If anything showed how important Jay Gruden and the Redskins viewed beating the Giants last Sunday, perhaps the best symbol came when DeSean Jackson lined up deep to return a punt. It was the first time this season Jackson took the field for a punt return, and despite rather boring results, it became obvious that the Redskins were going all in to take over first place in the NFC East.
“We’ll see a little bit more of him," Gruden said of Jackson. "I think he’s a great punt returner."
For his career, Jackson has shown dynamic game-breaking plays as a punt returner. In six seasons with the Eagles, Jackson returned four punts for touchdowns, including two in the 2009 season when he averaged 15 yards per return.
"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," Gruden said.
For much of the season Jamison Crowder has been the Redskins punt returner, and that will likely still be the plan. But in 21 punt returns this year, Crowder is averaging 5.6 yards per return. In his career, Jackson has averaged nearly 10 yards per 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.”
Should DeSean return more punts? Any injury worries? Let us know what you think in the comments.