DeSean Jackson is unlikely to play in Baltimore when the Redskins take on the Ravens in the “dress rehearsal” third preseason game, according to Jay Gruden. The wide receiver suffered a shoulder sprain on August 6 during the joint practices with the Texans.
At the time it was announced that the injury was only going to keep Jackson out for one or two weeks. The longer time frame would have put him out for the Redskins’ first preseason game on August 13 and possibly the second one on August 20. But the Ravens game on August 29, just over three full weeks after the injury, certainly appeared to be a realistic possibility for Jackson to get some snaps with the offense.
Gruden said yesterday that keeping Jackson out is a matter of finding a comfort level in dealing with his injury.
“He’s got full range of motion it looks like out there doing individual drills,” said Gruden. “It’s another thing if we just don’t want to get it hit again on game day. I think doing the non-contact stuff he looks pretty good. But with shoulder pads on, we’re not going to do that until we feel like he’s 100 percent. He’s not quite there yet.”
Since top-line players don’t play in the fourth preseason game it appears that Jackson will make his game debut on September 13, the regular season opener against the Dolphins. That will be over five weeks since the original injury. But Jackson said that he’ll be ready.
“Won’t have to worry about me at all,” Jackson said on Tuesday. “I’ll be the same person I’ve always been: Making plays and being the guy that brings the energy to this team.”
He caught some passes and participated in individual drills but he wasn’t in pads so it is unlikely that he participated in full team drills. (Teams do not have to disclose such information until the week before the regular season starts.)
It should be noted that DeAngelo Hall, who suffered a twice-torn Achilles last fall and has dealt groin and, most recently, toe injuries since the start of training camp, will be playing. Nobody would have batted an eye if Hall wanted to tap out of this one. Although he will be a bit rusty after missing the last 13 games of last year and the second preseason game this year, he is likely to start at corner when the Dolphins come to town.
Some would like to see Hall’s attitude rub off on Jackson. Although it is always dangerous for anyone but a doctor with full access to all of the to make a medical judgment it seems that he could play if he thought it was important. And with the starting offense in need of a boost after failing to get into the end zone in either of the preseason games it would be good to have their top weapon participating against the tough Ravens defense.
But it is unlikely to matter much once the regular season starts. The season will not succeed or fail based on scoring a preseason touchdown. As Jackson said, he will be ready to play. He and Robert Griffin III have been getting in some work and will continue to do so between now and September 13. Getting another 15 to 20 snaps in the mix might help some but it’s not a make or break situation. And the risk of him suffering a setback, not matter how slight, isn't worth it.