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Bucs WR DeSean Jackson asserting himself as a leader

DeSean Jackson, Bucs

Veteran wide receiver DeSean Jackson is about to enter his second season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but this year, he intends to play a bigger role on the team.

Jackson is taking it upon himself to be a leader on and off the field, according to Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter, while speaking with Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times.

“DeSean’s having an excellent camp,” Koetter said. “I think DeSean has really asserted himself not only as a veteran but as a leader. He’s tried to take on more of a (leadership) role, and I’m very pleased. We haven’t hit him as much as we should, but that was progress.”

Usually, it’s the starting quarterback who plays the role of the leader, but Jameis Winston hasn’t been that to his team. The signal-caller is suspended for the first three games of the upcoming regular season for a violation of the league’s policy on personal conduct, leaving Jackson with an additional burden to set examples to his teammates, especially to the younger ones.

Fortunately for Koetter, the Bucs respect Jackson, partly due to his seniority and experience, enough to fill in the role as the team’s leader.

“What he says, his body language,” Koetter said. “DeSean has instant street cred because of his career. The players respect the heck out of DeSean, so when DeSean has good body language – he’s talked to the team at least twice so far.”

DeSean Jackson, who is in the second year of the three-year deal he signed with the Bucs in 2017, remains an integral part of the team’s air attack despite recording just 668 receiving yards – his second fewest thus far in his career – last season.