Winston: Bucs Can’t Focus On Loss Of Jackson

The Tampa Bay Bucs Can’t Focus On Injuries Now

The Buccaneers received their biggest blow of the season (at least thus far) when Vincent Jackson landed on injured reserve with an ACL injury. Not only likely ending his season, but his career in Tampa Bay.

Yes, it was also difficult knowing that a run-first offense would be without Doug Martin, the league’s second-leading rusher last year, for multiple games with a hamstring injury. But the magnitude of Jackson’s injury puts this one on top.

Every other man has to step up now, whether it be Adam Humphries, Russell Shepard, Donteea Dye, or Cecil Shorts (who could be a go Sunday).

But the team knows they can’t take the field worrying about this. They have to trust the fact that the next man is going to step up and do what’s necessary to win. Just ask Jameis Winston, the lone healthy captain left on offense.

“Obviously man, we’re going to miss Vince, but the thing about Vince, he’s that veteran so his presence is what we really are used to,” said Winston. “Now, really it just starts back to that same point that we were last year, when Vincent got injured.

“We have ‘DD’ [Donteea Dye] back, we have ‘Hump’ [Adam Humphries] and Hump is playing amazing right now. Obviously Donteea is going to have to step up. This is the moment he’s been waiting for.

“[But] mentally, as an NFL player, we can’t even focus [on it] – because we can’t control that. It’s something that we can’t control. Luckily, we’re blessed to have a leader like ‘V-Jack’ [Vincent Jackson] who is that person that can help guide these people that are replacing him.”

Dye’s familiarity with the system, having played in 10 games and made five starts a year ago, will definitely help in the short-term.

But even though Jackson was off to a slow start, it’s hard to see (literally, both in height and ability) how they will be able to replace the threat that he posed.

Only time will tell, though that clock might expire in about 48 hours.

Matt Stein is a season-credentialed media member covering the Tampa Bay Rays and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, also assisting with coverage of USF Athletics. He attended the University of Tampa and graduated with a Bachelor's of Science in Sport Management.