Redskins say good-bye to Lockett
Redskins signed WR Willie Jackson
Redskins signed WR Willie Jackson

Posted Nov 1, 2002


Willie Jackson is in. Kevin Lockett is out. And the Redskins, as much as we liked Lockett, are better.

Lockett was always more about what he could do rather than what he did. He has lots of skills: he's quick, he's precise and he's fairly tough. Plus he's one of the classier Redskins, always available to answer questions, insightful and polite.

But his production never matched expectations. We remember talking to Steve Spurrier on the sidelines at Dickinson College this summer, along with a few other reporters. And Spurrier mentioned for everyone to keep an eye on Lockett. Like other coaches, he saw a player with usable skills, one who might help on underneath crossing routes, someone who could use his quickness to pull away from defenders.

It didn't happen. And, in the end, Lockett got caught up in a numbers game. Washington wasn't about to cut Darnerien McCants, whose ceiling is high even though he's very raw. And Chris Doering is a Spurrier guy. Plus he's an excellent blocker and, at times, will make the tough catch on third down.

Which is why Lockett was the odd man out.

Jackson, meanwhile, is a boost. How much? It's hard to say. After all, he only has one season of more than 55 catches and it came last year, his eighth in the league. And he's not a burner, which is what the Redskins really need for this offense to excel.

But he does have 277 career receptions, which is more than anyone else on the Redskins' roster.

''He's a big, physical receiver,'' Doering said. ''He has great hands, runs extremely good routes. The best thing he does is make people miss after the catch. He's very elusive after he catches the ball.

''He brings a little attitude. He brings a toughness to the group; he's not afraid to take on tacklers and break tackles. We need a guy who can do a lot of different stuff and make people miss.''

''I'm not the biggest guy or fastest guy, but I can bring all of it to the table,'' Jackson said. ''I'm a big receiver. I can run. But it's the characteristics that you don't put on paper, the runs after the catch. The things you don't account for that you can't coach.''

Jackson also knows the offense, having played for Spurrier at Florida. We know he was cut by Atlanta for various reasons, stemming from a supposed lack of effort and unwillingness to block downfield.

Maybe the feeling was mutual.

''He called me a couple of times during training camp and said he wasn't happy,'' Redskins quarterback Shane Matthews said. ''He said, 'I think I made the wrong decision.' ''

Now the question is: when can Jackson contribute? It's doubtful he'll play at Seattle on Sunday.

''Realistically he could be ready within a week,'' said Doering, who played with Jackson in high school and at Florida. ''It's not like he's out of shape. He just needs to get refreshed on the terminology, but it won't take him long at all. He's an intelligent receiver.''

If he works out, however, it'll be the Redskins who looked smart.



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