Advertisement
  1. Bucs

Why Jameis Winston is apologizing to Mike Evans

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston talks with wide receiver Mike Evans on the bench during the second half of a Nov. 5, 2017 game against the New Orleans Saints. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
Published Dec. 20, 2017

TAMPA — Monday night's loss to the Falcons showed glimpses of the big-play offense the Bucs wanted this season, none more than on a 42-yard touchdown pass from Jameis Winston to a leaping Mike Evans.

Wish there were more throws like that? So does the quarterback.

"Every time I watch film, I find myself like, 'Mike, I should have thrown you the ball,'?" Winston said after the game. "I've got people tweeting me, 'Get Mike the ball.' I tell Mike, 'Mike, I'm sorry.'?"

Evans was well-covered on the play, but Winston trusted him on a so-called "50-50 ball," knowing the receiver's 6-foot-5 frame and talent can stack the odds in his favor. Evans came down with the touchdown, his longest play of the season.

"You guys can shred me up for the whole year for not giving him that chance (more often)," Winston said. "I will take it because that's the truth. … In that situation, when Mike is one-on-one or no one is around him, I've got to give him a chance. That is really on me."

Evans' numbers are down, from 12 touchdown catches last year to five this season — Monday's scoring grab was his first in seven games. He was the most targeted receiver in the league in 2016, but with additions to the Bucs' offense, his targets are on course to be down about 20 percent this year. He said he would like more passes thrown his way but added he will do what he's asked to do.

"I'm a team guy. Whatever is helping the team win," Evans said. "Obviously I want the ball. I think I'm one of the best in the game. I want the ball whenever I can get it. I try my best to get open."

Coach Dirk Koetter said he talked to Winston about trusting in his top receiver and taking advantage of what he can do with the ball in the air.

"I've had that exact conversation with Jameis," Koetter said. "I told him, 'Hey, wasn't life a lot simpler when we just went back and tried to throw it to Mike?' There is just some truth in that, because Mike's strength is his size and his power. … I think there is something to that."

Evans, 24, needs three more touchdowns to break the Bucs' career record of 34, set by tight end Jimmie Giles. He needs 602 receiving yards to break Mark Carrier's team record of 5,018. Evans will be back with the team on a fifth-year option next season, in line for a lucrative extension that should pay him around $15 million per year.

Evans has 839 receiving yards, so he's well within range in the final two games to get to 1,000 for the fourth time in his four seasons. He would be just the third player to do so, following Minnesota's Randy Moss (1998-03) and Cincinnati's A.J. Green (2011-15).

"It would be a cool accomplishment," Evans said. "It's something I'm supposed to do. I get a lot of targets. I'm a No. 1 receiver on the team. I should get that. Hopefully I get it."

Contact Greg Auman at gauman@tampabay.com and (813) 310-2690.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Because of Derrius Guice's knee injury, Chris Thompson is likely to see his role in Washington's backfield increase. STEPHEN B. MORTON  |  Associated Press
    Matthew Stafford, Chris Thompson and Mecole Hardman are free agents that are worth a spot on your roster.
  2. Second-year Dolphins safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, a No. 1 pick, greets fans before Miami gets routed by the Ravens in the season opener. BRYNN ANDERSON  |  AP
    If a promising young talent bails on an already-rebuilding team, repercussions won’t be good.
  3. Buccaneers tight end O.J. Howard (80) reacts after a pass intended for him is intercepted during the second quarter of the team's game against the 49ers in the team's season opener. MONICA HERNDON  |  Times
    Coach Bruce Arians has a message for O.J. Howard: play better.
  4. Bucs linebacker Shaquil Barrett (58) sacks the Panthers' Cam Newton during the second half Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019. MIKE MCCARN  |  AP
    The Bucs’ victory Thursday night continues the trend when it comes to the league’s 2015 MVP: He’s not running, and he’s no longer Superman.
  5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians reacts on during the second half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. BRIAN BLANCO  |  AP
    The Panthers’ final drive Thursday night against the Bucs was extended by a questionable spot that many took note of on national TV.
  6. In five of his past six games against the Bucs, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has failed to register a passer rating greater than 70. He completed less than half of his passes Thursday night in Carolina's 20-14 loss. MIKE MCCARN  |  Associated Press
    The true difference-maker Thursday: The relentless blitzes of defensive coordinator Todd Bowles exposed quarterback Cam Newton.
  7. Bucs linebacker Kevin Minter (51) and defensive tackle Vita Vea (50) wrap up Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey in Thursday night's game. Part of the Bucs' stellar effort involved limiting McCaffrey to 37 yards rushing on 16 carries. BRIAN BLANCO  |  AP
    Tampa Bay has allowed only one touchdown in two games this season
  8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Devin White (45) works against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) CHRIS O'MEARA  |  AP
    Bruce Arians hasn’t ruled White out for the Bucs’ next game on Sept. 22 against the Giants.
  9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers outside linebacker Lavonte David (54) and quarterback Jameis Winston (3) celebrate following the team's 20-14 win over the Carolina Panthers following an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco) BRIAN BLANCO  |  AP
    Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Jameis Winston plays a clean game, and the Bucs’ defense doesn’t allow a touchdown.
  10. Until further notice, this Vernon Hargreaves tackle of Carolina's Christian McCaffrey in the final seconds of Thursday night's 20-14 victory will be considered the play of the season for Tampa Bay. MIKE McCARN | AP Photo MIKE MCCARN  |  AP
    From a defensive revival to five ways of annoying Gerald McCoy, here’s a look at Thursday night’s 20-14 Tampa Bay victory against the Panthers.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement