Mike Evans, safety? Bucs WR happy for defensive cameo
Just as Gerald McCoy was excited to get a three-play cameo at fullback against the Bears, Bucs receiver Mike Evans enjoyed the chance to line up as a deep safety on the final play Sunday as the Chiefs took their final snap in a 19-17 loss to the Bucs.
"I think I can help make a play," said Evans, who didn't get near the ball Sunday as the Chiefs opted for a short pass and lateral that didn't get far.
A week earlier, the Bucs took criticism for not having Evans on the field at the end of the first half against Chicago in a Hail Mary situation when the Bears pulled it off on a long touchdown as time expired. So when the Chiefs lined up for a final play Sunday, Evans was out there, his 6-foot-5 frame much larger than anyone in the defensive secondary.
Evans said he did the same in college, lining up for two plays at the end of the half in a win against Arkansas in 2012, helping force an incompletion.
Defensive coordinator Mike Smith said Evans was lobbying to get in the game for the final desperation play and Koetter put him in, fortunately not needing his services in the end zone this time.
"We practiced it live a couple of times, worked on it in the preseason," Smith said. "We like to use his height and his ability to catch the football. We've done it in the past with other receivers. Mike was down there tugging on Dirk, 'Can I go in? Can I play?' We've got to wait for the right situation before we can put him in there, but he's definitely an asset in those situations on last plays."
Smith should know -- against the Bucs in 2014, he used Julio Jones as a defensive back as Mike Glennon tried a Hail Mary throw and Jones was credited with a pass defensed on the play, one that Evans remembers as well, having to play like a defensive back while on offense.
"Julio did it against us my rookie year and almost got an interception, but I knocked it out of his hands," he said.