Mike Evans Needs The Ball More

April 17th, 2023

Mike Evans

Mike Evans is the best Bucs wide receiver in history. It’s not even close. He likely will be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

For some weird reason, Evans wasn’t targeted during Tom Brady’s three seasons as often as he was before Brady arrived. Joe can’t explain it and Joe’s sure as hell not going to call out the greatest who ever played (Tom Brady).

So what was wrong? Was it just that failed offensive coordinator SpongeBob was over his head and incompetent? Probably.

So with a new quarterback and a new offensive coordinator, will the Bucs be targeting Evans more than last year? Over at Sharp Football Analysis, the gang took a look at Evans.

Mike Evans will turn 30 prior to the season. He notched his ninth straight 1,000-yard season in 2022, but his days of being a front-end elite wideout could be closing.

Evans was targeted on 20.1% of his routes last season, which was 48th among all wide receivers to run 100 or more pass routes. His 1.75 yards per route run ranked 35th among the same group.

… If the team wanted to swerve into a rebuild, they could trade Evans after June 1st for $14.5 million in cap savings.

Joe doesn’t believe the Bucs would trade Evans unless Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht gets some sort of ridiculous offer. You know, something he can’t refuse?

But if the Bucs are truly sincere about competing for the division title, it seems obvious to Joe that Evans needs the ball in his hands more than last year.

How can you go wrong getting one of the best ever the ball more?

28 Responses to “Mike Evans Needs The Ball More”

  1. Leighroy Says:

    I don’t think it’s “calling out” to simply note Brady’s tendencies are more to his slot guys, TEs and backfield receivers. It’s an observation rather than a dig or critique, and simply just means Evans was on the short end of the target stick as the numbers show. Certainly Evans was never targeted on SpongeBobs favorite call of the bubble screen!

    Hey it worked, in the twilight of his career Brady still was a league leader in passing and the air attack was a key factor to winning a ring. So no one is knocking him, just observing the distribution tendencies of the greatest QB to play the game.

  2. Bucs Guy Says:

    Just another person wanting the Bucs to trade Evans and/ot Godwin to his team. Agree with Joe, this not going to happen without an insane deal heavily in the Bucs favor.

  3. Bucs Guy Says:

    I would unhappily accept the 1st, 2nd and one of their two 3rd rd picks this year from either Houston or Arizona for Evans.

    It would take that type of deal IMO. Won’t happen.

  4. Beej Says:

    Has to do with the kind of routes Evans is best at, with aren’t dink and dink-friendly

  5. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Evans doesn’t get open as much so he end’s up being a 50-50 target & Brady simply doesn’t like those odds……..America’s QB liked going to Evans and look what happened to him.

  6. AnonymousBuc76 Says:

    Mike Evans is the perfect example of a guy making chicken salad out of chicken sh!t…

    Minus his last few years with Brady, look at the QBs Evans has had in his HOF career going back to Texas A&M…
    (Joe’s favorite QB prospect all time ☺️) Johnny Football
    Josh McCown
    Jameis Winston
    Ryan Fitzpatrick

    His ability to track and go get the ball when it in the air is as good as any HOF receiver; it almost doesn’t matter who’s at QB for this guy; he just makes plays…

  7. Jack Clark Says:

    “For some weird reason, Evans wasn’t targeted during Tom Brady’s three seasons as often as he was before Brady arrived. So what was wrong? Was it just that failed offensive coordinator SpongeBob was over his head and incompetent? Probably.”

    So blame everything on Byron Leftwich and not give him any credit for winning us a Super Bowl? Or having an exciting Top 10 offense 3 of his 4 years as our OC? That’s extremely bias and hateful. Tom Brady’s playing style is to get rid of the ball quick and throw short passes, not wait for Mike Evans to get 15+ yards downfield. That’s why Tom Brady preferred throwing to Antonio Brown, Gron, and running backs.

  8. Joe Says:

    So blame everything on Byron Leftwich and not give him any credit for winning us a Super Bowl?

    Think it is fairly clear who was really responsible for the offense from 2019-2021.

    Bruce Arians wasn’t wearing a headset on gamedays on the sidelines just so he could listen to Ozzy’s Boneyard on SiriusXM during games.

  9. Dooley Says:

    Well, when you go from the 2nd most explosive offense in football to an offense more likely to implode every week a year later, there are going to be some dips in individual/team production figures. Our 2022 sucked at everything, even high-leverage stuff like 3rd down, short-medium conversion rate, redzone scoring, and everything run game related was bottom third of the league in terms of rankings.

  10. Defense Rules Says:

    Joe … ‘But if the Bucs are truly sincere about competing for the division title, it seems obvious to Joe that Evans needs the ball in his hands more than last year.’

    Obviously I don’t understand the problem here Joe. Mike Evans got targeted 127 times last season in his 15 games (8.5 targets/ game). He caught 77 of those (5.1 catches/game). He managed to get 1124 total receiving yards. All 3 (targets, catches & total yards) were the most he had since Tom Brady came here in 2020. And his targets & catches were the most he had since 2018 … PRE-BA.

    ME13’s problem last year wasn’t that he was targeted too little. It was that his TDs were WAAAY down (to only 6 last year as opposed to 14 & 13 in 2021 & 2020). That despite the fact that his Yards/Target was roughly the same (8.9) as it had been in 2021 (9.1) and 2020 (9.2).

