Bucs WR Mike Evans - Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR
SR’s Fab 5 is a collection of inside scoop, analysis and insight from yours truly, PewterReport.com publisher and Bucs beat writer Scott Reynolds. Here are a few things that caught my attention this week at One Buc Place and around the NFL:
FAB 1. EVANS WILL BE BUCS’ GREATEST RECEIVER
On Tuesday, the Buccaneers said goodbye to a very good receiver when an MRI revealed that Vincent Jackson had tore his ACL in Tampa Bay’s 17-14 win on Monday Night Football in Carolina. Jackson was placed on injured reserve, and with the team captain in the final year of his contract and at age 33 it’s safe to say that he’s played his last game in red and pewter.
As we say to “goodbye” to one of the better receivers to ever play in Tampa Bay, we say “carry on” to a player who is on a quicker-than-you-would-expect pace to become the greatest receiver in Buccaneers history.
That would be third-year receiver Mike Evans.
Is it too early to heap such praise on receiver who just turned 23?
After all, former Bucs receiver Mike Williams got off to a hot start from 2010-12 and showed great promise in catching 145 passes for 2,067 yards and scoring 17 touchdowns in his first two years and five games before flaming out and caring more about his Caveman Gang rap than football.
Bucs WR Mike Evans – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Compare those stats to those of Evans, who has hauled in 174 catches for 2,706 yards and 19 TDs, and the Bucs’ first-round pick in 2014 is clearly outperforming Williams.
Evans is no Williams. He’s not even Keyshawn Johnson, Joey Galloway or Jackson.
Evans is better.
And if he stays healthy over the next two and a half years he should become the Buccaneers’ all-time leading receiver. Think about that for a minute.
Assuming Tampa Bay picks up his fifth-year option – if the team doesn’t sign him to an extension first – by the time Evans’ fifth year is up he could have more yards and touchdowns than any other Buccaneer and more catches than any other Tampa Bay receiver.
“That would be great doing it in such a short time,” the modest Evans said. “I just want to get into the playoffs and win, though. That’s my main focus and goal. If that stuff comes along, then great.”
Consider that Jackson likely finished his Bucs career with 268 catches for 4,326 yards and 20 touchdowns, and passed Ring of Honor member Jimmie Giles (4,300 yards) on Monday Night Football for third place in team history for most receiving yards. Jackson, who was signed in 2012 to be the primary receiver for former quarterback Josh Freeman, had a very good Bucs career, but not a great one.
Vincent Jackson’s Bucs Stats
2012 – 72 catches for 1,384 yards (19.2 avg.) with 8 TDs (95 long)
2013 – 78 catches for 1,224 yards (15.7 avg.) with 7 TDs (60 long)
2014 – 70 catches for 1,002 yards (14.3 avg.) with 2 TDs (50 long)
2015 – 33 catches for 543 yards (16.5 avg.) with 3 TDs (36 long)
2016 – 15 catches for 173 yards (11.5 avg.) with 0 TDs (18 long)
After three very productive seasons in Tampa Bay, Jackson’s numbers fell off considerably in 2015 as he missed six games after taking a helmet to his knee. Prior to that injury, Jackson appeared to lose a step at age 32.
Yet Jackson is a step above of Galloway (248 catches for 3,912 yards and 28 TDs) and Johnson (298 catches for 3,828 yards and 17 TDs) on Tampa Bay’s all-time receiving list, but still a few rungs down the ladder from Mark Carrier (321 catches for 5,018 yards and 27 TDs) and Kevin House (286 catches for 4,928 yards and 31 TDs) in team annals.
Bucs WR Mike Evans – Photo by: Getty Images
What’s incredible is that Carrier and House have remained the top two receivers in Bucs history statistically since 1992 and 1986, respectively. Despite Pro Bowl-caliber receivers like Johnson, Galloway and Jackson, coming on the scene in the early 2000s, none of those three could unseat Carrier and House as the two most prolific receivers in franchise history.
