Evans’ Tackling Woes Showed Up

August 12th, 2017

Up and down debut

The pre-draft line on Tampa Bay second-round pick Justin Evans tabbed him as a hell of a versatile athlete and a true ballhawk, with questionable tackling skills.

No problem. The power players at One Buc Place were confident Evans could be coached up and thrive as an NFL starting safety.

This week, Dirk Koetter talked about Evans’ progress but also noted his tackling would be tested in preseason. (Remember, the Bucs did no true tackling in training camp.)

Last night in Cincinnati, Evans’ tackling woes made an appearance — as he made his NFL debut.

Watch this video here: It’s every touch by Bengals rookie running back Joe Mixon last night. Evans blows an open field tackle on Mixon that should have been for no gain or a loss. Very bad form. You’ll also see Evans make a strong solo tackle in the second level of the defense. And you’ll see Evans tentative in the hole when he was playing in the box.

Joe’s not blasting Evans. He’s a rookie in his first taste of the NFL. But this was worth noting.

Earlier this week on SiriusXM NFL Radio, general manager Jason Licht said the Bucs were in great position with their safeties this season because of excellent depth. A byproduct of that, Licht said, is the ability to bring Evans along slowly and not feel rushed to put him on the field.

Joe suspects the Bucs definitely will take their time.

50 Responses to “Evans’ Tackling Woes Showed Up”

  1. TheBucsAnthem Says:


    Look on the bright side…….he can’t be any worse than Mark Barron…….LOL!

  2. biff barker Says:

    Like Roberto, another 2nd round curse baring it’s teeth.

  3. CautiousOptimism Says:

    This guy is a walking talking non-tackling bust. Basic evaluation of this kid showed that he takes bad angles and cannot tackle for sht. Instincts are terrible. He is known for blowing up guys looking the other way. What a waste of 2nd round pick. Where have we heard that before?

  4. Blade Runner Says:

    Too bad the Bucs didn’t make an aggressive attempt to move up in the 2nd round of the draft and grab RB Dalvin Cook rather than sit on their hands and draft a project player like Evans!

  5. Rashad Says:

    Damn yall calling him a bust in pre season, as if he can’t be coached up by nfl coaches.

  6. Johnnie Says:

    The tackle on nixion in open field was tough. He is an elusive power back and went on to make 2 more bucs players miss on same play. The other plays I saw he made the tackles one in open field. Even the play he field the whole he had to break down not to get juked! Not a great game but y’all being over critical and not recognizing the opposing team talent. I didn’t see anyone really flash as a safety

  7. Casual Observer Says:

    I noticed his bad tackling. And the great pass rush by Willis (Kstate). We could have taken Willis in the second round. A sure tackler. Just sayin … .

  8. Sierra119 Says:

    You people seriously need to get a grip. It was the kids first NFL game for crying out loud.

  9. Greg Says:

    The same people that think Licht and Koetter walk on water are already ready to dump this guy

  10. Defense Rules Says:

    Perhaps all poor technique can’t be fixed in 1 or 2 practices? Might even take 3 or 4, who knows?

  11. Pa Privateer Says:

    I have no issue with Evans and his ONE MISSED TACKLE on JOE MIXON in the OPEN FIELD. Mixon has talent. Evans missed and it was a learning moment. Coaches will now focus on that in practice.

    We have Experienced Safeties on the roster. We can take time to coach up Evans.

  12. Casual Observer Says:

    An overreaction, for sure. But I remember wanting the Bucs to draft Willis. They passed. And the contrast (I know – first game) was stark. I hope our young lad can be taught to tackle. He had that rep at A&M.

  13. Oxycondoms Says:

    Trading up for aguyao probably made licht gun shy in trading up for cook or Mixon .

  14. Tnew Says:

    Im not gonna moan too much about this pick. Godwin was who I had slotted here so once he fell to the third, I was ok. Evans is a project. I hope he can learn to tackle but if he hasn’t yet, I’m just not sure how that will happen with all of the contact limitations in training. Evans is the biggest wild card for me in this draft class

  15. Brett Says:

    When you read in his draft profile about missing tackles, that doesn’t sound like a 2nd round guy to me. Bucs passed on DeMarcus Walker, the DL from FSU. I hope we don’t regret that.

  16. Baz Says:


  17. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    Not over-reacting, but based on his performance last night, we won’t see anything too good from Justin Evans for another year or so. Same for Beckwith.

  18. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    Yes, I agree with the others that said this kid should get a break cause it’s his first NFL game and he’s a rookie


    The knock from him coming outta college has always been his poor tackling skils……if that wasn’t true, then he’d been a 1st rd pick.

    He has a full season to grow and mature his skills and I fully expect next year, he’ll be the bucs full-time starter at safety.

  19. Tnew Says:

    And quite frankly, Im way more concerned about the holes Mixon had to run through.

  20. Dirks Great Granpappy Says:

    Just waived Roberto

  21. CautiousOptimism Says:

    Drafting a safety that can’t tackle in the second??? That’s like drafting a kicker in the second round that can’t kick! Who would do that?

  22. Cannonfodder Says:

    Jeez you guys are hilarious. You all need to find a new hobby, this one is killing you. Prophets like you shouldn’t be wasting your talents on a fan site. The crowd is going full retard. Never go full retard

  23. Bird Says:

    The guy missed all OTAs. Give me a break. He is behind the learning curve. Can’t believe comments saying bust already. Just needs to be coached up and wait and see

  24. Vern@4499 Says:

    All this video shows me is that Mixon will be a stud. He made multiple Bucs look like they have tackling issues. He will be the best rookie RB this year.

