ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — DeSean Jackson is keeping quiet and letting his play do the talking at Washington Redskins minicamp.
After skipping all but two voluntary workouts, the wide receiver made an impression with some big catches during the first day of mandatory minicamp Tuesday. Quarterback Kirk Cousins hooked up with Jackson on a long pass and celebrated by running down the sideline yelling at reporters, “You all love that!”
Cousins definitely loves having Jackson around.
“He’s a great player,” Cousins said. “He’s a difference-maker. We’ve told him that. He knows that. When he’s here, our offense is able to function at its highest.”
The Redskins’ offense hasn’t been able to function at its highest during any workout because of missing parts. Jackson missed 10 of 12 optional practices, and injuries have kept rookie receiver Josh Doctson and tight end Jordan Reed on the sideline.
Coach Jay Gruden said the team is being cautious with Doctson’s Achilles tendinitis and Reed’s ankle injury. Gruden said Reed turned his ankle last week during organized team activities and would not practice Wednesday.
Jackson is expected to be back out there and make an impact just as he did Tuesday. Coming off the field after practice, Jackson brushed aside multiple reporters’ and a team employee’s requests to speak.
Jack said he has nothing to say, “Closed mouth. Better that way.”
After another request, Jackson responded: “No means no,” and he continued walking toward the locker room.
Gruden said last week it’s not ideal for Jackson to be the only healthy player absent from workouts but dismissed it as a concern.
“We’d love for them all to be here, but I trust the fact that if he’s not here, he’s getting his body ready to go and he proved that the last couple days,” Gruden said June 8. “He looked as fast as he’s ever been, had great stamina, was in good shape, had great knowledge of the game and was a lot stronger than I’ve seen him before.
“DeSean is going to be just fine.”
Jackson missed six games last season after injuring his hamstring in the opener. After returning Nov. 8, he made 30 catches for 528 yards and four touchdowns.
Offensive coordinator Sean McVay said Jackson looked “very healthy.”
“You can see DeSean is a really smart player, so he’s able to pick up where he left off,” McVay said. “He’s a guy that has natural awareness and instincts. Obviously the big-play ability gives us a different dynamic and dimension offensively.”
That was on display at the start of minicamp, and Jackson’s presence is something cornerback Josh Norman said will make the offense and defense better. The Redskins will get a full taste of that when they open training camp July 28 in Richmond, Virginia, and have high expectations.
“He’s been an excellent receiver in the NFL for a long time and very productive,” Gruden said. “He’s a big-time problem for defenses, he’s a big-time weapon for an offense, so any time he’s out on the field he’s very helpful to our team. We’re going to continue to use him, and we’re glad he’s healthy.”
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