Johnson and Galloway were acquired via trades and Jackson was one of the Bucs’ best free agent signings in team history, yet Johnson was only in Tampa Bay for four years and Galloway five. Carrier spent six years with the Bucs, while House had seven seasons in Tampa Bay.
Evans is going to break all their records in just five seasons if he continues to stay healthy and productive.
Evans has recorded 174 catches for 2,706 yards and 19 TDs from 2014 through the Bucs’ win at Carolina last Monday night. With 32 catches for 449 yards and four touchdowns this year, Evans is on pace for 102 receptions for 1,436 yards, which would be career-highs, and 12 touchdowns, which would tie his career high and the franchise record for single season receiving TDs that he set as a rookie in 2014.
Factoring in what he’s projected to do in 2016 and what he accomplished statistically from 2014-15, Evans’ career average would be 81 catches for 1,231 yards and nine touchdowns. If he were to only maintain that average – and not the monster 102-catch, 1,436-yard, 12-TD pace he’s on – Evans would have 325 career catches for 4,924 yards and 36 touchdowns through the end of the 2017 season.
That would mean that Evans would surpass Jackson as the Bucs’ third-leading receiver in terms of yards by next year, and he would move ahead of Carrier’s 321 career catches to be Tampa Bay’s second-leading all-time receiver behind James Wilder’s 430 receptions. Evans’ projected 36 touchdowns from 2014-17 would make him the Bucs’ all-time leading touchdown receptions leader, surpassing Giles’ mark of 34.
In just his fifth season in Tampa Bay, Evans would be on pace for 406 catches for 6,155 yards and 45 touchdowns if he continued on course, easily surpassing Carrier’s career yardage mark, with only Wilder’s 430 career catch record left. He would likely do that at the beginning of his sixth season with the Bucs if he were to be re-signed.
Bucs WR Mike Evans – Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR
The key to Evans’ success this season has been maintaining his focus and working on his consistency catching the ball. Evans got married in the offseason and dropped 10 pounds to improve his speed, quickness and stamina.
“I’m creating more separation and I’m getting in and out of my cuts easier for being a big guy,” Evans said. “I’m not as athletic as you might think. I have a little bit of athleticism, but I’m not much of an athlete. Coach [Todd] Monken is working with me before and after practice and I like having a guy like that who can push me to where I’m uncomfortable. I think he’s doing that, and it’s showing.
“That’s what helped me a lot in college. My position coach, David Beatty, who is now the head coach at Kansas, helped me out a lot. We spent a lot of extra time at practice before and after and in meetings. I didn’t know how to read coverages and things like that. It hasn’t been too difficult a transition. I just missed three years of high school and only played two years of college.”
Evans only played football during his senior year in high school and left Texas A&M after his redshirt sophomore year. When you include not even two and a half years in the NFL, Evans is just scratching the surface on how great he can become.
“To accomplish what he’s already accomplished and be on that pace, that’s just a testament to the athlete he is and the amount of hard work we’ve put in,” Bucs wide receiver Adam Humphries said. “Obviously he’s a freak athlete at 6-foot-5. He’s the type of receiver you want on your team. For him to be like that consistently say a lot about him.”
Evans led the NFL in dropped passes last year with 11, including six in a loss to the New York Giants. This year, Evans has become more reliable with just two drops through five games.
He’s also improved his game by keeping his cool and not complaining to refs about being called for offensive pass interference, which has happened just once this year, and for missed calls about defensive pass interference.
“Mike has really made it a point of emphasis,” Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter said. “He’s had a couple chances, whether you call it lose his cool or frustration, I think Mike’s really turned a corner. I’m not going to say it’s never going to happen again because shoot, all of us have our meltdowns from time to time. But I think Mike’s turned a corner.”
As Tampa Bay’s records fall, Evans will continue to get notoriety. Playing for a team like the Bucs that have averaged four wins per season over the last three years doesn’t help Evans get Pro Bowl consideration, but that’s not what he wants.
