Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson made an impression upon the New England Patriots during the Pats and Bucs joint practice sessions in the preseason, and Jackson will now show off his talents against the Patriots in a real game. Jackson was well-worth the Bucs investment during their big 2012 offseason, as he re-emerged as one of the league’s elite receivers last season. The 6’5″, 230 pound Northern Colorado product is a mis-match maker as-is, but those mis-matches get taken to the next level when Vincent Jackson is deployed as a slot receiver, which happens quite frequently in the Bucs offense.
Kyle Arrington is a solid slot receiver in this league, and he has played very well so far this season for the Patriots. But Arrington’s lack of size and long speed definitely don’t make him an ideal matchup against Jackson, so it will be interesting to see how the Patriots attack V-Jax. My guess is that they try and put Aqib Talib on Jackson, but I’m not sure how often they use Devin McCourty to bracket him, because Mike Williams can also do some damage.
The Patriots definitely aren’t going to be sleeping on Jackson, and Patriots head coach Bill Belichick gave some huge praise to Jackson at today’s press conference. It’s well-worth reading Belichick’s quote, as he gives plenty of good quick-hit scouting info when asked about an opposing player.
“Real tough guy to matchup with. Vincent has great size, strength – playing strength in terms of getting off jams, competing for the ball downfield, he’s a strong runner with the ball in his hands, he’s got strong hands, he can go up and take it away from defenders that have good position on him – he’s got good speed and he’s an explosive guy coming out of cuts. Real hard guy to match up against; that will be a big challenge for us. He can hurt you in a lot of different ways obviously. He can go down the field and get the ball and make big plays down the field, which we’ve seen him do. He can also take short routes and break tackles and turn them into long plays. He’s an aggressive blocker. They move him around, they play him outside, they play him in the slot. He’s good on intermediate routes, those 15 to 25-yard in-cuts, over-routes, sideline routes. He’s a very difficult player to match up with and has an excellent set of receiving skills. Definitely a go-to guy for them, a guy we’re going to have to really be aware of every time they break the huddle and know where he is because he can pretty much score from anywhere on the field.”
Jackson already has 231 receiving yards this season and an astounding average of 19.3 yards per reception, so you might want to watch for him extremely closely when the Buccaneers and Patriots battle it out next Sunday.