FAB 5. SR’s Buc Shots
• Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans has had more success versus the Falcons, and that’s good news considering he’ll face them in Atlanta on Sunday in what could be a very pivotal game in the NFC South. Evans talked about the reason why he’s had so many catches and so much production against the Falcons.
“I think it’s that they play more man than New Orleans and Carolina,” Evans said. “New Orleans plays more man now, I guess because they’ve got better corners. The Falcons always play man and they’re pretty simple. They want it to be a one-on-one game. I love one-on-one matchups. That’s always tough for a DB going against a top receiver. All teams in the NFC south game plan well against me, though.”
Evans made a play that some deemed the catch of the year in the NFL two seasons ago during an 11-catch 150-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Falcons on Thursday Night Football.
Because he plays them twice a year, Evans has had the most success against his NFC South divisional rivals. Here is how Tampa Bay’s 6-foot-5, 225-pound receiver has fared against Atlanta, Carolina and New Orleans.
Evans vs. Atlanta
2014 – 4 catches, 52 yards (away)
2014 – 7 catches, 125 yards, TD (home)
2015 – 3 catches, 48 yards (away)
2015 – 5 catches, 61 yards, TD (home)
2016 – 5 catches, 99 yards, TD (away)
2016 – 11 catches, 150 yards, 2 TDs (home)
2017 – 6 catches, 78 yards (away)
2017 – 5 catches, 79 yards, TD (home)
46 catches for 692 yards and 6 TDs
Evans vs. Carolina
2014 – 5 catches, 37 yards (home)
2014 – 2 catches, 13 yards, TD (away)
2015 – 3 catches, 32 yards (home)
2015 – 4 catches, 99 yards (away)
2016 – 6 catches, 89 yards, TD (away)
2016 – 5 catches, 65 yards, TD (home)
2017 – 5 catches, 60 yards (home)
2017 – 6 catches, 107 yards (away)
36 catches for 502 yards and 3 TDs
Evans vs. New Orleans
2014 – Did not play (away)
2014 – 5 catches, 64 yards, TD (home)
2015 – 0 catches (away)
2015 – 3 catches, 39 yards (home)
2016 – 4 catches, 42 yards (home)
2016 – 7 catches, 97 yards, TD (away)
2017 – 1 catch, 13 yards (away)
2017 – 5 catches, 55 yards (home)
2018 – 7 catches, 147 yards, TD (away)
32 receptions for 457 yards and 3 TDs
• The Buccaneers will be keeping close tabs on Falcons star receiver Julio Jones, who has the third-highest receiving yards this year with 564, as well as rookie Calvin Ridley, who has six touchdowns, which is the most receiving scores in the NFL. But Tampa Bay can’t sleep on veteran receiver Mohamed Sanu.
In the last four games against the Bucs, Sanu has recorded 20 catches for 239 yards and a touchdown, in addition to throwing a 51-yard touchdown to Jones out of the Wildcat formation in a 34-20 win over Tampa Bay in Atlanta last year.
It’s rare that trick plays work a second time against the same team, but defensive coordinator Mike Smith will need to have his defense ready for Sanu throwing the ball again just to be on the safe side. Smith’s defense also needs to be prepared to face a lot of bunch formations in Atlanta. That formation gave Tampa Bay fits as several coverages were blown in Chicago as second-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky threw a career-high six touchdowns in a 48-10 beat-down before the bye week.
• Bucs football season is here (so is Tampa Bay Lightning season!) and if you want to buy a new Tampa Bay jersey – or college football apparel – there is only one place to turn and that’s Fanatics.com. PewterReport.com has partnered once again with Fanatics.com to provide our readers with the best online shopping experience and widest array of team merchandise and apparel found on the Internet.
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• Tampa Bay’s passing attack has set new team records with Dirk Koetter at the helm. The Bucs set a franchise passing record with 4,165 yards in 2016 thanks mostly to Jameis Winston’s 4,090 passing yards. Last year, Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick broke that record by combining to throw for 4,607 yards.
With Fitzpatrick and Winston combining to throw for 1,501 yards through three games, the Bucs have the league’s top-ranked passing attack, averaging 363.3 yards per game. If Tampa Bay held its average over the entire season, which is unrealistic and won’t happen, the team would set a new NFL record with 5,812 passing yards. Peyton Manning’s 5,477 yards in Denver in 2013 is the current record.
Yet if the Bucs only pass for an average of 260 yards per game in the remaining 12 contests, which is another 3,120 yards, they will set a new team passing record with 4,621 yards. If the Bucs can maintain an average of 292 passing yards per game over the last 12 games, they will top 5,000 passing yards (5,005) by the end of the season, which, of course, would set a new team passing record in Tampa Bay.