“The Pro Bowl is the fan vote – I want All-Pro,” Evans said. “To be an All-Pro would be great. That’s where the respect is. I want to be great, of course. The numbers don’t show everything. I think I can be playing a lot better. A lot of guys have big number days, but sometimes it is just smoke. Getting numbers when you’re down late in games in garbage time.
“Winning is what it’s all about and I would sacrifice numbers for wins every Sunday. There’s no greater feeling than winning. Winning the other day on Monday Night Football on prime time. We got the ‘W’ with a dramatic ending – although we didn’t have to do that. But it was a win and it felt great and everybody was happy.”
Catching a key touchdown pass on Monday Night Football to cap off a six-catch, 89-yard performance, certainly helped Evans’ profile around the league. His peers are taking notice.
“He’s a talented guy,” Denver Pro Bowl cornerback Aqib Talib said prior to facing Evans three weeks ago. “Big, fast, he goes in that ‘Calvin Johnson category, that Julio Jones’ category. The big, fast guys [with] the big catch radius. His quarterback definitely trusts him. His quarterback gives him opportunities to make plays.”
Here is how Evans stacks up with the other receivers that were drafted in the first round in 2014:
Buffalo WR Sammy Watkins – 4th overall
2016: Six catches for 63 yards and no touchdowns in two games
Career: 131 catches for 2,092 yards and 15 touchdowns
Tampa Bay WR Mike Evans – 7th overall
2016: 32 catches for 449 yards and four touchdowns in five games
Career: 174 catches for 2,706 yards and 19 touchdowns
New York Giants WR Odell Beckham, Jr. – 12th overall
2016: 35 catches for 581 yards and three touchdowns in six games
Career: 222 catches for 3,336 yards and 28 touchdowns
New Orleans WR Brandin Cooks – 20th overall
2016: 25 catches for 428 yards and three touchdowns in five games
Career: 162 catches for 2,116 yards and 15 touchdowns
Carolina WR Kelvin Benjamin – 28th overall
2016: 29 catches for 394 yards and four touchdowns in six games
Career: 102 catches for 1,402 yards and 13 touchdowns
Evans is putting up better numbers than the other four receivers except for Beckham, Jr., but it should be noted that the Giants Pro Bowl receiver has played in six games, while Evans has only played in five due to the Bucs’ bye week.
Will the loss of Jackson mean extra attention by defenses for Evans for the rest of the season, making it harder for him to get open and take over games?
“I wouldn’t say harder,” Koetter said. “Again, if you’re on the 53-[man roster], you’re on the practice squad, you get up on the 46-[man roster] on game day, shoot, you’ve got to be ready to play. Jacquizz Rodgers is a good example of that last week, when we played Carolina in the Monday Night game. No one knew anything about Jacquizz, he went in there and got 30 touches in one game. No, I don’t think there’s a receiver that’s going to get 30 touches, but whoever’s out there has got to step up and play.”
Evans saw more double coverage last year when Jackson missed six games due to injury and has that experience to draw from to help him this year.
“We’re probably going to do some different things, but it will be just like last year,” Evans said. “I’m just going to make my plays when they come my way.”
Don’t expect the pressures of being “the receiver” in Tampa Bay to stymie Evans’ production down the stretch. He’s too good of a receiver to let that happen. On fact, he’s on the edge of greatness and in the same conversation as players like Julio Jones, A.J. Green and Beckham, Jr.
“When you’re drafted where he’s drafted – that’s why you draft a guy at [number seven],” Monken said. “That’s why you draft him there and we’ve said many times, Mike wants to be great, so those are the guys you’re going to be compared to. So yeah, I think he can be.
“I’ve mentioned a number of times, just him being healthy and competing, he wants to soak it all in. He’s a young man that hasn’t played a lot of football. Starting with high school and then college and here, and so I just think he’s made a commitment to himself in continuing to get better and it’s a byproduct of what you see on the field.”
