As the start of the Bucs' preseason looms just a day away, we're coming back to key Bucs records that could fall in the upcoming season.
Last month, we detailed how Jameis Winston, still just 24, could set Bucs career records for passing yards and touchdowns this season. Receiver Mike Evans, who turns 25 on Aug. 21, is also within reach of the two biggest Bucs career receiving records, despite playing only four NFL seasons.
Evans, at an NFL level, is one of only three players ever to open their careers with four 1,000-yard seasons, joining Randy Moss and A.J. Green. Moss did it in his first six seasons, Green in his first five, so Evans can move into even closer company with another year over 1,000.
But back to those Bucs career records: Evans has 4,579 receiving yards, close enough to set the team record sometime in October. Kevin House is still ahead with 4,928, and Mark Carrier has the team mark with 5,018, so Evans needs just 440 yards to become the team's all-time career leader.
Evans is even closer on touchdown receptions — he has 32, and tight end Jimmie Giles still has the team record with 34, so three scores and Evans moves into first place all-time.
Video: Again, makes it look easy, as Bucs’ Mike Evans goes up for throw from Ryan Griffin. pic.twitter.com/Pp63UfSd66— Greg Auman (@gregauman) August 4, 2018
Receptions is still probably a year off for Evans, as he has 309 and can easily catch Carrier (321) for second, but running back James Wilder has 430, and Evans isn't likely to get 122 catches this season.
As we detailed with Winston, these records are a reflection of a rough 41 years of Bucs receiving history. No team — not the Panthers or Jaguars, who started 19 years after the Bucs, nor the Ravens or Texans who are even newer — has such easy records to catch.
The closest you can find is the Chicago Bears (who go back to 1920) and have as their yardage record Johnny Morris' 5,059 yards from 1958-67. That's probably more embarrassing, given the relative franchise histories.
The Ravens' record is just 5,777 yards (Derrick Mason) and their touchdown record is the closest to the Bucs: tight end Todd Heap has 41.
But for perspective, the Bucs' career marks for yards (5,018) and touchdown catches (34) would rank 14th and 15th, respectively, in Packers history.
One more all-time Bucs record that should fall this season: most productive passing combo in team history. The best quarterback-target connection right now is Josh Freeman to Mike Williams, good for 24 touchdowns. Winston and Evans have 19 touchdowns together, so after Winston's suspension, six scores will give them a place in Bucs history.