Loaded At Receiver

January 6th, 2020

Head of the class.

Like a lot of folks, the good people over at Football Outsiders are looking back at the recently completed NFL regular season.

And the Football Outsiders crowd is carving up the season’s best in all sorts of ways.

They have based their top players on a bunch of made-up stats with alphabet soup acronyms. And to be clear, any time a stat guy uses a stat with the word “adjusted” or “replacement” in its description, sirens wail in Joe’s head and they should in yours, too.

But just for fun, Joe is bringing you the following (and Joe likes the guys from Football Outsiders. Hell, Joe buys their almanac) The Football Outsiders have named the best games in the NFL in 2019 for receivers.

And two Bucs receivers had the three best games, per Football Outsiders’ stats.

Mike Evans, Week 8 vs. TEN
Chris Godwin, Week 4 vs. LAR
Mike Evans, Week 9 vs. SEA
Stefon Diggs, Week 6 vs. PHI
Michael Thomas, Week 5 vs. TB

That’s … kind of stupefying. Bucs receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin had the three best games of the year, when they combined for 35 catches, 550 yards, and five touchdowns in only 42 targets. Michael Thomas, meanwhile, had his best game of the year against the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay fans saw their share of big catches, that’s for sure.

And just to add an exclamation point to all of this, look how No. 3 receiver Breshad Perriman made all sorts of cash the way he exploded after both Mike Evans and Chris Godwin went down.

If the Bucs somehow keep Perriman, an expected free agent (imagine how much cash 49ers general manager John Lynch might throw at him), and the offensive coaches have an epiphany and learn that using tight ends is not a mortal sin, how the hell is any defensive coordinator going to stop this passing attack?

The offense scoring 35 points per game should be the lowest expectation.

26 Responses to “Loaded At Receiver”

  1. JP_09 Says:

    Yeah but they run sh&t routes, get rid of them both. They’re not worthy of catching footballs from #3

  2. Defense Rules Says:

    @Joe … “how the hell is any defensive coordinator going to stop this passing attack? Games in which the offense scores 35 points should be the lowest expectation.” Oh Joe, that’s wrong on so many levels.

    For starters, you’ve complained all season about NOT having a running attack. Guess what: IF we get a running attack, we won’t be passing nearly as much. Jameis had the MOST passing attempts in the NFL this year. Want to guess why? How about meh running attack AND that the Bucs kept digging themselves holes that they had to try to pass out of. Bucs were the ONLY NFL team to pass for over 300 YPG (302.8 YPG to be precise). In 2nd place was the Cowboys, followed by the Falcons, followed by the Rams. NONE of those teams even sniffed the playoffs. ‘Bombs Away’ is NOT a great strategy. Yes it’s ENTERTAINING, but with very few exceptions, it’s a LOSING strategy in today’s NFL.

    For another, 35 PPG is totally unrealistic for this offense. Ravens had a banner year this year and led the NFL by a bunch … with 33.2 PPG. No other team topped 30 PPG, although the 49ers (29.9 PPG), Saints (28.6 PPG), Bucs (28.6 PPG) & Chiefs (28.2 PPG) came close.

    And before you get TOO giddy about the Bucs PASSING offense, you might note that ours was the most expensive offense in the NFL when we started the season. And as an offense it had some giant ‘holes’ even BEYOND lack of a running game. Beyond our starters, we were hurting … we had minimal DEPTH. And in looking at 2020 & beyond, no way any NFL team can afford a very high-priced QB, TWO-THREE very high-priced receivers, THREE high-priced OLinemen, PLUS have a strong DEFENSE. Oops forgot, and a partridge in a pear tree.

  3. WyomingBucsFan Says:

    What if Tom Brady signs here in free agency?

  4. TiredBucsFan Says:

    This is such a great group of receivers. I really thought Perriman was a bust. What a second half of the season he had.

  5. Justafan Says:

    If TB12 signed here, fans would proclaim hkm the savior, until the kicker starts missing FGs, and then call Brady over the hill, and rant about how we should trade all of our picks for the next century for Trevor Lawrence.

  6. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Licht likes to sign our players……Yes, as I predicted, Perriman outperformed Djax…..and will get a good payday from us…..but other teams will look at his history and be wary of a huge multi-year contract.
    I’d say a 2-year $13 mil contract should do it.
    Means we will have to trade Brate…..

  7. mark2001 Says:

    Like I said yesterday…blame Jameis’s interceptions on many things…the wind, the weather, his finger, his lack of vision, his “failure” to lock on to receivers, and everything else my fellow sexagenarian Bruce could concoct. Maybe the O line, the Running game, the TE’s, or a home crowd expecting a win and putting pressure on captain pressure. Whatever.

    But don’t think it is because we have poor receivers. We have three great ones.

  8. Defense Rules Says:

    TBBF … Right now under contract Bucs have Brate ($6.0 mil in 2020), OJ ($3.5 mil), McElroy ($0.5 mil) and Leggett (unspecified). Neither of those last 2 got any gametime in 2019. So if we trade Brate to save money, we’d be left with (supposedly underperforming) OJ plus a couple of very unknowns. The REAL problems with Cam are that (1) JL overpaid him; and (2) BL can’t figure out how to use him properly.

