The Bucs and wide receiver Mike Evans are saying the second-year receiver should be at 100 percent for the first time this season come Sunday in Houston.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Evans said from the locker room Wednesday. “I’m a full-go and I won’t be on a pitch count. It’s exciting and hopefully we get the win.”
Evans missed the opener against Tennessee because of a hamstring injury that also limited him to playing only 61 percent of last week’s offensive snaps against New Orleans (40 of 66).
Nothing much happened during that time on the field, either. Quarterback Jameis Winston failed to connect on any of the three balls directed at his 6-foot-5 target. Evans did get in on the Bucs’ penalty parade, though, with a third-quarter hold during a short Doug Martin run.
Sunday’s trip is something of a homecoming for the Galveston, Texas native and Evans said he isn’t concerned with how or when his role increases, especially considering his absence from last week’s game planning.
“I wasn’t really in the game plan at all last week. They didn’t know if I was playing, I didn’t know either. I came in there and we were just winging it. It was fun to be out there, though. This week it’ll be a little better.
“I’ll get my opportunities throughout the year and it’s my job to make the play. I’ll do my best, have a good week of practice, work on getting open and hopefully it’ll be a good one.”
The Bucs have high hopes for their sophomore receiver out of Texas A&M this year, hoping he doesn’t slump from last season’s 68-catch, 1,051-yard, 12-touchdown debut. Some of that big-play potential could come in handy Sunday knowing that tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins – the team’s leading pass catcher through two games – is out of service for at least a month.
“As you go through the season different guys get banged up and are less than 100 percent at different times, so you count on the depth of your team,” offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter said during his Wednesday press conference. “You’ve all told me and we’ve talked about it before that we have different playmakers and, hey, that’s the NFL. Your next tight end has to be ready to play. That doesn’t mean we have to design our whole game plan around that guy. Your game plan should always be designed to try to get the ball to our play makers, but also is somewhat dictated by the defense and what style they play.”
When asked specifically about increasing Evans’ role in the offense, Koetter didn’t need many words to describe how that will happen.
“It’s simple – throw it to him. Throw him the ball.”