• The @PewterReport Twitter account hit a milestone as we eclipsed 30,000 Twitter followers at the start of the Bucs’ regular season. Now we’re nearing 30,500 followers. Join us, Pewter Nation, and make sure you are following PewterReport.com on Twitter so you don’t miss out Bucs press conference and interview footage as well as breaking news and injury updates. To follow @PewterReport on Twitter please click here, and to follow us on Facebook please click here.
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• Keep an eye on cornerback Brent Grimes and right guard Caleb Benenoch this week in Atlanta. The coaches haven’t been thrilled with the play of either player thus far and both could be on short leashes.
The 35-year old Grimes had to be talked away from retirement, which isn’t good to begin with, and seemed disinterested at times in games against Pittsburgh and Chicago. Grimes was benched at halftime and was replaced by Ryan Smith. That could happen again on Sunday in Atlanta if Grimes struggles in coverage or run support. Opposing teams have targeted the undersized corner in their rushing attack.
As for Benenoch, he has been playing two-thirds of the snaps at right guard, but has allowed four sacks in the last three games, in addition to multiple pressures. The Bucs have been rotating Evan Smith in for one-third of the snaps, but those numbers could flip if Benenoch continues to struggle, and Smith may wind up as the starter. He’s clearly played better than Benenoch, who is in his first year as a starting guard in the NFL.
• Well, we’ve done it. We’ve recorded 100 episodes of the Pewter Nation Podcast – thanks to YOU, our loyal PewterReport.com readers and listeners. Get all the Bucs vs. Falcons pre-game talk in addition to some wit and entertainment in the aptly titled Pewter Nation Podcast Ep100: This Is The 100th Episode.
If you missed out on Episode 99, then you are lame. But you can shed that label by listening to it. Change you life. You can hear Pewter Nation Podcast Ep99: The Time For Change Has Come by clicking this link.
Listening to the Pewter Nation Podcasts on your drive home from work on Fridays or on Saturdays while doing some chores around the house or running errands this weekend is just smart. So do it. The next Pewter Nation Podcast will be taped after the Bucs – Falcons game, so stay tuned for the post-game thoughts from Sikkema, Cook and yours truly as Tampa Bay tries to avoid a 2-3 start.
The popularity of the Pewter Nation Podcast continues to grow. In addition to listening to the Pewter Nation Podcasts on PewterReport.com you can also subscribe to the free podcasts at PodBean by clicking here and on SoundCloud by clicking here. Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode.
• Bucs running back Ronald Jones II is expected to be active on Sunday for his second NFL game. Jones had 29 yards on 10 carries (2.9 avg.) in his NFL debut at Chicago in Week 4 after being inactive the first three games. Those 29 yards were more yards than he has rushed for during the entire preseason where he totaled just 22 yards on 28 carries (0.8 avg.).
The coaches need to see Jones hit the holes faster and with more authority in Atlanta so that he has the chance to get to the second level where his speed can be utilized to break off explosive runs. While Jones has made strides in pass protection, he still needs to work on his hands in the passing game. Jones dropped an easy screen pass on his first receiving attempt in Chicago two weeks ago.
• Congratulations to Bucs guard Ali Marpet on his five-year contract extension, which is worth an average of $10.825 million per year with $26.8 million in guaranteed money. That makes Marpet the seventh-highest paid guard in the league, and the deal is a win-win for both the Bucs and their best offensive lineman.
Marpet received $2 million more this year as an in-season signing bonus, which will prorate over the next five years (2018-22). That means that Marpet’s additional cap charge this year is only $400,000 more than it was before, giving Bucs general manager Jason Licht and director of football administration Mike Greenberg the salary cap room to work on extensions for middle linebacker Kwon Alexander and left tackle Donovan Smith. Expect Alexander’s next.
• And finally, Essential Integrative Medicine is the official team chiropractor of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Dr. Tan Tran serves as the team’s game-day chiropractor on the sidelines. Would you want anyone else to treat you for your chiropractic needs?
If you are suffering from back or neck pain or have been in an automobile accident and are suffering from the effects of whiplash, call Dr. Tran and make an appointment. Essential Integrative Medicine has two locations – South Tampa and Brandon. Visit EssentialIntegrativeMedicine.com for more information and to schedule an appointment.
Now Dr. Tran and his staff have more effective ways to treat your pain symptoms with stem cell therapy and have launched a new medical enterprise called Essential Stem Cell Therapy, which is under the careful leadership of Dr. Sandy Estes. Stem cell treatments not only help patients regain a pain-free lifestyle, but they also can help you avoid costly surgery. Stem cell treatments can regenerate the tissue in the body that has been damaged from age, disease or joint degeneration.
Essential Stem Cell Therapy is located at 3715 West Azeele Street in South Tampa. Visit them on the web at EssentialStemCell.com or call (813) 253-0711 for more information or to schedule your appointment.