    Of course, that same logic applies to every position group. RBs are a good example: we keep RoJo but let’s say get rid of Dare & don’t re-sign Barber, and voila, we’re down to ONE RB (TJ Logan is listed as a RB, but I think he’s really the 4th member of the S/Ts group. LOTS of ‘reloading’ to do it appears.

  9. Pok Says:

    Just need the right qb and they will be even better! Imagine Jameis trying to run an offense with the talent on the patriots offense. No 12-4 there unless it’s int:td ratio. Now imagine Brady with Evans Godwin Howard Brate Perriman and the next young RB to complement Jones.


    Sure sure far fetched and maybe so. But maybe not. Whispers can grow to screams. Think RayJ would sell out for those games? Would pack more seats than Rivers or Eli or any current backup looking to start and certainly more than America’s “Interception to seal the Game” Quarterback.

  10. Casual Observer Says:

    This great set of receivers, of course, is one of the big reasons for Winston’s impressive offensive stats. Would another QB have pretty good stats too with this group? My guess is pretty close.

  11. Duthsty Rhothdes Says:

    So is it jameis or the WRs… since evans got jonny football a heisman & 1st round draft selection, im thinking its the WRs; bet another qb leads team to playoffs

  12. TouchDownTampaBay Says:

    @casual – exactly it’s all the receivers. I mean Perriman lit it up at his previous stops and look at how Hump has exploded with yards in TN! Oh wait….

  13. Ed Says:

    The weekend’s Wild Card games proved that having high yardage offenses with quarterbacks making bad decisions isn’t a receipe for winning playoff games.

    None of the winning teams attempted more than 31 passes.

    Only the Seahawk threw the ball more than ran the ball.

    No one scored over 30 points.

    Points scored by winning teams:

    Tenn: 20, Rushing Attempts: 40, Passing Attempts: 15
    Texans: 22, Rushing Attempts: 33, Passing Attempts: 25
    Vikings: 26, Rusing Attempts: 40, Passing Attemps: 31
    Seahawks: 17, Rushing Attempts: 26, Passing Attempts: 30

    Quarterback play is vital here and so is running the ball. Notice that all of the winning quarterbacks didn’t turn the ball over:


    Cousins: 0
    Wilson: 0
    Tannehill: 1
    Watson: 0

    Yes, having the best receiving duo in the NFL is fun to watch but for me personally I’d rather be a Seahawks, Vikings, Titans or Texans fan this morning, winning close is better than scoring loads of points and throwing for loads of yardage while watching your quarterback give away points, TOP and field position.

  14. Ed Says:

    I hope everyone watched yesterday as the Vikings and Kirt Cousins and the Titans and Ryan Tannehill advanced to the next round of the playoffs with fantastic running games and mid level quarterbacks, not making risky throws and taking needless sacks because he doesn’t want to throw the ball away.

    I hope the Joes watched those games and saw how athletic quarterbacks like Wilson and Watson keep the chains moving with timely scrambles on 3rd downs to keep the chains moving.

    If you don’t have a dominant running game as we saw from the Texans and Seahawks (Payton Barber or Ronald Jones would have been better than their guy Homer), you damn better have a shifty quarterback that can move the chains with the take off and slide.

    Winston ran over a 5 40 yard dash at the combine. If you can’t run the ball your quarterback has to be able to make those athletic plays.

    Oh yeah, for all those who don’t believe that Tayson Hill on New Orleans can play quarterback, give me a break. He has that athletic ability that any head coach would be successful with.

  15. TOM Says:

    First off, there is no way in hell Brady will ever sign here. Hell the best part of the O are the receivers. Any decent QB not named Winston would take the Bucs to the playoffs with there receivers.

  16. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    @ Defense

    One of the few expendable & marketable Bucs is Cameron Brate…….if we aren’t going to use our TEs…..may as well go with blockers like Auclair…….we will be OK with OJ, Auclair, Hudson & another…..
    The question is if you come down to it….would you rather have Brate or Perriman?

  17. Hodad Says:

    Tayson Hill would be my #1 priority signing this off season. He’s been trained by the best, and I’m sure has learned a ton from Brees. Some team would be crazy not to give him a shot to start. The Art of War stresses going for the heart. Stealing Hill from N.O. would be going for there heart.

  18. TouchDownTampaBay Says:

    Again Tom, if you need proof that Winston is a large part of the offensive numbers please pull up Perriman’s stats with his other teams and then pull up Hump’s numbers in TN. It is so annoying dealing with the guys that just hate Winston and can’t look at things objectively. How do you explain how Perriman did nothing with other QBs and then has a breakout year with Winston? Why did Hump’s numbers plummet this year with the Titans? There is a correlation between a receiver’s numbers and the QB throwing them the ball. Your arguments are the equivalent of “the pitcher threw a no hitter, but only because the defense played well!” You can’t have one without the other.

