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Jackson just too tall to squeeze into a stereotype

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Aug 6, 2007.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006
    August 6, 2007
    When fantasy football fanatics aren't wondering whether LaDainian Tomlinson can equal his superhuman 31-touchdown season of 2006, they are asking another question about the Chargers.
    Does the club have a No. 1 receiver?
    The answer, though, is easy . . . and affirmative.
    “Antonio Gates,” Chargers receivers coach James Lofton said.
    “Of course,” Vincent Jackson said. “He's a tight end, but in our offense, he's caught the most balls, and that's receiving the ball. So if you wanted to be scientific about it, he is our top receiver.”
    That said, Jackson said the wide receivers aren't concerned about rankings and roles. Their goal is to be as “complete as possible,” Jackson said. No Chargers receiver is as complete as Jackson, even if his resumé after two pro seasons consists of 30 catches and six touchdowns. But he is big (6-5, 241) and fast and, Lofton said, “probably the best blocking wide receiver in the NFL” as well as “one of the smartest guys I've been around.” So, while he might not be there just yet, Jackson is the kind of receiver who could attain No. 1 status. No less an authority than Lofton, a Hall of Famer himself with more than 14,000 yards receiving, believes that day is coming. “Without a doubt he has that type of skill,” Lofton said. “You don't see a lot of guys who are that big and that fast and that strong and catch the ball as well as he does.” Lofton recalled when Jackson was coming out of Northern Colorado, some NFL types wondered whether his size was more suited for tight end. But, Lofton added, “Once people looked at him and saw him play, he's a wide receiver. He just happens to be bigger and faster than everyone else. He moves like a guy who's 6-2, 200 pounds.” Injuries limited Jackson as a rookie in 2005, but he began to emerge during the second half of lastseason. Jackson had at least three catches in six of the Chargers' final seven games, beginning Nov. 19 at Denver, averaged nearly 18 yards a reception and scored four touchdowns. He finished the season with 27 receptions, with six going for scores. Plus, it seemed like every time the Chargers needed a big play down the stretch, Jackson delivered. He made a leaping catch inside the back line of the end zone for the go-ahead TD at Denver; had a career-long 55-yard reception in the rematch with the Broncos; made a 46-yard catch the next week against Kansas City, and scored the winning touchdown on a 37-yard reception on Christmas Eve in Seattle. The one thing all those plays had in common: They all came during the fourth quarter, as did a 31-yard reception that set up the Chargers' final score in their playoff loss to New England.
    Another big fourth-quarter play came Nov. 26 against Oakland, when Jackson made a 13-yard catch on fourth-and-2 with the Chargers trailing 14-7. Of course, Jackson is remembered most for what happened immediately after the catch, when he got off the ground and spun the ball in celebration. Jackson had not been tackled or touched by a defender, but fortunately for the Chargers, the ball was ruled an illegal forward pass and San Diego retained possession.
    “He made a terrific catch,” Lofton said. “I think he learned a valuable lesson: You take care of the football.”
    The gaffe drew a lot of attention in the immediate aftermath of that game (which the Chargers won), but Jackson said he was surprised few fans mentioned it to him in the offseason. “I think it was something you learn from,” he said.
    Both men prefer to recall Seattle, where Lofton said Jackson “really stepped up to a different level with that game.”
    It's a level Lofton and Jackson believe will continue to rise. Jackson said already he feels “like a totally different player” from this time last year, and Lofton expects his 24-year-old receiver to show off his ability to run after the catch more this season.
    “He does everything you want him to do,” Lofton said. “I think he'll get decent numbers as a receiver. Sure there will be guy on lesser teams that catch 20 or 30 balls more, but they won't make as many important plays as he's going to make.”
    Said Jackson: “Last year I was still feeling things out, but now I really feel ingrained and comfortable with everything that's happening on the field,” he said. “I just feel really on top of my game and I can't wait to get the season going.”
    After an off day yesterday, the Chargers will practice twice today. Both workouts are closed to fans. There will be open practices this week at 3:45 p.m. tomorrow and Friday, and at 7 p.m. Wednesday (preceded by autograph signing at 6:30). The first exhibition game is at 5 p.m. Sunday against Seattle.
  2. Burley

    Burley BoltTalker

    Jul 24, 2006
    I think VJ will have a breakout season. Him and Rivers have alot of history on the 2nd team ( along with Floyd too ). By week 6 there's gonna be stories on all the pregame shows about him...maybe Floyd too?...
  3. Ride The Lightning

    Ride The Lightning Join the Dark Side, we have cookies.

    Aug 15, 2006
    I don't care who catches the passes as long as we win.
  4. Kyle

    Kyle BoltTalker

    Jul 31, 2007
    A.J. really put him on notice on the Loose Cannons. He said VJ had a breakout year last year on a team level, that he did well for the Chargers. Then he said (paraphrasing) Jackson "has to breakout on a league-wide level next year and become a threat that people are talking about around the league. We want that to happen and it needs to happen if we are going to go where we want to go."
  5. BoltsFanUK

    BoltsFanUK Well-Known Member

    Sep 12, 2006
    Amen :tup: :tup:
  6. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

    Hmmm. Pretty strong words from AJ. I sure hope VJ steps up to the plate in a large way this year.

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