Friday, February 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jameis Winston called the Bucs' Adam Humphries a third-down machine. Is he?

After practice Monday, coach Dirk Koetter announced that the Bucs planned to enter the season with Adam Humphries as the team's No. 3 receiver.

The news didn't surprise quarterback Jameis Winston.

"Adam is a great player for us, he's a third-down machine for us," he said. "He's had a great camp, and last year he was one of my best targets."

That's the kind of praise you expect to hear from the quarterback, particularly one who's embracing an expanded leadership role.

Humphries' emergence over the past year-plus — from tryout player to slot receiver — is undeniably remarkable. But has he really been a "third-down machine" for the Bucs? Let's dive into the numbers.

Humphries didn't stick on the active roster for good until the Bucs' Week 8 contest against the Falcons. From then on — a total of 10 games — Winston targeted him 12 times on third down. Those 12 targets were second-most on the team but amounted to just 13.8 percent of Winston's third-down passes.

Of the 12 targets, Humphries caught seven, five of which resulted in a first down.

Winston's preferred target on third down? Mike Evans, by far. He saw 28 passes — 32.2 percent of Winston's throws.

While Evans' catch rate was roughly the same as Humphries', 15 of Evans' 16 receptions were good enough for first downs. Over the same time span, only four receivers across the league reached a first down more often after making a catch.

The point here isn't to compare Evans and Humphries. You'd expect Evans to see the most targets; he's the No. 1 receiver. But when you examine last season's third downs more closely, you see Winston heavily favored Evans. After that, he spread the ball around.

Winston's third-down targets (from Week 8 through end of regular season)

PlayerTargetsReceptionsYardsTouchdownsFirst downs
Mike Evans2816221115
Adam Humphries1276205
Charles Sims975514
Donteea Dye921802
Cameron Brate854914
Source: Pro Football Reference

In fact, the bulk of Humphries' production over the Bucs' final 10 games actually came on first down. In those situations, he caught 11 of 15 targets for 118 yards. Seven of those catches moved the chains and one resulted in his first and only touchdown of the season, a 6-yard score in Week 14 against the Saints.

His eight total conversions (first downs and touchdowns) were second to only Evans, who made 19 catches that resulted in a first down.

Adam Humphries' splits (from Week 8 through end of regular season)

SituationTargetsReceptionsYardsTouchdownsFirst downs
First down151111818
Second down1076605
Third down1276405
Source: Pro Football Reference

Winston's statement is indeed a stretch — at least based on last season's results — but more than anything, it might be an indication of his expectations for Humphries going forward.

Contact Thomas Bassinger at [email protected] Follow @tometrics.

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