Kirk Cousins: 'When he wants to be elite, he's elite'

DeSean Jackson rocked training camp and the preseason. Based on what his QB witnessed, there's more to come.

ASHBURN -- Only the haters would deny the DeSean Jackson we've seen throughout the summer and leading up to the 2016 NFL season looks primed for a monster campaign. The kind Pro Bowl voters and lyric-writing rappers notice. 

Only the blind would pretend that's always been the version of Jackson since he arrived with the Washington Redskins in 2014. Last season's injury-plagued campaign, attributed perhaps to less focused work during the offseason, set the receiver up for more critiques entering the final year of his contract.

Whatever the motivation, Jackson is balling. It's noticeable and not just by those holding reporter's notebooks and cameras. 

"When he wants to be elite, he's elite. He's the real deal," quarterback Kirk Cousins said after Wednesday's practice in response to a question about Jackson's consistently explosive practice performances.

We know the 5-foot-10, 175-pound Jackson is among the NFL's top deep threats. It's the other parts of his route-running that stood out all summer. Wednesday was no exception.

"On every single route in the playbook, in the route tree, he can run every single one of them," Cousins said. "He plays bigger than his size. He's made some catches here and in the preseason that show that he plays much bigger than his size.

"I'm just continuing to build more and more confidence in him and really believe when he wants to be elite, it's as good as anybody out there."

Defensive backs have a choice and either way it's not good. Shade Jackson for the long pass and he'll turn short, catch the ball in space and the turn on the jukes. Move up tighter and it's long ball time. In theory this should always be the secondary's dilemma every play. The reality is, it probably wasn't. With this version of DeSean Jackson, it's game on. The quarterback knows it. The media should know it. The defensive backs, if they're not already in knee-knocking mode, will soon.

Ben Standig is the Publisher of Breaking Burgundy and the Huddle Report's 2012 NFL Mock Draft champion. You can find him on Twitter @benstandig and on Google+.

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