TAMPA — DeSean Jackson and Jameis Winston were finally on the same page.
For the first day of the offseason workout program, anyway.
Jackson, 31, is coming off one of the worst seasons of his 10-year career with 50 catches for only 668 yards and three touchdowns. For that, the Bucs paid him $12.5 million.
"It was important to show face and really kind of set a standard,'' Jackson said Monday.
Winston, 24, predicted much better things in their second season together.
"I think it's going to be an exciting year for (DeSean),'' Winston said. "I think me and him have had a bunch of conversations. We got a chance to spend some time together this offseason, so we're excited. He's happy, I'm happy."
What about tomorrow? What about the OTA's? A year ago, Jackson made about one-third of the offseason practices. His routine, since entering the NFL, is to train on the track near his home in Los Angeles with long-time speed coach, Gary Cablayan.
"I talked to Dirk (Koetter), I talked to my teammates and I have a routine that I usually go about training,'' Jackson said. "It's like training a Ferrari or a Bentley or whatever you want to call it. You know, I've had a successful rate on keeping my speed being 11 years in and still being able to run fast. So, I still want to be able to get back to California to do that.
"Perception is reality so as long as I'm able to get here and tell them what's going on and not be a 'no-show' and just call in over the phone. I wanted to be here and be face and show."
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Wasn't this supposed to be a long-distance relationship anyway? Jackson going deep (well, maybe not all the way to California) and Winston throwing the ball as far as he can. In fact, already they are getting closer, which may make it easier to complete balls further downfield.
Last week, Winston spent two days throwing footballs at Jackson in Tallahassee.
"I was able to get out and check out their facility at Florida State,'' Jackson said. "I grew up a Florida State fan, so it was pretty cool to go check that out as well. So, it was definitely a nice college town."
(Winston to Jackson: Here's the Heisman Trophy I won. Here's the national championship I won).
This all makes for a great photo op in March, but let's see if they can co-exist during the ups and downs of a 16-game regular season.
Koetter recently said he put together a tape of all the times that Jackson did his job. Time and time again, Jackson won his route, got separation or behind the defense. The football didn't find him.
"As far as my job, being a professional, all you can do is worry about yourself,'' Jackson said. "I'm sure everybody could do their job better. That's being human. I feel I probably could have done some things better too.
"But on the overall sheet, I think I did a good job of going out and keeping my cool, not blowing a fuse from my early days when people probably said, 'He's a cancer,' and things like that. So, I've learned a lot. But it's definitely frustrating if you feel like you're a guy in this league and you make big plays and you can't get those big plays.''
There were questions about his commitment last season, especially when the losing started.
Did Jackson always practice hard? Did he set an example for younger players? Did he fight back from an ankle injury to play against Carolina on Christmas Eve? How about for season finale against New Orleans?
One guy who did play hurt in those games was rookie Chris Godwin. Starting for Jackson, he combined to catch 10 passes for 209 yards and the game-winning TD against the Saints.
The Bucs really don't have many options with Jackson. Even if they were inclined to move on, they face a $7.5-million hit on their salary cap. Only about $1 million would likely be offset by the team that would sign him.
Winston and Koetter and general manager Jason Licht all want a mulligan with Jackson. The Bucs were 3-7 in one score games last season, and one or two more plays a game by Jackson could be the difference in the outcome.
Jackson says he will have a simple approach heading into 2018.
"Just have fun, just go up there and light up the scoreboard and fire the cannons," Jackson said. "That's what we're here for."