August 19th, 2014
Bucs rookie WR Mike Evans is learning basic football fundamentals at the highest level of the game.

Bucs rookie WR Mike Evans is learning basic football fundamentals on the highest level of the game.

One reason rookies don’t always shine when they get to the NFL is the much tougher competition. That’s a no-brainer. But there is yet another big reason.

In college, often, stars are going against children, freshmen or sophomores who can’t yet buy alcohol (legally). In the NFL, you are going up against grown-arse men. No boys, here.

Playing against lesser opponents, college stars can often get by if not dominate just on their physical abilities alone. Fundamentals? Who needs fundamentals?

Well, when you are playing in the NFL, you will need fundamentals, that’s for sure. This was evidenced Saturday night when Bucs rookie wide receiver Mike Evans, after catching a Mike Glennon offering over the middle, broke a tackle and raced up the left sideline holding the ball in his right hand, which exposed the ball to a potential strip and fumble.

That is exactly what happened when Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes punched the ball out of Evans’ hands at the one yard line. The ball rolled into the end zone for not six points, but a touchback and Miami’s ball. Had Evans held the ball in his left hand, away from defenders, he likely would have scored. Then again, this was foreign to Evans, as Rick Brown of the Lakeland Ledger unearthed.

It was a factoid about Evans that is, in part, alarming.

Note that this is only Evans’ fourth year of organized football. He played just his senior year in high school and two years at Texas A&M. What most football players learn in grade school much less high school, Evans is just now learning. In the NFL, no less.

Not only is this an example of how rookies often are unaware of the basics of football, but it shows just how dominant of an athlete Evans was on the football field.

Good thing he is getting a crash course in OTAs, minicamp, training camp, and now the preseason.

23 Responses to “Lefty”

  1. lightningbuc Says:

    To me this shows bad coaching on the part of Lovie and his staff. Schiano was lampooned over and over for his team being undisciplined regarding penalties. If Evans has never heard of a Football 101 fundamental, that’s on all his past and PRESENT coaches.

  2. BucinNC Says:

    Has there been any note on whether or not he has improved his route running?

  3. Joe Says:

    Has there been any note on whether or not he has improved his route running?

    Here’s Joe’s take on route-running: Unless a position coach or head coach claims a receiver was running a bad route, Joe is not going to write it.

    Routes are so intricate and detailed that unless you are actually in the huddle or have tapped into the wireless headsets coaches use, you have no idea what route a receiver is supposed to run. Anyone who claims otherwise is conning you.

  4. SilverSword Says:

    He had to have been at TAMU at least 3 years to qualify for the draft. That plus his SR year of HS would make this his fifth season of organized ball. Regardless, how long does it take to actually learn this technique? Sounds like a 30 minute practice drill should do the trick. Unless he already had the practice lesson and simply chooses to ignore it in real game situations.

  5. Joe Says:


    Yes, Evans redshirted his freshman year. So, no, he didn’t play in any games.

    Before throwing stones at Lovie, how about this being an indictment on Kevin Sumlin, who Joe believes is one of the most overrated coaches in the game. Dude is riding the coattails of one of the greatest college quarterbacks who ever played the game (and a damned fine receiver) landing in his lap.

    Sumlin’s defenses were an embarrassment. Couldn’t he at least develop one friggin’ defensive player?

  6. Derek "OldSchool" Fournier Says:

    All due respect, there are simple things to watch in route running that aer leading indicators. COnsistency in gate. Sharp, crisp buts. No wasted or ‘phantom’ steps. Locating the ball or QB quickly out of breaks. These are all components that exists and can be assessed sans playbook information. In those aspects Mike is still sloppy. Not a big surprise as he is used to not having to be crisp there. I would love to have seen more focus on it in camp but I am a technical guy. Some coaches are not.

  7. Derek "OldSchool" Fournier Says:

    “Sharp, crisp cuts”

    Have fun with that one folks. 😐

  8. Eric Says:

    Like to see him have a good game Saturday. That one big play, before the fumble, was more a mistake by the tackler which allowed him to go down the sideline. Not that breaking a tackle isn’t a good skill, but not going to happen too often.

