Giants killer still has the tools to be tormentor with Buccaneers
His number has changed, age too, but the weapon that has made DeSean Jackson a Giants killer has hardly disappeared.
“[Shoot], he’s fast,” cornerback B.W. Webb said Friday. “It doesn’t look like he let off the gas at all. He can take the top off a defense.”
The Giants will try to deny Jackson of another memorable Sunday at MetLife Stadium when the Buccaneers come to town. He has had plenty, from his time with the Eagles and Redskins, most notably a certain punt return for a touchdown as time ran out in 2010 that helped rob the Giants of a playoff spot.
While Giants fans can take solace in the fact Jackson is only sporadically returning punts these days, he is still a threat in the league’s No. 1 passing offense. The 31-year-old has caught 33 passes for 693 yards and four touchdowns. While he has expressed his frustration over a lack of targets this season, he has done plenty of damage with whatever touches he does get, leading the NFL with 21 yards per reception.
“We had a couple battles,” cornerback Janoris Jenkins said with a laugh, adding he thinks he has done well covering Jackson. “Fast, quick and great hands. Now he’s got a quarterback that can really throw it to him [Ryan Fitzpatrick] so we gotta be aware of it.”
Jackson has more games against the Giants than any other opponent and has the numbers to show for it. His 65 receptions and six touchdowns are the most he has against any team, with his 1,071 yards trailing only the 1,123 yards he has racked up against the Cowboys in one fewer game.
The veteran is well aware of how he is viewed in these parts.
“Giants fans still hate me to this day,” Jackson told the Tampa Bay Times. “I still get a lot of fans telling me how much they hate me for returning that punt on them. It’s probably something that will always be bitter to them, but I was just doing my job.”
Webb wasn’t around for Jackson’s heyday against the Giants, but it’s not much of a secret.
“I’ve heard, man,” Webb said of Jackson’s penchant for tormenting Big Blue. “I’ve definitely heard. I’ve seen it on TV. That’s tough. We’re definitely ready for those guys to come in. As a defense, we’re definitely looking forward to this challenge.”
Webb and Jenkins will be busy trying to contain Jackson and the Buccaneers’ No. 1 receiver, Mike Evans. Along with Chris Godwin and Adam Humphries, and tight ends O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate, Fitzpatrick has plenty of ways to exploit a defense.
“Two perimeter receivers who are extremely talented, Jackson and Evans, a great tandem of guys, really complement each other’s skill-sets,” defensive coordinator James Bettcher said. “One guy can take the top off and get on top of you, the other guy is a very aggressive, powerful, sure-handed big receiver.”
Webb said the Buccaneers have done a good job moving Jackson around and trying to hide him from defenses, making it a challenge to know where he is at all times.
Fitzpatrick, meanwhile, has thrown 40-plus passes in back-to-back weeks. It sets up a busy afternoon for the Giants secondary — Jenkins preferred to call it “perfect” — with plenty of opportunities coming their way.
“Any time you have a team like that, as DBs, we’re looking forward to the challenge,” Webb said. “It’s going to be fun. The ball’s going to be in the air. We’re going to have a chance to go out there and make plays.”
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