  25. RustyRhinos Says:

    Hey CautiousOptimism, You appear to be new hear still waiting for you to post something optimistic..

  26. Cannonfodder Says:

    Same mentality as the few that said Jameis is a bust after his first NFL game. We live in an instant gratification world and patience has been replaced with ignorance.

  27. Steven007 Says:

    We’ll said, Cannon.

  28. Blake_bucsfan Says:


    Yeah i was royally bummed out on draft night when the stinking bengals snagged him one spot before us. Had a strong gut feeling that Mixon would be a stud.

  29. Blake_bucsfan Says:


    I can’t speak for everyone, but Im simply saying that it appears Justin Evans will be more of a developmental player, as opposed to an immediate impact player.

    No questiong his athletic ability, but his decision making and tackling are questionable as of today.

  30. CautiousOptimism Says:

    Rusty- are only positive comments allowed? Can you please direct me to the site rules and bylaws oh sage JBF veteran? Clearly I need to have comments are positive and sound like everyone else’s in order to be accepted.

  31. Cannonfodder Says:

    Can’t argue there Blake. He did seem to have the deer in headlights look on a few occasions. Given his athletic ability, some more time with our coaches will only benefit him. I’m certainly no prophet and he may be a bust, but I’m certainly going to be patient and hope he accepts what his coaches and fellow teammates teach him.

  32. Brandon Says:

    ANYBODY could get on to draftbreakdown.com and watched his video and see he absolutely couldn’t tackle. But I agree with other intelligent posters here, I had Godwin going to us in round 2… so for a 3rd rounder he isn’t bad. He’s got excellent athletic ability. Looks good in coverage. He’s just so bad at tackling that I can’t see him ever getting on the field.

  33. Skywalker Says:

    What! Come on guys it was one tackle agents a guy good in open field. Calm down and let the guy learn

  34. SOEbuc Says:

    Mixon was running through a ton of vets also so you people need to just chill on the bust talk in his first preseason game. He was injured all mini camp and has not been allowed to tackle in OTAs. Safety might be the hardest position to come out of college being a pro bowler. So please, haters shut the hell up.

  35. CautiousOptimism Says:

    Wanting my safety to tackle makes me a hater? Check!

  36. Defense Rules Says:

    We all need to keep one thing in mind when it comes to rookies: the vast majority will get limited game time in their first year. The NFL is obviously a whole different world than the college football world they excelled in … EVERYONE is very, very good, the game is much faster, they’re learning a whole new language in terms of the terminology. Expectations … by coaches, other players, media, fans … are MUCH higher than they were in college, especially for high rnd draft picks. Bucs knew what they were getting when they drafted Justin Evans … a project with a tremendous upside. We’ve got an exceptional coaching staff that can fix his ‘issues’ (OK, tackling), but it’ll take time. Fortunately, we’ve got other safeties who can suit up while he’s learning.

  37. CautiousOptimism Says:

    Projects with tremendous upside should be Day 3 choices

  38. Rod Munch Says:

    Hum…. a rookie in game one of the preseason against what most people say was the top running back talent in the NFL. No really worried at this point.

    Much more worried about Ryan Smith – he made one nice play and a ton of bad ones – and was still in there looking lost in the 3rd quarter missing tackles when i believe he started the game. Not good.

  39. Geno Says:

    Evans looks like he is still a project at age 21. I believe the Bucs always saw him as a project. I hope they give him a shot at kick returner.

    I agree that Ryan Smith is still not ready.

    Neither are any of the back up linebackers. They all looked slow and not very athletic. Riley Bulloch seemed like the best of the backups at LB.

  40. Broy34 Says:

    Forgot we’re in football season again. Which means I have to stay off of all comment sections on this site and Facebook and Twitter. People are mind boggling stupid. “You people are overreacting…however that was the knock on him” yeah well he’s closer to college Than he is a developed by nfl product. I mean seriously people. I can’t remember overreactions like this. I’ve already in ten minutes seen one fool say we shouldn’t have drafted Howard and another saying Evans is a bust…how do you people even sleep at night

  41. Rob Says:

    laugh out loud some people are still crying about Dalvin cook. That’s so funny.

  42. Rob Says:

    I’d rather have mixon than Dalvin

  43. BigHogHaynes Says:

    The Mitigating Factor (Joe Mixon)

  44. SOEbuc Says:


    No. People calling the guy a bust after two weeks of OTAs and one preseason game makes people haters. I don’t know if you were one of these but…

  45. DB55 Says:

    Should have drafted Mixon but in Licht we trust.

  46. Dave Says:

    He seems pretty good all the way around except playing in the box

  47. Destinjohnny Says:

    The guy we should have drafted instead of him was was playing defensive end for the bengals last night.
    If u noticed our guy couldn’t block him
    It was the guy from Kansas state

  48. Pickgrin Says:

    LOL at the word “bust” being mentioned after 1 missed tackle in the dude’s very 1st pre-season game…

    Yea J. Evans whiffed the one tackle – but he also looked pretty good on a couple other plays. Had 5 combined tackles (tied for most on Defense w/ 6 other players)

    How come no one’s mentioning the play where the run to the right was getting strung out and Evans came flying out to the edge at about 100 mph to make the tackle. He looked FAST on that play.

    Even the most talented of College football players are “projects” to one degree or another coming out.

    Odds are this kid will be a solid addition to our defense once he gets some good coaching over time and some live reps under his belt.

  49. briandorry55 Says:


  50. Destinjohnny Says:

    Watched most of his games In college.

    He can’t tackle in a space.

    Hey young d lineman who can put pressure on the qb are overrated anyway.