15 November 2015: Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) makes a catch well being covered by Dallas Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr (39) in the 3rd quarter of the NFL game between the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL. (Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire)
The Buccaneers reported to One Buc Place on Monday to begin their offseason workouts and first to take the podium for a press conference was third-year wide receiver Mike Evans.
Evans, now a married man, comes back with a focus of staying focused. In other words, he’s working to clean up the issue of dropped passes that tainted an otherwise productive sophomore campaign. While Evans led the league with 10 drops, he still caught 74 passes for 1,206 yards, two stats that he was quick to point out were an increase from his rookie year.
Still, the former first-round pick knows he has room for improvement.
“I had some decent games, but it was a disappointing season on my end, for sure,” Evans said. “Even though I improved in some categories, it was a disappointment. But I can’t dwell on the past.”
How does he fix the problems and move on?
“Just focus,” he said. “I wasn’t focused some games, and I have to get better at that. I have to get better at practice. It just comes with repetition… But I’m definitely not satisfied. People would say I had a sophomore slump last year – I guess that’s fair, people can say what they want. I increased in some of my numbers, but I wasn’t as consistent. I have to get back to the fundamentals a little more.”
Mike Evan: Getty Images
Even before the team met at the facility, Evans’ offseason work had already begun. Along with participating in player-led practices, Evans has also been building his connection with Jameis Winston off the field. Which is something the latter has been especially persistent about.
“(Jameis and I) have been hanging out more,” Evans said, telling reporters that he agreed with Dirk Koetter’s comments that the duo needed to work on their chemistry. “We’re both busy guys but we find time to hang out and throw when we can. Our chemistry was a little off last year, mostly on my end. I feel that it won’t be a problem this year.
“He’s trying to find me,” Evans continued on Winston. “Everywhere I’m at he’s trying to find me, see what I’m doing. He wants to hang out; he wants to go throw all the time. He’s doing the right things and he’s a workaholic. I have to do a little more running than him, but I like it. He’s working and he wants to be the best, and I do as well.”
Evans’ confidence in overall team improvement comes mainly from their stability, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. Along with Doug Martin, Tampa Bay returns all of its receivers in 2016, in the same system they grew accustomed to last year. That, alone, should allow the Bucs to take the next step.
“We all know each other and what we’re all capable of,” Evans said. “This is a really tight group of guys. These guys can play. If we all stay healthy, we can be one of the best (WR corps) in the league. My first two years it’s been unfortunate, with injuries and stuff like that. Barring no injuries, I think we can be the best group in the league.
“We got Dougie back, he’s a beast; Jameis is only going to get better; I’m going to be better. With a healthy V-Jax, the sky is the limit.”
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
No focused a few games? Huh?? No more hanging with Randy Moss in the offseason!
Every time I buy a jersey, he turns into a turd. I’ll stay away from the Jameis jersey I wanted to get this season!
Where did you buy your jersey, in Cleveland?
Sounds like you should invest in a Julio Jones, Cam Newton and a Drew Brees jersey then! Lol go bucs!
I have no doubt he will even be better than before because he is making the effort to make it happen.
Is that pass interference in the photo?
And what is pass interference anymore??? Or a caught pass for that matter!
Serious ‘pass interference’ and not called. Mike dropped passes last year, but IMO – and because he’s so physical with DBs, the stripers seem to let stuff go and Mike ends up with a few ‘extra’ drops on his sheet. If Jameis really is the guy we hope he is, he and Evans should join the list of the best play-making tandems ever. I know … total homer. Go Bucs!
My favorite pass interference call was the one against him in the first quarter of the Texans game. What garbage and a terribly officiated game.
It was only topped in the Colts game where we got completely hosed. The refs should have just put on Colts jerseys.
My only observation on Evans is the fact that he did not seem to be too happy to be back at One Buc Place in his introdutory press conference this year. Of course no other player on this team is as excited to be back as Jameis but I think Evans has to match Jameis’s enthusiasm to some degree for them to be a successful combo this year. Maybe I am expecting too much excitement from Evans but even he admitted he was not happy with his season last year. If it were me I would be happy as hell to be in any of these players shoes. It is truly a privilege to be in the NFL and I think Jameis really appreciates that fact. Hopefully Evans will too.
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