    We all know that he gets paid very well for what he does, but I think we over-use him. Mike logged 927 snaps on offense last season (88.6% of the plays in his 15 games). I’m sure that Mike’s in fantastic shape, but for a WR whose bread & butter is intermediate & deep routes, that’s an awful lot of running. Hard to imagine that it’d consistently be at top speed.

  11. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Before Brady, there was no Gronk and A Brown- and last year, Evans was double teamed regularly.

  12. Brandon Says:

    Evans is a great downfield threat and Brady refused to throw the ball down the field for most of last season. The blame lies mostly with Brady, some with Leftwich, and a little with the line… which is blamed for everything Brady refused to do… though Brady gets no blame for throwing a vast majority of his passes at or behind the line of scrimmage for the first three quarters of every game, no blame for being the most immobile QB in the league, and no blame for being absolutely predictable. When things were going great, Brady got 100% of the credit, when things were bad, it was everyone’s fault except Brady.

  13. CrackWise Says:

    Its funny how people say ME isnt that fast. Yet if you go to the games, he is consistently running by DBs. Last year was no exception.

    My biggest complaint is that he doesn’t get enough looks. ME has always been just like MOSS minus the first step acceleration.

    I suspect, this year he will have a QB that will be willing to give those 50/50s a shot. Unlike with JW however, the ball will come out within the timing of a given play vs a scramble or a heave and a prayer like all his previous QBs not named Brady.

    Sorta like Glennon actually. ME would have made Glennon a pro bowler. Use to love seeing his deep shots to ME. Just didn’t get to see it enough.

  14. Goatfarmer Says:

    Idjits is as idjits be. Boron be don’t.

  15. UKBuccaneer Says:

    Johnny football owes every dime he made to Mike Evans.

  16. sasquatch Says:

    The QB has to get it there. We’ll see if Bakyle Traskfield can do it.

  17. Goatfarmer Says:

    I’m going with Joe on this one. The results and logic support the premise.

    Data by itself, even with pontification, is just numbers.

  18. zzbucs Says:

    Joe says

    Think it is fairly clear who was really responsible for the offense from 2019-2021.

    I agree partially with this Joe, what about TB12 responsability?

    Wasn´t everybody , includuing you Joe, that qwhen BA step down, Bucs will play more a TB12 /Bellichick type of game? Short passes and run the ball, because that´s what TB 12 wanted?

    OK BL wasn´t good, but sooner or later everybody has to be honest about last year offense!!!

  19. Geno711 Says:

    If Evans only gets a few more thrown his way, I hope it is that wide receiver screen that Leftwich called to Godwin EVERY SINGLE GAME.

  20. Fred McNeil Says:

    Mike will have a fine year if TraskField can get him the ball. A competent third receiver would help too. Thomkins? Gage? Draft pick?

  21. Fred McNeil Says:


  22. Mike Says:

    Evans is a 50/50 jump ball guy who can win about 70/30. That’s part of his strength, but Brady was not a jump ball type of guy. He will get a lot more of those opportunities with whoever is the Bucs QB this season.

  23. unbelievable Says:


    I’ve keep yelling this til the day I die, but “good things happen when Evans gets targeted early and often. FEED THE BEAST!”

    (With that said, him and Brady were def off for about half of last season for whatever reason. I’m sure some of the blame falls on both of them.)

  24. Goatfarmer Says:

    Mike, you’re probably right. Baker will make those throws more often than Brady, sometimes at the expense of the “more successful option” in terms of efficiency. Jameis was like that. Lots of successes and lots of failures. Hopefully Canales gives Traskfield the proper coaching to cap the downside and expand the upside. What a good coach does. Something that Mefteurst never had to do with Brady and couldn’t do with Jameis.

    *meant Leftwurst but liked the misspelling.

  25. Kenny Says:

    I think Evans would get targeted more if he wasnt a low effort player. Evans quits on plays and jogs on routes when he believes he wont get the ball.

    Seriously, just watch Evans during a game. He runs soooo many lazy routes…. Jogs sooooo often.

    I believe when he isnt the primary target on a play, he jogs it out…. which probably costs him a ton of opportunities when the first option isnt available.

    Its quite easy to see on film.

  26. Rod Munch Says:

    There’s so many stupid people with awful takes in here, it’s truly remarkable how dumb most people are.

    I said when Brady got here, Mike wouldn’t get the ball as much as he used to. And it’s very easy to know why, Brady is going to make the easiest throw possible – while still moving the ball. Evans runs a lot of deep patterns, but he’s also rarely wide open. Now, where Evans excels is catching the ball regardless of coverage. That’s what makes him special, he doesn’t need to be open to catch the ball. But with Brady, he can process information so quickly, he’ll just scan the field to get to the open guy instead of forcing it.

    I completely understand why Brady does what he does, and he’s Tom Brady, you’re not going to second guess him. But with Mike, and Mike only, I wish Brady had a bit of Winston in him and just said, what the hell, and threw the ball to him regardless of coverage, regardless of if he’s open.

    With Mayfield, who throws a ton of picks, maybe they get back to that. Then again when Mayfield had Beckham, he wouldn’t throw him the ball, so who knows.

  27. Goatfarmer Says:

    Rod — maybe because Beckham was such a Dick with ears and Mike is a reverend by comparison…..

    I agree with your take on Brady and Mike.

  28. garro Says:

    Can’t get the ball to any WR if you are running for your life …see next article posted for more information on why Mike didn’t get more touches! Hint it wasn’t Old Man Brady!