8). The reason for his gaudy stats is simple: there are no glaring holes in Jackson's game.
Jackson's ability to catch the deep ball has been well documented. This week's opponent knows all about it, as during last season's Divisional Round playoffs Jackson gave the Chargers a 7-0 lead when he beat Pittsburgh's Ike Taylor on a deep post-route to haul in a 41-yard touchdown.
WR Vincent Jackson
Jacob de Golish/Getty
Additionally, Jackson can wreak havoc over the middle. He's learned from Antonio Gates to use his body to shield defenders, allowing him to haul in receptions in traffic. Opponents have taken notice of Jackson's over-the-middle skill-set, which has opened things up for others players. Against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 2, Jackson ran a clear-out over the middle that freed Darren Sproles to score untouched on an 81-yard catch-and-run.
Of course, when Jackson is assisting San Diego's running backs, it's usually not as a decoy. He is one of the game's best run-blocking receivers and is not afraid to crack down on linebackers or safeties. He was deployed earlier in his career as a blocking specialist, so he had to shine in this aspect of the game if he wanted to be on the field.
The only problem with Jackson's all-around success is that he's becoming more expensive with each passing week. He is in the final year of his rookie contract and will get a huge raise after the season, if not sooner. The fact that he's been arrested twice on DUI charges will cost him some negotiating leverage, but he's still seen as a high-character players and a definite offseason priority.
The Chargers have several other prominent players in contract years -- Marcus McNeill, Shawne Merriman, Darren Sproles, Malcom Floyd, etc. -- but none is as valuable to the team's success as Jackson.
What do you expect from Jackson from here on out? Discuss in the message boards.
Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a long-time contributor to the Scout.com network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 15 years and covered the team since 2003. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter.