The Redskins are certainly happy to have DeSean Jackson back in their lineup, but it could take time for him to get back to form and built rapport with Kirk Cousins.
The more games DeSean Jackson missed because of a left hamstring injury, the more the anticipation mounted leading up to his return against the New England Patriots last Sunday.
After Jackson tore his hamstring in the Washington Redskins' season opener, he was expected to miss three to four weeks. That timetable soon looked more like six to eight.
Then coach Jay Gruden said if Jackson was not ready for the team's game against the New York Jets in Week 6, he would definitely play the following week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Jackson did not play in either game after aggravating the injury before the Buccaneers game.
Finally, Jackson returned in Sunday's 27-10 loss to the Patriots. His performance — three catches for 15 yards — was underwhelming. It was not the impact the Redskins had longed for. During his absence, Gruden and offensive coordinator Sean McVay talked frequently about how they hoped his return would loosen up opposing defenses and give the Redskins a deep option down field.
On Monday, Gruden contested that it will take time for Jackson to resemble the wide receiver that caught 56 passes for 1,169 yards and six touchdowns last season. Not only did Jackson miss seven games, but he missed a week of organized team activities and a shoulder injury kept him out nearly all of training camp and the entire preseason.
"We respect DeSean a lot and what he brings to this football team, but the problem is DeSean wasn't here in OTAs and he missed a lot of training camp and he missed the first [seven] games," Gruden said.
"So, to have cohesiveness with the quarterback coming right out of the chute would probably be a little bit wishful thinking. You know, we do have high expectations for DeSean when he's rolling, and we'll get him rolling again. [Sunday] wasn't his day. It wasn't our day as an offense, but hopefully, next week, we'll see more balls flying his way and he can go get 'em."
After missing OTAs, Jackson sprained the AC joint in his right shoulder during a training camp practice. Like the hamstring injury, he was out longer than anticipated. The Redskins expected the shoulder injury would keep him sidelined for one to two weeks, but he did not return to practice until a week before the regular season.
He tore his hamstring in the first quarter against the Miami Dolphins while trying to catch a deep pass toward the right sideline.
Back then, Gruden was asked if the missed practice time played a factor in Jackson's injury.
"It could very well have, but we don't know that," Gruden had said.
Though that question will never be answered, it was clear on Monday that Gruden felt Jackson's prolonged absence stunted the development of a rapport with quarterback Kirk Cousins.
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