    Some crisp passing game please. And a play action or two.

  9. Tom Edrington Says:

    At first I thought this was a post on Phil Mickelson….

    Seriously, Hank Stram, the late great, was a HUGE proponent of having the football in the proper hand, away from the tacklers……

    That’s football 101, which they evidently don’t teach at Texas A&M.

  10. Architek Says:

    Give him some time to develop he will dominate~

  11. mpmalloy Says:

    The significance of #13 is that it is the first
    explicit Fibonacci number. i.e 2, 3, 5 and 8
    are also Fibonacci numbers but they occur
    in nature much more commonly than 13 does.
    If you see a 13 in nature it’s always the result
    of a Fibonacci sequence.

    I guess what I’m saying is that Evans has some spooky mojo
    going and maybe that will help the Bucs.

    Go BUCS!

  12. phreakybucfan Says:

    Mike Evans will go down as one of the 2 best players in this draft. He has sick physical gifts and an excellent work ethic. “only” 4 years of organized football, and he’s already this good? With V-jax as a mentor, the sky’s the limit.

  13. Buc the Haters Says:

    mpmalloy is obviously a really cool person…. Anyway, Evans is a beast & he will only get better.

  14. Skoorb Says:

    Could not have been a better lesson than that strip for a rookie. A rookie who is a top 10 pick. Who I’m sure has a slightly inflated head. Welcome to the nfl young man. High and tight next time.

  15. SAMCRO Says:

    @Derek “OldSchool” Fournier

    Kudos, I’m glad you qualified your route running assessment at the end, by admitting it’s more about grasping the playbook. That was basically what Joe had said about “How can you actually know if a route was done correctly when you don’t have first hand knowledge of what the play call was?

    I could watch film of Evans all day long running 10 yard button hooks, and say “Wow, this cat really has it down pat” and then have the coach tell me he was wrong. It was supposed to be a button hook to the left not right. So unless you know the play, I can see where it would be difficult to assess a players route running ability. The funny thing is you hear it from all the talking heads all the time on TV, like they’re privy to the play call..

  16. That Guy Says:

    At least he didn’t give Grimes the finger after that play.

  17. Jayski Says:

    Reminds me of March Sanchez not knowing how to slide…

  18. Buccfan37 Says:

    It will probably take a while for Evans to mature into a solid NFL player. As a rookie, I expect him to show consistent improvement each game, not rookie of the year numbers right away.

  19. mpmalloy Says:

    That Guy Says:
    August 19th, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    At least he didn’t give Grimes the finger after that play.


    Wow. Does Manjell look like noodle-arm whiner or what?
    Lol. The Bucs dodged that bullet.

  20. Kevin#1 Says:

    Evans will be just fine….I didn’t see him flicking off the dolphins sideline afterword so at least he has more class…..AND he made the guy that was flipping the bird. WIN-WIN. This guy is going to be a monster!

  21. Bucamania Says:

    I’m constant amazed how many times I see NFL RBs and WRs running down the sideline holding the ball with their inside hand. Switching the ball to the outside hand is taught in Pop Warner. Should come natural actually. How are you gonna stiff arm a guy with the ball in your hand? Hard to fathom.

  22. d-money Says:

    It’s not alarming if a guy who was head and shoulders above (litteraly and figuratively) everyone else on the football field since he started playing to have a few bad habits. It would be alarming if we don’t see an immediate change.

    And I’m with Joe on the route running. When we hear that the Bucs coaches and/or QBs have a problem with his route running then I’ll worry about it.

    There have been many wildly successful receivers that were not the greatest route runners. Being in the same page as the QB and in the right spot when’re ball arrives is what really matters.

  23. Zam Says:

    ouch… makes me wonder whether someone with such a lack of attention to detail can ever be good.

    It’s funny that the entire first half of the article could be about Joe’s man-crush, Johnny Backup.