The Redskins for the first time in 2015 used DeSean Jackson at punt return against the Giants. The plan is to use him there more during the final five regular season games.
During one of his weekly press conferences last week, Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden told reporters that they wanted to get wide receiver DeSean Jackson involved for all four quarters against the Giants.
What wasn't clear at the time, though, was how they'd use him throughout the game.
On Sunday afternoon in the Redskins' 20-14 victory over the New York Giants, Jackson twice lined up deep for punt return duties.
While he would return only one of them for two yards, the speedster could be used more in situations like that down the stretch.
"We'll see a little bit more of him," Gruden said. "I think he's a great punt returner. I mean, historically… He's not going to do it all the time, but to put him back there when they're backed up and we have a chance for a good return I think is a smart thing to do."
Prior to Sunday, Jackson had returned just one punt with the Redskins, which was last November against the 49ers.
But with his health no longer a question – he's shown no ill effects from the hamstring injury that sidelined him for months – Jackson's explosiveness could result in the Redskins' first punt return touchdown since Santana Moss did so against the Detroit Lions on Oct. 26, 2008.
Jackson returned a few punts during practices over the last few months, and has been wanting to add the wrinkle to his game for a while now.
"I mean, yeah, I definitely would like to bring that addition to the game," Jackson said the week before the season via The Washington Times. "I think I'm a big-play receiver and a big-play special teams player, so any time I'm able to go out on the field and just help my team with big plays, that's what I look forward to doing."
Gruden said Jackson's addition to the team's punt return unit is in no way a shot at current punt returner Jamison Crowder. In fact, the team may look to use both of them depending on the situation.
The rookie out of Duke returned two punts for 24 yards against the Giants including a career-best 16-yard return.
"Nothing against Crowder, but DeSean is very explosive back there and made some big plays in his career and that's the only reason behind it," Gruden said. "But we could see more, depends on whether or not he wants to do it, but if he wants to do it then we'll put him back there."
On the season, Crowder, a fourth-round pick in May's NFL Draft, has returned 21 punts for 123 yards (5.9 average) with nine fair catches.
"You know, when I'm out there, I just want to make plays and do what I can to help out the team," Crowder said. "I try to set us up in a good position for the offense, so the team can be successful. That's all I want to do."