Scott Reynolds is in his 23rd year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds enjoys giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Nice Fab 5, Scott… It’s kind of amazing to think that Mark Carrier and Kevin House are still the Bucs all-time receivers. I wonder how they stack up against all-time receivers from the other 31 teams? Where’s Mac when you need him. Sadly, I bet they are near the bottom of that list; showing the futility of the franchise over the decades. I appreciate Mike Evan’s drive to be All-Pro. I would take him any day over Beckham. The Bucs couldn’t afford to replace all of those kicker nets, anyways.
The ratings decline is an interesting one, and the Kaepernick issue wouldn’t stop me from watching football, but I think about how I really enjoyed watching the NBA back with the Lakers & Celtics era and the the Pistons era, then the Bulls, but after that… Something changed. Teams just became mercenary squads, going to the highest bidders. Owners buying championships. The NBA went from the feeling of being an institution to the feeling of just being a business, and I’ve lost interest. I was a Heat fan from the beginning in ’88 with Rony Seikely and Sherman Douglas and really loved watching that team grow up together and then Riley came in, traded everyone away and bought stars and eventually won Championships, but I never had as much joy for that team, even though the LeBron years, as when the finally made it to the playoffs for the first time against Atlanta and they lost in the first round… Same thing with the Bucs; Dungy (and Wyche) built this great foundation that every Bucs fan endeared themselves to with Sapp, Brooks, Lynch, Dunn, Alstott, etc… And, starting that ascent. The Super Bowl was great, but the Championship game in Philly was my peak moment as a long time Bucs fan. After Gruden & Allen started really turning over rosters year after year, it took something away from my enthusiasm for the team. I think that this has happened league-wide and I think it is starting to chip away at general feeling that the NFL used to be an institution, has become more of a product.
e had some interesting comments. I have been a Buc fan since 1976 and a Spurs fan from the early 1980s. I also loved the Cincinnati Reds growing up in the 1970s. When Dungy and the Bucs were building they still brought in players, quarterbacks, running backs, etc. I don’t think teams turn over more players today. Even the San Antonio Spurs bring in a crop of new faces every year. I think what changes is us. I hold Lee Roy Selmon close to my heart, along with all the old Bucs, Ricky Bell, James Wilder, Kevin House, etc. When out teams win, we get close to the players, enjoy the games, and make the connection. When dynasties occur (Celtics, Lakers, Bulls, Pistons, etc.) we get to know those players and make a connection with a team and also what was happening in our lives. Back in the 1980s, I was in High School playing sports etc. Loved emulating Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, when I was a kid, loved pretending to be Dan Fouts throwing to John Jefferson. Sports reminds us of life, we connect our memories to sports memories. And the memorable seasons are the winning ones. Sports change over time, but what really changes is our lives, and the memories that go with that. I remember the Arizona Diamondbacks World Series after 9/11 and how great that series was over the Yankees. Mainly cause I live in Arizona, 9/11 recovery had us so proud, and my career and family were doing awesome. Sports are still there, and I bet people in the New England Area think football is great. Ask someone in Cleveland and Chicago about the state of baseball, I bet they say it has never been better.
As long as that person in Chicago isn’t a White Sox fan. LOL
We got the big receiver in Evans, I think this offense needs some “juice”. Would like to see them draft a Brandon Cooke, type burner that keeps safeties back. Dye, hope you can make it big this time around. It would be nice to see someone step up at receiver this year, to build some depth to whoever we draft.
Great Fab 5 Scott.
Of course Mike will be the BUCS receiving leader. Evans and Winston will grow together as a great combination. I’m thinking maybe in the mold of Johnson and Stratford. This is something I believe is possible.
Kevin House and Mark Carrier, what a blast from the past. Those two guys were fun to watch.
So while I was reading this I tried remember whose was throwing the ball to those two guys.
Testaverde, King, Dilfer, Deberg, Garcia, Johnson and most likely some I can’t remember.
How can Evans not be the best.
Just think how fantastic another blue chip reciever was drafted to bookend with Evans.
The trick will be to keep our guys in the fold and not bailing after their first contract is over. The great teams make that happen.
Now on to #4.
