It’s only the second day of Bucs training camp and already there’s been some overreacting and unnecessary criticism of Mike Evans.
That was at least the message Friday from head coach Dirk Koetter, who jokingly (but not really) defended his third-year wide receiver while offering his take on Evans’ impressive outing on Day 2.
“I think he probably read all your reports about how he dropped that first ball in warmups yesterday,” Koetter said, drawing laughs. “He probably had a few choice words for you all because you’re watching every single drop he has.”
Evans, returning from a 10-drop season, let one slip through his hands in the first five minutes during position warmups of Thursday’s opening practice – and in came the here-we-go-again tweets.
But on Friday Evans responded with a drop-free performance, including seven catches from Jameis Winston in 7-on-7s and 11-on-11s and a one-handed grab in position drills that energized the 9 a.m. crowd at One Buc. He looked like a No. 1 wideout.
Keep watching, Koetter advised those only highlighting his rare drops, because “he has a lot of balls thrown at him every day.” That held true on Friday much like it did last season.
While Evans dropped a league-high 10 passes in 2015, he also caught 74 for 1,206 yards, 11th most in the NFL. And five of those drops happened in one game against the Giants in Week 9 – a game in which he also had eight receptions for 150 yards. Compare that to New York’s Odell Beckham Jr., roundly thought of as a Top 5 WR, who had 105 yards in the same game and it became quite apparent that Evans, despite his worst game as a pro, draws as much attention as any receiver.
The Bucs viewed the drops as a focus issue and they hired an offensive assistant, Todd Monken, to work primarily as a wide receiver specialist. That, along with Evans being healthy for training camp instead of nursing a hamstring like last year, should help him become a complete threat in the passing game in 2016.
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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None of this means much of anything until we play the some preseason games at best.
It’s all about repetition at this point. Go Bucs!
I just hope Evans came into camp in shape. Pulled hamstrings is often a result of not being in shape. I think he is going to have a breakout year this season if he stays healthy. Go Bucs!
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