Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Jameis Winston to Mike Evans connection looking stronger

TAMPA — A year ago, QB Jameis Winston and WR Mike Evans were learning a new playbook together, but they weren't always on the same page.

Improving that passing combination has been a priority during the offseason and on Friday it began to pay off as Winston hit Evans on a couple of deep balls.

"Better than (Thursday)," coach Dirk Koetter said. "Part of that is luck of the draw on what coverage they draw, but Mike got a lot of balls thrown his way today. You could really see Mike going out of his way to look it in. I think he probably read all you guys' reports, how he dropped that first ball in warmups yesterday, and he probably had some choice words for y'all because you're going to be watching every single drop he has. But keep watching, keep watching, he's got a lot of balls thrown at him every day."

Evans led the league among receivers with 12 dropped passes last season but still finished with career highs in catches (74) and receiving yards (1,206). But his touchdown receptions fell from 12 as a rookie to three last season.

FEELING SWEEZY: It has been more than four months since the Bucs signed free-agent guard J.R. Sweezy to a five-year, $32.5 million contract, but as Tampa Bay went through its second practice of training camp Friday, Sweezy has yet to practice with his teammates.

The Bucs have only acknowledged he underwent a "procedure" that kept him from practicing in OTAs and mandatory minicamp; he is now on the physically-unable-to-perform list. It has been reported that his back is sidelining him. Sweezy declined to share any details of why he isn't practicing, but said he hopes to be on the field soon.

"Sometimes, things just go a little different than planned," Sweezy said. "I'm in that situation. Things are going well. I'm feeling good and getting ready to go."

Sweezy said he doesn't have "an exact date" but is confident it won't be long before he's practicing with the Bucs, who open the preseason in 13 days in Philadelphia and still have more than six weeks before their regular-season opener Sept. 11 at Atlanta.

"I will say that I am close. Just getting better every day," he said. "It's all good. I'm ready to get out there and get the reps. I want to start getting reps and play football again."

Third-year pro Kevin Pamphile has been working as the first-team left guard, as was the case throughout the offseason. He also filled in last year when Logan Mankins, who retired after the season, missed one game with injury.

PLAY OF THE DAY: Bucs S Keith Tandy had what coach Dirk Koetter called the "play of the day" when he knocked down a deep pass from QB Mike Glennon. WR Adam Humphries beat CB Johnthan Banks with a double move and was wide open when Tandy hustled over from the middle of the field to bat the football away.

"That was a great play by Tandy," Koetter said. "I just went up to Smitty (defensive coordinator Mike Smith) right afterward and said Adam made a real nice double move and was way behind the corner for that safety to overlap. That was good for Mike Glennon to see. He maybe hung it a little too long. That's a tough throw. That ball was about 50 yards down the field. For Tandy to show that range, that's unusual for an NFL safety to overlap and make that play so that was a really nice play."

Brent Grimes also intercepted Winston on Friday in what Koetter said was one of the first poor decisions his young quarterback has made with the football in two practices.

Buc bits: WR Kenny Bell, RB Charles Sims and S Ryan Smith will compete to become the kickoff returner.

"We haven't got to kickoff return, we've been focusing on punt (returns) right now, but those three off the top of my head," Koetter said.

Jameis Winston to Mike Evans connection looking stronger 07/29/16 [Last modified: Friday, July 29, 2016 9:50pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays call up Jose De Leon to add depth to bullpen tonight


    The Rays decided that after playing 15 innings Sunday they could use some depth and length in their bullpen after all and have decided to call up RHP Jose De Leon from Triple-A.

    RHP Erasmo Ramirez is still slated to start tonight, even after throwing 12 pitches to get the final three outs - and the save - in …

    The Rays have recalled Jose De Leon from Triple-A Durham.
  2. Tiger Woods arrested in Florida on DUI charge, released

    Public Safety

    Tiger Woods was arrested early Monday on a DUI charge in Jupiter, Florida, and spent nearly four hours in a county jail before he was released.

    Tiger Woods has been arrested on a DUI charge in Florida.
  3. After state, academics will trump athletics for King ace Brian Lee


    TAMPA — Brian Lee can still see himself on the pitcher's mound at Venice High School. Four years ago he was a freshman left-handed reliever just trying to keep King's state championship dreams alive.

    Pitcher Brian Lee participates in a practice at King High in Tampa, Fla., on Friday, May 26, 2017.
  4. Five cool things to do when it's hot outside


    Summer is not officially here, but it may as well be. School is out, vacations are coming, and it's time to enjoy the outdoors. Don't buy the argument that summer in Florida is too hot to get outside. There is plenty to do, and we'll prove it. Here are five cool things to do outdoors during another hot summer.

    Rainbow Springs State Park is a registered natural landmark. Rainbow Springs State Park in Dunnellon is one several state parks with natural swimming holes in Florida. (Octavio Jones | Times)
  5. Rays morning after: A lot that went into a marathon win


    Rays manager Kevin Cash had a simple strategy when Fox Sports Sun's Alex Corddry asked him how the team would move on from Sunday's marathon win and get ready to face the Rangers tonight in Texas:

    Kevin Kiermaier of the Rays celebrates as teammate Michael Martinez slides safely into home plate to score a run against the Minnesota Twins during the 14th inning.