Here's five takeaways from Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson's media session with reporters on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016, in Richmond, Va.
1. Jackson feels that even at 29 years old, his elite speed is an asset few can provide.A second-round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, Jackson is already entering his ninth NFL season. For most on the cusp of 30 years old, speed is one of the first signs of decline as a football player.
That's not the case for Jackson, though, as he's continued to put his lighting quick speed on display through the first week of training camp.
"People might be like, 'He's almost 30, he's getting old,'" Jackson said. "But, I still feel like my speed is a great threat that I use to my ability. So, I'm just excited about the year in front of us. I'm excited about the work that all the guys are putting in now and challenging ourselves.
For his career, Jackson – a three-time Pro Bowler – averages nearly 18 yards per reception while collecting 42 touchdown receptions.
While still maintaining his speed, Jackson set out a goal in the offseason to become just a little bit stronger, adding six pounds of muscle in hopes of staying active throughout the entire season.
Jackson, of course, missed seven games last season with a hamstring injury and has appeared in 16 regular season games just twice during his career.
"It kind of triggered me being in the weight room, just working as far as getting stronger, eating a little more and things like that," Jackson said. "But still not only just doing that and not sitting around, not triggering my speed and not working on my speed, I've stayed on the track. I stayed doing my cone drills and things like that, things that I've been doing since I've been young."
2. Jackson isn't concerned with the fact the 2016 season is the last of a three-year deal signed in 2014.Just like the Josh Norman situation this spring, the Redskins unexpectedly added an incredibly talented player late in free agency when the Eagles elected to release Jackson after a career year in 2014.
Check out behind the scenes images from Wide Receiver, Desean Jackson's 2016 Redskins Photo Shoot.
Jackson would sign a three-year deal with Washington – the only team he visited during his brief stint as a free agent – and has continued to be the league's top deep threat with the Redskins.
Even though he hopes to land a big contract in the coming months, Jackson is "keeping it real simple" right now.
"I don't want to put no extra pressure on anybody, on myself, on the team, nobody," Jackson said. "I'm just here to work and be rewarded for whatever it is. Whatever that turns out to be at the end of the year, so be it. But this year I'm going to do everything I need to do to be that guy to be there for my teammates, be there for my quarterback, organization, whatever it is. I'm going to put it on the line for them."
His focus for now is on helping the Redskins repeat as NFC East champions.
"We're just expecting a lot of great things this year and hopefully we can make that stretch and get back to where we feel we are comfortable and confident in doing it," Jackson said. "I don't know how many people probably believe in us or doubt us or whatever, but inside this locker room we know we are capable of doing it and we are ready for it."
3. Facing Josh Norman on a daily basis is making Jackson a better player.One of the talking points for fans through the first few days of training camp has been the 1-on-1 matchups between Jackson and Norman.
Jackson has won his fair share of the matchups, which he admits favors wide receivers, but its more about daily improvement against one of the league's best cornerbacks.
"You know, its practice," Jackson said. "That's what we're out here for, to get better and to challenge each other. It's not like he's going against a guy that's not capable of winning matchups and 1-on-1s. I really look at it as for wide receivers, it's really for a wide receiver to win. But I mean, of course, he's getting paid. He's known to be a top corner in this league, so everybody is supposedly like, 'He's supposed to stop whoever it is that's coming out there,' but it's challenging on both sides."
Jackson says that when it comes to intangibles, Norman's length makes it difficult for the offense to make plays against him.
"I think, right now, it's just only helping him," Jackson said. "He's in a new environment, he's trying to figure out what it is, how he's going to play certain things so it's just part of practice, part of training camp. But I definitely think going into season, going against me and Pierre, I think he will be ready for the season. He will be ready go versus whoever he has to match up against."
4. Jackson isn't too concerned with what Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson has to say about him.With the 1-on-1 videos all the rage on social media right now, Peterson took to Twitter to call out Norman's 94 overall Madden 17 rating (the highest among all cornerbacks) and Jackson's previous success against him.
In 2014, Jackson scored a 64-yard touchdown against Peterson, which the cornerback said was the "best play" he's ever made against him.
"I can't really speak with him and Josh going at it or whatever he's speaking on, but I just happened to see something where he said that out of three games, that was the only time I beat him was on that touchdown that I got him on," Jackson said. "It was just like it was common to say, 'Why are you speaking on me? I have nothing to do [with this]. I'm not bringing you up; I'm not talking about you. Keep me out of it.' He just replied with how he respects me and things like that, so it wasn't no big deal."
Jackson added that Norman and Peterson are "two of the great corners in this league" that earn opponents' respect on the field.
"What you do on the field definitely shows everything," Jackson said.
5. Jackson and Jordan Reed have had "numerous talks" on what it takes to be great on the field.
When Jackson signed with the Redskins in 2014, Reed was coming off a fairly successful, but limited rookie season.
Jackson, of course, would go on record his fourth 1,000-yard season that year while Reed was in and out of the lineup with injuries.
It was a different story in 2015, as Jackson missed significant time while Reed inserted himself into the upper echelon of tight ends.
While Reed had bright moments in the first half of the season, it wasn't until Jackson's return from injury that the University of Florida product began a streak of incredible performances.
Now back on the field together again in Richmond, Jackson said Reed, who is three years younger, is constantly seeking advice on how to grow.
"He was always one of them guys that wanted to know how can he be better, how can he work on anything," Jackson said. "I used to just tell him work on his breaks – coming out of breaks, staying low. One thing he has an advantage on is going against guys that are not as talented as him. He's going against linebackers and safeties. I look at Jordan Reed, he could be a wide receiver in this league. So, a lot of times he's on guys that's a mismatch to him and I just challenged him to go out there and just try to stay healthy, which he did last year, and really just take advantage of the opportunity."
What's scary about Reed's progression is that he's still young and is learning. Once it all clicks, he could be a special talent for years to come.
"I just was messing with him earlier and I've been messing with him since I been here; like in walkthroughs, he's still running at full-speed, and I'm like, 'Man, slow down, it's walkthrough,'" Jackson said. "and he's like, 'Man, this is all I know.' So, it's just little things like that."