Smartest Way To Use Mike Evans?

April 18th, 2023

Misusing Mike Evans.

Yeah, it was this bad.

Joe noted over the weekend based on data from Sharp Football Analysis that the Bucs were anything but an explosive offense last season, the very antithesis of a no-risk-it; no-biscuit offense (which worked quite well for the three previous seasons).

Last year only one team in the NFL had fewer touchdowns of 10 or more yards, and that was the Steelers who handed the Bucs such an embarrassing loss.

The information below may be a reason why the Bucs had problems scoring unless they were deep in their opponent’s real estate. Warren Sharp, the noted handicapper turned stathead, documented that only one player ran more go-routes last year than Mike Evans.


Look, Joe may be the biggest Mike Evans fan, but for him to have the second-most go routes run in the league is downright irresponsible. Evans isn’t a burner, though on occasion he can burn corners (Joe waves at Jalen Ramsey).

On the list of receivers who ran the most go-routes, the vast majority are burners, guys who take the top off of defenses.

This is yet another piece of evidence that the Bucs offense was led by an incompetent. If SpongeBob wanted to run so many go-routes, why not (try) to use Jaelon Dardon or Devin Thompkins? At least those guys have the wheels to get past dudes.

But the second-most in the league for Evans? That’s simply not having a clue how to maximize your talent.

31 Responses to “Smartest Way To Use Mike Evans?”

  1. Bucsfanman Says:

    What a joke! And it’s why Leftwich was shown the door.

    I knew he ran a lot of “go routes” last year but this is crazy. Big physical WRs need the ball in stride in open spaces with the occasional fade route to the endzone.
    Makes sense now as to why TB12 and Mike weren’t on the same page.

  2. Dre bucs fan Says:

    It’s simple, he’s open down the field, i witnessed several times at our home games Tom Brady just simply missing Mike evans down the field and blaming him for running the wrong route! Sadly i believe Mike evans maybe washed up this year but hopefully not for our sake lol

  3. Voice of Truth Says:

    The go to ME play is the flood left or right – RB to the flat, TE a down and out, ME a 20 yard come back – literally unstoppable when you look to the rb or te and get the LB to come up

    Dirk and Jameis made a living with this, Byron was confused by the concept

  4. Knucknbuc Says:

    Best way to use mike evans is the same as I screamed at my tv and in stadium all year “throw mike evans the ball!!!!” Literally everytime we’d start to do this good things would happen.. first downs tds big plays…etc etc. Looks like lefty was either too useless or had no clue how to figure that out. We’ll see if Dave canales can I have my doubts with his supposed run 1st 2nd 3rd down mentality I keep hearing is actually that because I hope not. Mikes a big play maker. Give him the ball and big plays happen. Not that complicated or complex

  5. Dooley Says:

    All those WRs are big bodied WRs that can make contested catches and turn 50/50 balls to 60/40 opportunities or in Evans’ case draw a PI call. I’d rather that than send him over the middle of the field from the 2nd level on and giving defenders a 6’5 target to separate the ball from. We’ve witnessed Evans take some shots on account running routes that took him over the top of the middle-third of the field.

    Also lol @Joe wanting to send the shortest WRs we’ve got on Go routes that could very well turn into jump ball for guys that are about 5’9-’10ish. Sounds like a recipe for INTs that could work on occasion, but you’re tipping your hand when you use 1-2 players repeatedly for the same thing. Scotty Miller was that guy, until he wasn’t anymore, but we all also know how Brady felt about playing with younger, inexperienced WRs, but sure it was all Leftwich lol.

  6. Bucsfan13 Says:

    Receivers and QBs needs to be on the same page, especially when the team runs a lot of option routes. Often times people blame the receiver when it was the QB’s fault and vice versa. I love Mike to death. He will go down as one the greatest ever to put on a Bucs uniform. He most undoubtedly will be in the HOF. However, Mike has lost a step and struggles to separates at times. He also has a tendency to give up on routes. He did it with Winston who was blamed for some picks, but it was really Mike’s fault. The film and numbers show the lack of selection to be true. Did Brady miss him on multiple occasions last year? Sure. Every damn QB in the league misses throws. That shouldn’t be the death of an offense. The offense sucked so bad, so that every poorly thrown ball felt like end of the world.

