Wide receiver DeSean Jackson continues to have a strong preseason as he aims to rebound from an injury-shortened 2015 season.
Jackson won’t make any bold predictions about the kind of season he will have as he enters the final year of his contract. But he admittedly draws a lot of motivation from last season and reported to training camp determined to avoid a repeat of an injury-plagued August last season. That carried over into the regular season, where Jackson pulled a hamstring in the season opener and then missed the next seven games.
“I’m just taking the necessary steps to get myself ready for a long season,” Jackson said. “I didn’t get to play a full year, so I’m trying the best I can so I know I’m in the best shape I can be. But you can’t predict how a season is going to go regardless of how big a camp or preseason you have.”
Jackson played only sparingly in Washington’s preseason opener at Atlanta (recording one catch for five yards on one target), and coaches gave him the night off in last Friday’s game against the Jets.
But he has continued to look good in practice, proving he hasn’t lost a step at the age of 29. He’s winning one-on-one matchups with talented cornerbacks Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland, while also displaying improved effectiveness on shorter routes.
The 5-foot-10, 175-pound Jackson added six pounds of muscle during the offseason in hopes of improving his physicality. Jackson said that he feels good, and just as fast, at the heavier weight, and hopes that it leads to greater versatility.
Last season, Jackson played in a career-low nine games and recorded just 30 catches for 528 yards (also both career lows) and four touchdowns. The 2015 season also represented only the second time in Jackson’s eight-year career that he hadn’t recorded at least 900 receiving yards. But Jackson, who topped the thousand-yard mark in four of those seasons, feels as good as he ever has, and although he won’t say it, seems primed for a big campaign.
“I feel real good,” he said. “Stronger, still fast. We’ll see.”