  19. geno711 Says:

    A lot of good points about the need to run the ball better here on this site.

    I made a note in the blog yesterday about the fact that the Buc’s are facing more 8 man boxes than those teams with good to great running games. Why is that?
    I think it has to do with Jones and Barber lack of ability in the short passing game.

    However, I also want to point out that great passing offenses besides the Buc’s did quite well in 2018.

    KC 3rd
    Rams 5th
    Indy 6th
    Philly 7th
    NE 8th
    Were all in the playoffs in 2018 and 2 were in the Superbowl.
    Pitts was 2nd in passing yards and finished 9-6-1.
    Atlanta was 4th in passing yards and was 7-9.

    I think what is great about the NFL now is there are multiple ways to win.
    Tom Brady certainly is never rushing the ball,
    However, in Saturdays Houston v. Buffalo game.
    Watson rushed 14 times and Allen 9 times. How many of those 14 rushes were designed run plays or RPO’s. How many of those 14 times were legit scrambles. So if all of Watson’s 14 rushes were off of scrambles then the true picture is the coordinator called 19 rush plays and 39 pass attempts.

    Look Houston running backs actually carried 19 times for 86 yards. Very Buc like.

    If you look at Seattle, Wilson had 9 rushing attempts. Their running backs were 17 carries for 19 yards.

    When you are comparing the Buc’s maybe you are actually saying that you want more of a current college guy with RPO background because that certainly what Allen, Watson and Wilson give their teams

    We also know that Mahomes and Jackson will be giving that RPO next week to their team as well.

  20. Ed Says:

    Geno- The elusive QB’s, Jackson, Wilson, Maholmes and Watson also happen to be very good passers so there is a pattern now that smaller quarterbacks with mobility can be better passers by buying more time and they can keep drives alive by getting those big gains when the receivers have flushed open the lanes for the take off and slide.

    These guys are freaks as they can’t be defensed. If you sit back in coverage they can find open receivers, if you all out pass rush them with additional defenders, they can move around after the 3 seconds and with the extra time the defense can’t cover forever.

    If you are asking me would I rather have a good college QB that can run or pass my answer is yes because the edge rushers in the league are so good that if you don’t have a dominant runner like Cook or Kamara or Henry, and you have an immobile QB like Winston, then as the pressure comes from the edges, Winston makes those errant throws. The shifty, twitchy quarterback feels the pressure and moves to an open space to make the throws.

    I think if Tayson Hill from NO is available he would be incredible in our offense. You cannot teach athleticism or speed. They said on TV he runs a 4.4, the guy plays special teams so he certainly isn’t fragile. He’s watched Drew Brees for some time and Arians could work wonders with him.

  21. D1 Says:


    Humphreys numbers plummeted in TN because He’s not on the field as much.
    50% less snaps is going to play hell on the stat sheet.

    He’s a role player in TN. In Tampa, He was the #3 receiver. That’s the diffence in schemes.

  22. stpetebucsfan Says:


    Way to ruin a guys Monday.

    “Bombs Away’ is NOT a great strategy.”

    I wish I could argue the point with you but I have very little ammo. IE You are mostly if not entirely correct. The good news is that this defense and their growth have really captivated and entertained me. It’s easy to cheer for these young guys.


    Thanks for giving an offense lover some hope. D.R. is correct that D wins championships but as you point out we could still be entertained on offense.

    “I think what is great about the NFL now is there are multiple ways to win.”

  23. unbelievable Says:

    LOFL at anyone thinking Brady would even contemplate coming to play for this sorry franchise.

    Some of y’all really do live in an alternate reality.

  24. Defense Rules Says:

    Sorry StPete, I apologize profusely. Didn’t mean to burst any bubbles.

    Most JBFers don’t seem to realize that BA’s offenses in Arizona largely benefitted from having some very good defenses to ‘clean up the messes’. That was particularly true in 2013-2015 when the Cards’ defense ranked an average of #6, gave up an average of only 312 points per season (19.5 PPG), and averaged 29 takeaways per season. Their record during those years: 34-14.

    For 2016-2017 however their defense slid somewhat to an average #16 ranking, gave up an average of 362 points per season (22.6 PPG), and averaged 24 takeaways per season. The Cards offense also slid, especially in 2017. Their record during those years: 15-16-1.

  25. stpetebucsfan Says:


    Yep you just removed some of my cognitive dissonance. I’ve always known you were correct I just wished to remain in denial.

    And with BA’s offense and JW’s throw it and worry about the consequences later and our great receiving corps I thought we might yet revive the old AFL. LOL

    What I have come to believe is that this defense has a CHANCE to be truly special. As you point out going back to our historic ID.

    I believe our D is good enough to get us to the playoffs even with Sir Turnover.
    But JW is one and done playoff guy if that…and certainly not consistent enough to win four playoff games required to return to the SB.

  26. Old School Athlete Says:

    Imagine how many passes they could catch if they wore the opposing team’s jersey.