Why does a successful brand think they have to keep tweaking their products to keep them successful? I realize that player safety is an important issue, but get real, you can’t make the game perfectly safe. The pressure is substantially intense for the NFL to stop the injuries drives these idiotic new rules. If the NFL really wanted to curtail injuries they should increase the roster by a lot. Scott suggests 60 players, I would say increase the roster to at least 70 players. Maybe teams won’t be pressured to trot out players who are half healed and not ready to play because the number of roster players isn’t enough.
It isn’t enough that the NFL owns Sunday they want to lay claim to Thursday also. What’s next Saturday games during the college season.
Stop diluting your product by getting greedy and over stepping what the public will like to watch.
Cuban is kind of correct. That pains me to say that. Taking advice from a NBA owner will be a hard pill for Goodel to swallow.
Goodel constant over management and micro managing will kill this league. I really don’t care for the Patriots but have pulled for Brady to stick it to Goodel. Roger demanding his personnel phone because he needs to see if his information. Good for Tom Terrific for standing up to him. I don’t think I’d go as far as Scott and root him their team though.
This reminds me of companies taking for granted that their product is just to good to do without. Look at what happened when the auto industry did it. People will just find another outlet to spend their entertainment dollars on.
If I were king of the NFL These are things I’d get rid of.
Thursday Night Football. It’s bad enough that Monday Night Football is run on a work night and doesn’t get finished until after midnight.
London games. The only reason that the stadiums are somewhat full is that tickets are virtually free. The people in England might like the games but they will never go Ape s**t over it like we did.
Color Rush Uniforms. These are the ugliest things I’ve ever seen. All to sell some more jerseys.
Practice squads. Increase the squads to a substantial number of players. Look at MLB. Look at the NHL. These leagues can draw from the well and put a good team out there.
Preseason games. Just stop it already. No one wants to pay full price for tickets to watch try out players. If Baseball spring training tickets weren’t cheap I’d never go to one of those games. So just get rid of preseason all together. Add two games to the season for 18 total.
There are more things to get rid of or add that might save the league but the first would be for the owners to realize that they made a mistake with Goodel. Fire him. This guy is a serious megalomaniac who seems to not care about anything that is not his directive. Make your rules fair to all the players and a uniform punishment system for league violations.
Whew, I feel better now.
Great post Chetthevette! You could be the Commish today and I’d be all in!
Enjoyed the 5 Scott, as always. Very interested in improving the receiver corps like so many fans. We need a guy with good hands and game breaking speed. Obviously. I keep thinking if only Joey Galloway and Mike Evens played in the same era.
One can dream. Hate to be talking the March draft so soon but will be looking forward to much more of it come February.
I have no issue with the catch rule. The issue is replay of a catch that’s why the rules needs to be so specific on what constitutes a catch. To me its clear, an receivers should have to display control all the through the end of the catch. In your example its only when the receiver is going to the ground. If not and he bobbles on the sideline or going out the back of the end zone its incomplete. The confusion for people is when the receiver is going to the ground. I have bigger issues with the BS roughing the Passer calls and “vulnerable” receiver crap.
We’ll draft a WR and DE in rounds 1 & 2 ; then probably a Safety. As to the NFL ratings, we have shut out most of the younger kids and adults because the cost to go to a game and the goods the fans wear continue to be ever changing. It was also the reductions in sports budgets in middle school and high school and the concerns of parents with their kids getting injured. Lets not forget the electronic age which finally put the last nail in the coffin. Have you noticed the amount of empty seats at all our college football games in the state? I only watch the Bucs on TV and everything else is the NFL Red Zone. Yep my interest as I get older in sports is fading. The Kapp thing is minor and so is the Commissioner. All sports game time need to be shorten.
Agreed Horse, there’s very few games I would actually go to when I can watch it at home for 1/25 th the price of going to a game.
Great fab 5. There is no doubt in my mind that Evans will be the best Bucs receiver of all time. You can’t teach what he has in physical attributes. You can always improve your route running and details of your craft, and he will. Being technically his 5th year of organized football, the sky is the limit. Gosh thinking about him and Joey G. on the same team is mind numbing.
