There was the Kirk Cousins contract watch, the Junior Galette fiasco and the around-the-clock attention paid to big-money cornerback Josh Norman. Because of all the chatter surrounding those names, one guy who is usually at the center of the discussion, wide receiver DeSean Jackson, has somewhat faded into the background.
However, when the 2016 season begins, Jackson will become a weekly highlight machine again — starting this week; see, above --- and there are plenty of reasons why you should expect a huge year out of him. Here are four such reasons:
1. It’s his contract year
While Jackson has said his impending free agency isn’t something he’s worried about, it has to be. He will turn 30 in December, which means he may get only one more large payday in his career. And those big numbers in his bank account will come only if he puts up big numbers on the field.
2. He’ll be hungry to bounce back from a not particularly good 2015
An injury derailed him at the start of last season and limited him to 10 contests. When all was said and done, No. 11 had hauled in only 30 passes and was targeted only 49 times. Sure, he’s never been a nine-catch-per-week type of player, but both of those stats were far below his career norms.
Most professional athletes love proving their doubters wrong, and Jackson is certainly one of them. Combine the fact that he’ll be looking to cash in with the fact that some are starting to wonder if he’s beginning to slow down, and the Washington Redskins should have a laser-focused deep threat on their side.
3. He's been a beast this offseason
There have been a bunch of videos and Vines showing Jackson winning one-on-one matchups against Norman in practice. That has prompted people to question whether Norman is going to be a bust. Forget that totally ignorant idea and look at the other side of things: Jackson is getting the upper hand on one of the league’s top corners fairly often.
Overall, reports from Richmond and Ashburn consistently state that the speedster has been looking sharp, which is a far cry from last offseason when he wasn’t even healthy enough to practice much. His preparation should allow him to hit the ground running come Week 1.
4. He’s got a supremely talented cast around him
With Cousins under center and Pierre Garcon, Jordan Reed, Jamison Crowder, Vernon Davis and (eventually) Josh Doctson competing for targets along with Jackson, Washington’s offense is going to be scary good. And that depth is something that will help each weapon thrive on their own.
The argument can be made that this is the most lethal group Jackson has ever played with. Sure, defenses can key in on him on some plays, but on others, they will have to double up on Reed or worry about the side of the field where Garçon and Crowder are lined up together or shade toward Doctson. And when those things happens, DeSean will surely take advantage.
Follow Peter Hailey on Twitter at @barelyin.
To get instant Redskins notifications, download the NEW Scout mobile app for iOS HERE!
Be sure to check out the ever-growing benefit package of being a Breaking Burgundy Insider! Check it out HERE.null