    On the Manningcast, during the last game against Dallas, Dan Campbell was a guest and he commented that the Bucs need to move Evans around the formation and use him in the slot. How embarrassing is that a HC from another team to point out this obvious solution. He also said we couldn’t run the ball effectively and stayed behind the sticks. Campbell had to be pissed watching our incompetent team in the playoffs when his Lions would’ve put up a better fight. I will say I loved the Lions’ offense last year.

  7. CrackWise Says:

    Its funny cause it doesn’t matter what route he runs; Mike is always open.

    Rare WRs boast this innate ability. Just need a QB that is not gonna force the play to him.

    Meaning, you mix up when you’re looking Mikes way. Randomly make him one of your 3 reads. If he is always read number one the D will set traps for the QB. BUT if the D is guessing when you’re looking at ME. When you do throw to him, Mike will make a play for the ball and good things will happen.

    Kyler Traskfield will be better than Tom in this regard. Tom aged out, he was to scared to hang in the pocket last year.

  8. CrackWise Says:


    Not arguing with you for the sake of it BUT Mike losing a step is not a thing. If anything, Mike ran to many route that the ball was clearly never going to be thrown to him.

    THAN, like by some random ticker in Brady and JWs head, the would heave a pass to Mike in triple coverage and expect Mike to be ready. Which for the most part would work. IF MIKE HAD NOT JUST RAN 30 plays and been completely ignored.

    But I have watched Mike run past DBs and get wide open for years. NOTHING has changed to this point, EXCEPT his QBs.

    It will be interesting to see how Mike preforms if they limit his “decoy routes”.

  9. Allen Lofton Says:

    Coaching is the difference between a winning season versus a losing season. Give me coaching and smart players. The Patriots didn’t have the best players but they were well coached and had TB.

  10. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Mike Evans is a possession receiver….pure & simple…..use him like we used Keyshawn Johnson to get first downs……send him on an occasional go route to keep defenses honest.

  11. Dooley Says:

    Miikes’ been able to preserve himself not playing in the slot, you can still bring him over the middle third of the field, but you also run the risk of giving safeties and nickels in the middle of the field a good shot at a 6’5 target and we’ve seen the downside of that in the past few seasons. Also, 2022 was our least healthy year in the WR the past 4 seasons and while most all of our other WRs missed time, Evans had to hold the threat of being a boundary WR down all by himself.

    Add to that the jittery QB play from the pocket, the fast release that wasn’t necessarily always a good thing and you’ve got the makings for lapse in the synchronicity/synergy it takes for a passer-catcher relationship to really flourish. Our WRs also dropped a ton of passes last year as well, which definitely didn’t help things.

    Also Joe, you don’t take your short fast guys and send them on a bunch of go route, look at that list again, all of those WRs listed are big bodied, big target, moderately fast WRs that are hard to contest for jump or 50/50 balls. If that weren’t the case Scotty Miller could’ve ate plenty last season.

  12. Brandon Says:

    Most of you guys commenting and slamming the team don’t pay attention and have low football IQ. Evans has ALWAYS run a ton of go routes… ALWAYS! No, Evans isn’t a burner but as you have all seen, he wins a ton of contested balls. Look at his career numbers for yards per catch, he is a deep ball receiver, we all know he offers very little after the catch. He has a career average yards per catch of 15.3, you think he’s done that by turning slants into big gains? No, he runs go routes, he runs deep comebacks, he runs deep outs, posts, and post corner routes. The biggest difference between last year and years past is that Brady lost his nerve (or confidence in his arm, or both) and refused to throw the ball beyond the line of scrimmage during the first three quarters of every game. Evans was running the routes, but nobody threw him the ball… and since when is Evans being covered a deep route gonna keep him from catching it? How about never? The dude is the king of the 50/50 balls and that’s why he is a deep threat.

  13. DungyDance Says:

    We’ll never find out, but I’d love to know why Arians kept defending Leftwich and promoting his alleged football IQ. Arians was always known for not sugar coating situations and for his brutal honesty (remember his comments after Brady’s first game in New Orleans). Maybe he didn’t want to admit a mistake in judgement here. I really don’t think it was a cultural thing. But it was always very strange, in the face of the obvious evidence we all had to endure last season.

