Jameis Winston to Mike Evans is a passing combination Bucs fans should enjoy for years to come. But can they be Joe Montana to Jerry Rice? Winston and Evans think so.
"I'm a big dreamer and I always tell Mike, 'Mike: Joe Montana, Jerry Rice,' just things like that, building our heads up,'' Winston said. "That was one of the best duos of all time. But I love this game of football so much, so I try to relate me and a great receiver like him to other players that have done it before.''
Winston failed to connect on any of this three pass attempts to Evans in the Bucs 26-16 preseason loss at Minnesota Saturday night. Hall of Fame performance it was not.
Evans, the Bucs' first-round pick from Texas A&M a year ago, finished third in Rookie of the Year voting after recording 68 catches for 1,058 yards with 12 touchdowns. He said wanting to be among the best passing duos of all time is natural.
"That's what every young wide receiver and quarterback duo try to emulate,'' Evans said of Montana to Rice. "Them or (Marvin) Harrison and Peyton Manning – those kind of guys. I think we can achieve that. We have the talent. We just need the consistency.''
Coach Lovie Smith says he's anxious to watch the Winston-to-Evans combo grow.
"First, to talk about a tandem like that, you have to have talent on both ends,'' Smith said. "We feel like Jameis and Mike has that. And then you need to play together for a while, too. And for these two guys to start off together at a young age and grow together, it's going to be fun watching it all play out. Both are competitive. We have a good system we feel like to highlight some of their strengths. But again, they're a young combination just starting but I'm anxious to see them take steps together.''