San Diego Chargers coach Norv Turner says it was difficult to say goodbye to Vincent Jackson, predicting the wide receiver will have a major impact on the offense of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Bucs signed Jackson to a five-year, $55.55 million contract at the start of free agency two weeks ago, hoping his big-play ability will energize Tampa Bay's passing game and help quarterback Josh Freeman return to his stellar 2010 form.
"We tried hard to keep Vincent,'' said Turner, who coached Jackson for the past five seasons. "As an organization, we went as far as we could go. He's an outstanding person and a really competitive player."
Jackson, an imposing target at 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds, caught 272 passes for 4,574 yards (17.5 yards per catch) and 37 touchdowns over seven seasons with the Chargers. Last season, he had 60 catches for 1,106 yards and nine scores.
"He stretches the field and he's a guy who's going to help his quarterback be more accurate because he's a big-bodied receiver who is going to go get the football,'' Turner said Tuesday at the NFL's annual spring meetings.
Turner also praised Jackson's work ethic in San Diego, where he teamed up with quarterback Philip Rivers to form one of the NFL's most dangerous passing tandems.
"Vincent's an outstanding worker who loves to practice with high energy,'' Turner said. "He runs up the field and comes back, runs up the field and comes back and does it again and again. We're a vertical passing team and he's a guy who a lot of times won't let you take him out. He just keeps going.''
Turner expects his younger brother, Ron, to make an impact as quarterbacks coach on new head coach Greg Schiano's staff in Tampa. Ron Turner formerly served two stints as offensive coordinator of the Bears.
"When you go in with a group and you're all starting together, it's an exciting time,'' Norv said. "I'm one of his biggest fans. Ron coached in Chicago and the Bears went to a Super Bowl. He's gotten the most out of the players he has coached.''
Former Bucs assistant Rich Bisaccia improved San Diego's special teams significantly in 2011. Norv Turner recently added another ex-Bucs assistant, Joe Barry, to his staff as linebackers coach.
"Like Rich, Joe Barry brings the same type of energy and professionalism,'' Norv Turner said. "Rich has been great and he's helped me a great deal. His No. 1 role is coaching our special teams, but he brings other things to the job. He's a detailed coach and our players have really responded to him.''