“Captain For A Reason”

October 19th, 2016


Ira looks back at the impact of Vincent Jackson — and the impact he didn’t make. Great quotes by Luke Stocker highlight how some lost Bucs didn’t seize the great opportunity Jackson provided.


Signing Vincent Jackson as a free agent in 2012 turned out to be one of Mark Dominik’s better moves during a forgettable five-year run as general manager of the Buccaneers.

Jackson, who turns 34 in January, opened his Buc career with three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, grabbing 220 passes and scoring 17 times in that span while reinforcing his stature as one of the NFL’s premier deep threats.

And while Jackson’s tenure with Tampa Bay has ended with a knee injury, it’s not a stretch to suggest his career is also done. This is a cruel league for older wide receivers — just ask Roddy White.

So how do we sum up Jackson’s career? Very good, but not great.

In case anyone was wondering, he’s not going to be rewarded with a bust in Canton. He’s a rangy, 6-foot-5 target who made big plays down the field and he generally falls in the Keyshawn Johnson category.

Very good, but not great.

Jackson showed his age in the past two seasons as injuries limited his participation and his production. He will finish his Tampa Bay career with only one 100-yard effort in his final 18 games, ending with an eight-game touchdown drought.

Failed Eye Test

Jackson never looked right from the first snap of the 2016 season, failing to provide a dangerous complement to Mike Evans. His patterns weren’t crisp and he struggled to gain separation.

jameis and vincent jacksonStill, he was a veteran presence who will be missed for his leadership within the walls of One Buc Place.

“The ultimate professional,” said tight end Luke Stocker. “Vincent came here in 2012, my second year in the league, and I saw the intensity he brought to practice every day and the way he prepared for Sundays.”

In San Diego, where Jackson played seven seasons, he was hardly known for his leadership qualities.

He was arrested twice for driving under the influence. On the morning of a Chargers playoff game, Jackson was cited for driving with a suspended license.

San Diego management didn’t want to deal with Jackson and his agents anymore, so they let him go in free agency.

The Chargers considered Jackson a bit of a diva, but he lost all that baggage by the time he arrived in Tampa. He didn’t miss a game in those first three years with the Bucs, and his toughness down the stretch in 2014 was particularly impressive.

“Captain For A Reason”

As Lovie Smith’s disastrous first season in Tampa wound down, players dove onto the injured reserve list, seeking shelter from the storm.

Not Jackson.

He slogged on, catching passes from Josh McCown and exhibiting the professionalism he was rarely given credit for in San Diego.

“What a leader,” said Adam Humphries. “We voted him a captain for a reason. Vincent is someone you look up to, on and off the field.”

Jackson’s time in Tampa is also marked by a strong commitment to the military, honoring his parents, who served in the U.S. Armed Forces.

From a media perspective, Jackson never sought the spotlight. But when he did speak, he was forthright and incisive.

One of his major disappointments in Tampa was the sight of Josh Freeman and Mike Williams imploding before his very eyes. They both flubbed a big opportunity. All they had to do was hang around No. 83 and soak up all that professionalism.

“Vincent Jackson was willing to offer advice to anyone willing to take it,” Stocker said. “He offered so much more than what was taken by some of those guys.”

11 Responses to ““Captain For A Reason””

  1. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Who replaces him as captain this year?

  2. BucinJAX Says:

    Ira, you always have great words. While I know it is a season lost and most likely a career is over, geez, that sounded a bit like a eulogy.

    Here’s hoping he stays in this area. We can use lots more people like him.

    The NFL should have a position for ex-NFL leaders, somewhere off the roster and less than a coach, that can be with and still contribute to the team. If they do I’m unaware. I’m sure such a position could help the team and the player who would suddenly miss the camaraderie of being a part of the team.

  3. LifeOfABucFan Says:

    Wow..what a beautiful article on Vincent..I have so much respect for this man. He’s worth paying him just to stay in the locker room!!!

    Glad he’s got so many ties around the Tampa area, that he will keep his family here..He brings class to this city.

  4. DB55 Says:

    He will finish his Tampa Bay career with only one 100-yard effort in his final 18 games,

  5. Brent bull/buc Says:

    When all these players are going down how do you know as a fan if players are legitimately hurt or quitting? This is a lot of injuries.

  6. JonBuc Says:

    If Joe has a vote he may add Jackson and Donald Penn to the HOF 😉

  7. Doctor Stroud Says:

    Good assessment, Mr. Kaufman! After Vincent Jackson’s playing days are over, I hope that Joe or someone in the media will be able to sit down with him for an extended, no-holds-barred interview on his tenure with the Bucs, including his thoughts on Josh Freeman, Greg Schiano, etc. and maybe the direction of the organization.

  8. Maze Says:

    First 3 seasons were great. Last 2 he was only stealing money and others opportunity. Better now wasting any more time on living in the past.

  9. SteveK Says:


    Thank you for your refreshing information on the Bucs. I was one of the few fans that knew in my heart that Greg Schiano wasn’t a bad guy, but rather that josh Freeman was the culprit. Please, please, please some day soon share your knowledge of the situation. Your podcast earlier this week was spot on, most if not all national pundits were putting misguided blame on Schiano.

    I am really looking forward to hearing the truth about Josh Freeman and his meoteoric fall from grace.

  10. Mike Johnson Says:

    VJ Played his string all the way to the end! or..is it the end? I hope VJ is not one of those players who does not..see the light. He’s had a good career. And He seems smart. Does not impress me as one of those guys who just spent his money foolishly. So I know he’s got plenty of reserves. Retire VJ. Ride off into the sunset. Save your body while you can. You’ve made yours. Now let the young’uns earn theirs! Hope he decides to live in the Bay area. He is and always has been a class act. Nice article here Ira.

  11. Capt.Tim Says:

    Vincent Jackson is a class player and Person.
    The best WR in Buc History- until Evans cements his place.
    Hopefully, he stays in this area.
    Meybe he finds his way into Coaching Buc Wide recievers simeday soon.