And for the record , I would still take Mike over any of those other receivers taken in that class. But I will say, what a dynamic class that was all around at WR. Just go ahead and give Mike a lifetime contract right now and get it out of the way.
When it comes to home game, I just don’t get it either. I think there’s less pressure when these guys are out on the road and they can just react without the little things clouding their mins. Just a guess , but there’s got to be something to it.
As for receivers to draft, there are two I would look at in the first rounds, Mike williams and JuJu Schuster is finally taking off with shoddy QB play. That dude is good. But with all of our needs, who knows where we’ll go.
AS for Goodelle, I think he’s a tool. His punishments really have no rhyme or reason. Guys suspended for life for pot use, but go ahead and smack your woman around and only get a game or two. I think the Thursday night game match ups have sucked all season and that has something to do with the ratings drop. AS for the overall ratings drop, I wouldn’t be surprised if it had a good bit to do with Kaps actions. I don’t agree with them , I understand what he’s doing, he’s just going about it the wrong way. But this country does give freedom of speech so he’s perfectly within his rights to do so .And there are a lot of people that I know that will not watch the NFL because of that.
Anywho, let’s get another big win this week. 2 in a row would sure be nice.
After thinking about the QB’s the BUCS trotted out over the years I started reading about Steve Deberg. I truly believe that if the BUCS just stuck with him after he was aquired from the Broncos we would have had a much better fan experience during the 80s and 90s. The guy was a real stud.
But it’s no wonder that the receiving yards for the BUCS during that time period were dismal.
What a pleasure it is to have a QB that the fans and front office have committed to.
I’ve been a fan since day one and have never been this optimistic.
Winston throws a lot of jump balls, so I’m more concerned with body control, hands and ability to make people miss than I am with raw speed out of our receivers. To that end, Reynolds, Cupp and Davis looked best to me. However, given that Reynolds will likely go in the first round I need to see how he does against Bama this weekend before I’m confident saying he’s worth that high of a pick on a team with this many defensive holes.
Roger Goodell is definitely over doing his job and the rule changes are ruining the game. People watched football for the big hits and the entertainment and he is changing both. Limiting the celebration and completely taking away the big hits. The concussion issue brought some changes to light but I think he went overboard with the changing of the rules. Penalizing defenders for hitting players in the helmet that curl up is stupid and I think the casual fan is started to leave as a result. The you factor in a lot of people watch for the TD celebrations but thats so monitored and restricted these days that even that aspect has changed. It’s just one pointless rule after another and now the product is starting to suffer. Lastly I don’t think people like Roger bc he doesnt appear to be fair in how the rules or policies are enforced. In one breathe he speaks about protecting the players and QBs in particular but then you watch clips of Cam Newton getting rocked in the head with no call. He talks about the whole domestic violence thing and how serious that is, which it is, but you can’t rule with an iron fist like he did with Ray Rice but then turn a blind eye to the Josh Browns of the world who ADMITTED in court that he had struck his wife. This combination is what is ruining the NFL. Roger needs to watch the college game, see how they let the players play and realize its football at the end of the day. Increase the padding and stress the importance of proper tackling but this watered down flag football that some football games turn into is the main reason most people are choosing to watch other things.
Forgot about Goodels dumbass penalties for celebrations in my rant.
Very good point.
Wow, How things have changed. We came into this season and I thought receiver was our strongest position, and now we are looking at drafting receiver with our first or second pick next year. Evans could be great, but Winston is going to have to turn his season around first for that to happen. I think the wish list for the 2017 draft is starting to get deeper by the week. If Martin does not play this week as his injury has worsened, I would think that RB would also be in those first three picks. And DT has to be close to the top as well.
Get rid of the Thursday night games?
Yes, AMEN TO THAT!
Excellent Fab 5 for a bye week!
Mark, thanks for writing Fab 4 without taking a personal stance on the controversial Kapernick anthem-kneeling. It’s eloquent journalism for you to do so without demeaning the man with irresponsible nicknames or statements of false pretense, even after previously sharing your negative opinion of his dissent. Kudos for understanding that this kind of sensational trash talk is only divisive to your loyal fans and only cheapens the quality product you offer to Bucs fans from all walks of life.
