After a Week 9 loss to the New York Giants, the narrative from Las Vegas Raiders media members was that the team missed released wide receiver Henry Ruggs III in the game. It wasn't the case with how well the Giants played defense, but the Raiders also felt they needed speed, adding DeSean Jackson, who the Los Angeles Rams just released.
Jackson wanted out of LA because of lack of playing time and targets. During his time With the Rams, he played just 66 pass snaps in six games but averaged 27.6 yards per catch. Jackson's speed is still there, but Sean McVay used him more as a role player in their offense.
What is the plan for the Raiders and Greg Olson? Are they planning on making him a starter? It will be interesting to see the game plan going forward with Jackson's skill set at 35.
Consistent deep threat.
Jackson is known to be a deep threat and is one of the best of all time. Only Jerry Rice has more touchdowns over 50 yards than Jackson, and he has one under his belt in 2021.
Here he is isolated vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Jackson will be running a shake route, a post, corner, post concept that takes time to develop. The wideout gets a free release, and he gets one on one with the safety who ends up falling because of Jackson. Stafford finds him and delivers him the ball for a 75-yard touchdown.
In the same game, we see him running the post on a sail concept. Usually, this is a clear-out for the corner route, but we quickly see Jackson beat the slot corner. The Safety goes with the corner, and Stafford throws it deep but is short, and Jackson can't make a play.
That is one thing with Jackson on deep routes. If the quarterback underthrows the route, it is harder for him to come back to the football because of his size. It displays itself here when Jackson is underthrown on the deep route and can't come back to make a play on the ball before it is intercepted.
However, it does open up receivers underneath, as we see above on the sail concept where Stafford has a great look at the corner route because Jackson runs off the coverage.
Can he do anything else?
That's the real question that comes up with Jackson. What else can add to the offense besides speed? Ruggs was developing into a complete receiver, and at this point in his career, Jackson is not that.
If you can give him free releases underneath, you can find a few plays he can make. A good example is this drag route against the Buccaneers, where we see Jackson get free for a significant gain down the sideline.
The problem comes against press coverage where Jackson leaves a lot to be desired. His size allows him to struggle at the line of scrimmage, and he fails to win. The example below displays this, when he fails to get separation vs. the Buccaneers and Stafford, he throws the fade out of bounds.
Here against the Cardinals, he is up against one of the league's emerging corners, Bryon Murphy. Murphy can get his hands on him, and he can't use his speed to get separation. Stafford must throw it up and turn it into an interception.
Jackson helps the offense have a deep threat that can take the top off the defense. He is limited, and how many snaps he plays for the offense will be interesting to see. The former California Bear will open up areas for other receivers, but to be seen as a Henry Ruggs replacement might be overblown.