Bruce Arians Says Bucs Must Stop Forcing Balls To Mike Evans

January 27th, 2021

Ever since Mike Evans entered the NFL catching passes from Josh McCown and Mike Glennon, fans have watched Bucs playcallers be tempted to pound the ball to Evans whether he was open or not.

Dirk Koetter made it an art form.

Bucs fans have seen less of that this season, a lot less. But it’s still an issue at times, per Bucco Bruce Arians, who confessed on the Buccaneers Radio Network this week.

“We threw a couple of interceptions [against Green Bay] trying to get [Mike Evans] the ball,” Arians said. “And I think sometimes we know Mike is such a weapon we say, ‘Let’s force it to him.’ And I get in that habit myself. Just let it play out. You know, let Chris [Godwin] and Scotty [Miller] and everybody else do their job. We had a big, big screen pass to Gronk in the fourth quarter, but yeah, sometimes we can force it to Mike.”

Against the Chiefs on Nov. 29, Evans had three catches and 50 yards on nine targets, including two touchdowns. That’s nice production, but it was Rob Gronkowski and Chris Godwin who were the Bucs’ receiving standouts on that day, and certainly the Bucs expect Evans to haul in more than one-third of the balls thrown his way.

The Bucs’ receiving corps is historically loaded and balanced. There’s no reason to force the ball to anyone.

Tom Brady should be able to find the open man all day long if he has time to throw.

21 Responses to “Bruce Arians Says Bucs Must Stop Forcing Balls To Mike Evans”

  1. buc15 Says:

    smoke screen

  2. bojim Says:

    ‘Tom Brady should be able to find the open man all day long if he has time to throw.’


  3. Casual Observer Says:

    Best set of WRs and TEs in NFL history – imo. Brady will find the open guys. Trust him – especially in these big games. Experience!

  4. Robert Says:

    The on ball TB threw as he was about to be crushed was the bad one. Hopefully that won’t happen again. The 1st int was so far off…makes me wonder if ME was supposed to go in on that route and the other off ME’s finger tips…….just felt he might have been able to get a little higher and catch it. he was flat footed on that one.

    AB will be back and you can bet he’ll get targets that would have been ME’s.

  5. Coburn Says:

    Yeah seems odd… I’d anything felt we needed to do it more most of this season. Those throws to me were more of the stupid idea of swinging for the fences instead of running a 4 min offense. If it’s actually within his general vicinity he usually catches it. He’s not someone who gets wide open. I’m curious why he only ever seems to go deep these days. Remember seeing him getting a lot more short to intermediate catches earlier in his career

  6. BillyBucFan Says:

    I agree this is an attempt to draw attention to our other receivers.
    Mike was open on 2 of those picks.
    Only one was a forced throw into double coverage and he didn’t fight through.

    All 3 picks targeted Mike I believe.

    He is gonna GO OFF me thinks.
    Vintage beast reel coming up.

  7. Bird Says:

    Let me set the record straight. Mike evans is probably my favorite buc player and is probably the best offensive player in buc history.

    But he is dropping way to many balls. And on top of that , for a guy his size and being a former basketball player , he does not track the ball well and go up and get a ball. I would not throw 50/50 to him. Godwin did last game

    Remember saints game too. He had a step on db for a deep bomb and he did not go up and get it. He waited for it to potentially fall in his lap. Not sure what is going on. Johnny football just threw it up to mike in college. Brady probably thought mike would do same and just chucked up in air thinking he could out size his defender.

  8. David Says:

    It is true that they have forced it to him at different times in the season. Look at screen bay, the first interception was forcing it to him because of a bad decision.
    The next two were not forced.
    He was open over the middle, it was just a bad throw.
    The 3rd- launching it up in the face of a blitz when Brady knew ME was one on one, was fine with me. As good as a punt. Unfortunately Evans didn’t know the balls in the air.

    But there are definitely times when they have tried to force him the ball and that absolutely should not happen in the Super Bowl. I don’t foresee Brady trying to force anything in this game

  9. SKBucsFan Says:

    I agree. The ball is forced to Evans regularly. I find when the play call is ME13 as the primary he hustles. When he is not then he seems to be less enthusiastic. Not saying he loafs, he just doesn’t seem to bring it.

  10. Show Me the TDs Says:

    I keep hoping that as we were winning the last 3 games that some of these “flaws” were smokescreens and that everyone will come together for a near perfect Superbowl.

  11. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Evans has a harder time getting open because he is doubled & or he is defended by their best CB……

    I do think Jameis & Brady force the ball to him because of his size/hands/physicality…..

    We have plenty of weapons……I like Brate for being the open man on most plays…

  12. Jmarkbuc Says:

    Don’t understand Brady just chucking it hoping it might be caught… seems Un- Brady like.

    It’s happened in several games this year, and almost always been intercepted. The on off of Mikes fingertips.. just an off throw. But the other two were head scratchers. Why not just throw away?

  13. Jmarkbuc Says:

    * one off of Mike’s fingertips

  14. Gerson Ramos Says:

    I knew it! Those two “punts” Brady throw to him, makes sense now… Hahaha

  15. SOEbuc Says:


    You wouldn’t go 50/50 with Mike??? You must have missed the Winston era. Look up Jameis best throw as a Buccaneer cus I will never forget that leap.

  16. ModHairKen Says:

    I trust Brady. They beat GB. Let’s stop with the autopsy on a game they won.

    Focus on containing Mahomes and Hill and Kelce.

  17. 813bucboi Says:

    agree with bruce…

    it seems brady tells mike on the side line, “ok, im going to you this series”…instead of hitting the open man…

    GO BUCS!!!!

  18. Will Says:

    @Bird… Spot on I don’t understand why on some of those long balls he doesn’t jump(get the rebound out high point the ball) or lay out for any of them that are slightly out of reach. To me it’s a part of his game that needs work. He’s a beast right now and each year a part of his game improves so I’m sure it’s coming. He should watch some of DeAndre Hopkins highlights that dude goes to get the ball like it belongs to him and someone is trying to steal it.

  19. Liaastnfrmafar Says:

    BL calls the plays, I do believe it is understood to get Evan’s the ball but this isn’t the NBA. Gronk is a great receiver but he is taking a back seat with no issue. I wonder if Evan’s doesn’t get the looks he takes it personal. Or maybe his knee is still tender or could it be Bucs have so many weapons it’s hard to get an equal share.

  20. unbelievable Says:

    LOL, those INTs need the sideline were not because they were “forced” to Evans, it’s because Brady threw 2 wild, Winston-esque lobs that should have been outside instead of inside.

    The one down near the end zone that was tipped, you could blame on “forcing it” I guess, but not the others.

    Or maybe this is just a smokescreen to make the chiefs pay slightly less attention to Evans in their game planning lol.

  21. unbelievable Says:

    *near the sideline