I found it interesting that Talib said: “With receivers, there are some guys where you either have this huge catch radius or you don’t. There’s nothing you can learn in the NFL. If you go watch Evans’ tape from seventh or eighth grade, I bet he’s doing the same thing, catching jump balls, running past people, catching deep balls. It’s just that catch radius that makes him special.” After reading that he didn’t play football until his senior year of high school, imagine how great he would be if he had started earlier.
Also ironic that at the beginning of the year everyone was saying how great Jameis would have it with three receivers (counting TE) that were 6’5″ or taller. Unfortunately, it is now down to one.
I just returned from spending the bye week in Pittsburgh and Cleveland so my wife could see the changing of the leaves and visit some Steeler fan cousins. My goodness the Steeler fans are spoiled. Their team is 4 dash 2, considered one of the better teams in the league and they’re covering their faces with a Terrible Towel to hide their shame after losing to the Dolphins. In Cleveland the Browns are an afterthought as the town awaits the NBA season and MLB playoffs. Here we are somewhat buoyed by the win in Carolina but there sure is a sense of apathy among the populace.
Like Horse said, over the past few years football has become less important to me as the in-stadium experience is certainly no fun as the losses pile up. “Home” games never feel like an advantage when so many season pass members sell their premium tickets to the enemy leaving Scubog surrounded by far too many patrons wearing opponents gear and chanting for their team.
I admired the grit the team showed against the Panthers. Hopefully it will serve as a confidence springboard to defeating the 49ers and returning to our “home” game against the Raiders. There is little doubt that our stadium will be over-run with Raider fans who have been in hibernation in the Black Hole for several years.
I agree with your points about what’s wrong with the NFL, but I very much disagree that college football is better. You mentioned the boring 21-10 Titans game. What about the AWFUL Saturdays such as this one, where I’m watching Louisville destroy NC State 34-0 at halftime? This isn’t even a non-conference game, in which we frequently see one-sided blowouts. It’s a CONFERENCE game!
You just don’t see those kinds of games in the NFL (unless Lovie Smith is coaching the Bucs). As many things that are wrong with The League, every game is still more competitive, and even the worst teams still have a chance to win. I would take a Browns vs. Patriots game over a Vanderbilt vs. Alabama game every time, without hesitation.
the biggest reason to me is GOODELL!! He’s got to GO. Go to h!! to somewhere anywhere.
I think we have to pick our poison with the whole catch rule. The control to the ground requirement grew out of the desire to remove judgement calls about fumbles. If a receiver catches a ball and it pop loose when he hits the ground, is it a fumble? This was the former point of contention. A player makes a great catch with both feed in bounds but falls to the ground and the ball pops loose. Is this a catch? If it is a catch, then the loose ball is a fumble. The officials had to make multiple judgment calls on a single play resulting in upset fans on at least one side. The current rule was an effort to remove ambiguity. I personally think we went too far. The viewing public are seeing too many times when an obvious catch is ruled incomplete.
Everyone has their own opinions, and we’re all over the map.
1) the catch rule is just fine … leave it alone, if the player doesn’t control it all the way to the ground, it ain’t a catch period
2) the only kinds of celebrations that should be flagged are flagrant, abusive stuff (non-sportsmanlike throat slashes, twerking, taunting, etc.) and everything else should be fine.
3) Thursday night is a bust .. get rid of it as well as those astoundingly obnoxious color rush uniforms … and especially ban the bumblebee throwbacks of the Steelers, which are only entertaining in old SNL clips
4) Goodell is a cancer on the league … get the commish out of assessing individual penalties
5) Make all plays and all calls reviewable, but stick to only two red flags per game … pass interference, both called and non-called, are the most egregious bad plays in football
Finally, with that out of my system, let me just add that I totally agree with SR … the NFL product is flat out boring, and the college game is wildly entertaining
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