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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Mike Evans' goal: Catch 90% of red-zone passes

Mike Evans set an ambitious goal for the upcoming season that would help him improve dramatically on his three touchdown catches in 2015.

LOREN ELLIOTT | Times

Mike Evans set an ambitious goal for the upcoming season that would help him improve dramatically on his three touchdown catches in 2015.

27

July

Much has been made of Mike Evans' sophomore NFL season, when he led the Bucs with 1,206 receiving yards but left many more on the field, ranking among the league leaders in dropped passes. He had 74 catches, but did so on 147 targeted passes, giving him the lowest catch percentage for any of the NFL's top 60 receivers last season.

But Evans has acknowledged areas where he must improve, working in the offseason to have a better chemistry with Jameis Winston, and as Bucs players reported Wednesday for the start of training camp, he set an ambitious goal for the upcoming season that would help him improve dramatically on his three touchdown catches in 2015.

"I just want to catch ... as many opportunities as I get, I want to be at least 90 percent in the red zone," Evans said.

Injuries to Vincent Jackson and Louis Murphy put Evans on the field with largely unproven receivers, meaning defenses were able to double-team him, especially in the red zone. He's eager to show his own improvements, helped by having a stronger, healthier cast around him as well.

"It was a down year," Evans said, asked to evaluate last season. "I said that in the spring. The good thing is I get to do something about it. This year, you'll get a better Mike Evans."

Another area Evans wants to improve is penalties -- he tied Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski for the NFL lead with five offensive pass interference penalties and was ejected from the Bucs' season finale for "disrespectfully addressing an official." This too, he said, will change.

"Last year, I had a lot of personal-foul penalties and offensive pass interference, things like that," Evans said. "This year I think will be much different. I'm going to calm it down, play my game and not worry about what (defensive backs) are doing."

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 27, 2016 3:37pm]

    

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