Sean McVay doesn’t see a 34-year-old DeSean Jackson at all.
Instead, the Los Angeles Rams head coach told the L.A. media on Wednesday that the “D-Jax” he’s seeing isn’t the one being bitten by father time. He sees a lot of the Jackson he coached not too long ago in the nation’s capitol.
“What I’ve been impressed with is I’m seeing the same player,” McVay told reporters. “It’s never been an ability thing. It’s just availability the last couple of years. He’s going to be a big factor for us this year.”
What It All Means for ‘D-Jax’
If what McVay predicts for “D-Jax” comes true, here’s what the Rams will be getting:
- The 5-foot-10, 175-pound speedster who posted two 1,000-yard seasons with McVay in D.C.
- The wideout who averaged 19 yards a catch while with the Washington Football Team, which is more than what he had in Philadelphia (17.2) and in Tampa Bay (15.8).
- The Jackson whose 58.2 catch percentage in Washington represents his best mark.
Jackson was in his prime when McVay served as offensive coordinator in the three seasons Jackson was there. The McVay-led offense carved up NFL defenses to the tune of yards per game (403.4) and racked up 6,545 total net yards during the 2016 season, placing the team at third overall in the league.
And Jackson’s last 1,000-yard season? That was the 1,005 he posted in his final year with Washington – which was additionally McVay’s last year with the team before accepting the open L.A. Rams’ head coaching gig.
McVay and then-WFT head coach Jay Gruden would often turn to Jackson on deep play action plays. Jackson also drew one-on-ones and immediately took advantage after the catch by using that famed 4.3 40-yard dash speed, all captured here in these series of highlight clips.
“We had a great relationship then but seeing his growth, I’ve always kept in touch from afar,” McVay said. “We always had a really good connection.”
‘D-Jax’ Has Respect in WR Room
Here’s another reason why McVay still believes there’s plenty of mileage left in Jackson: The week two game between the Rams and Jackson’s former team the Eagles when “D-Jax” still led the team in receptions and yardage that September 20, 2020 day.
“You guys remember going back to last year in week two, you know he was a real threat for Philly,” McVay said. “You know he’s still able to run. He has a great feel for how to separate and catch the ball.”
Over the years, it’s become easy to describe Jackson’s speed first when compartmentalizing his game. However, McVay adds another trait of Jackson that rarely gets discussed: His football IQ.
“Very similar to Matthew (Stafford). I mean, he’s an incredibly smart player that’s used a lot of experience that he’s gained to apply it in the right way,” McVay said.
Jackson may be the old guy in the WR room, but McVay believes he and the Rams will get the “D-Jax” from the Washington years. And McVay concludes that the longtime wideout has already won over his teammates without catching his first Rams pass.
“These guys respect his resume and what he’s done,” McVay said. “And he’s so secure in himself that he’s got a nice way of being the same DeSean Jackson he’s always been. But he definitely has a lot of wisdom that he imparts on guys. You can see because of the respect that he’s accumulated and really earned from his play, but also how he carries himself.”