While the Redskins would love to have him back against a struggling Green Bay defense, Washington is preaching patience with wide receiver DeSean Jackson's shoulder injury.
As the NFC playoff race heats up, the Washington Redskins continue to try and return as close as possible to full health. Following a win over Minnesota, the Redskins now turn their attention to the Green Bay Packers with the hope of having a dynamic weapon back.
Wide receiver DeSean Jackson missed his first game of the season Sunday after sustaining a shoulder injury in the Week 8 tie against Cincinnati in London. Although reports from around the league haven't been consistent about Jackson's status for the next few games, the Redskins believe that Jackson could be ready as soon as Sunday night.
"I think this week's in play for him, really, I do," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said. "I think he got a shot last week and hopefully he's going to get more range of motion, more treatment today and tomorrow. And we'll see how he's doing Wednesday."
The Redskins would love to have Jackson around against a Green Bay defense that is coming off its worst performance of the season. The Packers were beaten soundly by Tennessee Sunday, 47-25, as Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota totaled 295 yards and four passing touchdowns – running back DeMarco Murray also completed a touchdown pass – to top off what has been a horrid stretch for Green Bay.
The Packers has allowed 30 or more points in four of their last five games – all four occurrences have led to losses – and now are a game back in the NFC North and 1.5 games behind Washington for the second wild card spot.
Enter Jackson, who has statistically had a year not up to his standards with a career-low 13.9 yards per reception. However, the threat of Jackson's big play ability certainly still exists. His 44-yard touchdown catch against New York in Week 3 began a Redskins comeback. A week later, Jackson had just one catch against Cleveland, but picked up large chunks of yardage by inducing pass interference calls.
Jackson remains second in NFL history with 20 touchdowns of 60 yards or longer. His next touchdown of 60-plus yards will tie him with Devin Hester for the record. However, to bring that threat back on the field, Washington must make sure that Jackson is fully healthy. Gruden was asked Monday if he fears that Jackson's injury could linger.
"I wouldn't say a fear," Gruden said. "I mean, it's a reality, I guess. I was happy the way the guys stepped up in his place, but we obviously would love to have DeSean back with his game-breaking speed. But we have got to get him healthy first and he has to feel good about his shoulder and he has to have the strength back. An injured DeSean won't do us much good. We've got to make sure he's 100 percent and ready to roll."
Unfortunately for Jackson and the Redskins, if he is forced to miss the Green Bay game, there won't be much time to make sure he's right before a Thanksgiving Day matchup with the NFL-leading Dallas Cowboys just four days later.