  14. Lord Cornelius Says:

    It was a tough year after a 2 year glory run. IMO the failures came down to a combination of 3 factors

    1. BA Leaving / fully turning over the offensive reigns/game management to a more conservative HC and an OC that didn’t have a good feel for maximizing the team talent or adjusting what wasn’t working.

    2. The O-line being decimated with injuries which destroyed the run game / play action we had success with in prior years.

    3. Brady finally declining / losing at least the eliteness edge.

    If we had a #4 it’d be losing Shaq Barret vs having Barret / JPP / solid edge rushing in the prior seasons.

    I was at the Dallas playoff loss. I remember thinking Brady was done the moment he threw an INT in the end zone. Brady NEVER does that. He had like one of the most historically low INT rates in the red zone. And it was a HUGE interception.

    We were about to take the lead 7-6, and instead we then went into a 2 TD hole and it was like here we go again. Up to that point the defense had forced 2 punts and given up 1 TD drive. After that INT they didn’t get a stop and we got destroyed.

    And I think we’d been putting ourselves in holes like that all year and it was just never sustainable. Could have been a 5 or 6 win season if not for all the late game crazy sh** we saw lol.

  15. Infomeplease Says:

    Looking forward to a change in how the entire offense is used! Should be more exciting at a minimum! That’s not saying much is it!

  16. David Says:

    I really hope that she was BL and not Bowles.

    That offense was absolutely atrocious. It seems like they had 4 plays… Run, dump it off, WR screen, send Mike deep.
    There really was no medium passing game at all. In a matter of months, they went from one of the best in the game to completely disappearing.

  17. Goatfarmer Says:

    Leftwurst do what he did, you know, he be did trying to win a fooball game, so he did what they do. And he done be’d don’t.

  18. Bucsfan13 Says:

    @Crackwise Yes, blame it all on Winston and Brady.

  19. Bucsfan13 Says:

    I hate when fans complain about Mike not being targeted all every play. It’s ridiculous. There are other receivers on the team besides Mike. Fans think Mike is open all the time. That’s not true, and there are times when he’s not the first read. I love Evans, but he’s not without fault. He even admitted last year that he struggled with separation! Joe has posted the analytics to support it. People need to stop pretending that Mike is on the level of Davante Adams in being a technician at the WR position.

    On another note, I think we have a Leftwich plant on the board. I won’t mention any names, but dude suffers from TBDS.

  20. Coburn Says:

    Yeah needs more routes between the hash marks (worked wonderfully when done) and coming back to the qb (did a lot under Koetter). What I saw last year was in second halfs or games Evans was exhausted. Anyone would running down field all game and then sprinting back to the huddle on incomplete or short passes. Let alone such a bit bodied guy

  21. Bojim Says:

    A short fast receiver needs to be Cheetah Hill.

  22. Craig Says:

    Evans is best when allowed to find the first down marker and post up, like a center in round ball.

    Half of his receptions from there make another 10 yards when he slips away from the DB who over committed.

    He is not a “go” receiver unless you want him to miss 6 games with a bad hamstring.

  23. gotbbucs Says:

    Had nothing to do with trying to get the ball to him on those routes. I’m sure most of them were just outside release dummy routed to draw coverage
    Every offense does that with their best recievers.

  24. Rod Munch Says:

    How about using Scotty Miller, who is allegedly the fastest guy on your team, to run those routes? Instead that idiot Leftwich would have Scotty, who is fast but NOT quick, running screens and end arounds where he almost always did nothing.

    As for Mike, the entire deal is that it doesn’t matter if he’s covered or not, you just throw him the ball if it’s 1-on-1 and he’s either going to catch it, or knock it down. However, that wasn’t Brady’s game, and obviously, that’s no knock on Brady, but the two were never that great of a match in terms of style.

  25. 1#bucsfan Says:

    That’s just absurd. Really glad Byron is not coaching the offense anymore. I hope DC can get the most out of ME13 CG14 RW1 n otton. There’s a lot of talent there n we should be lighting up defenses at will. Really makes me believe that BA was really the one running the offense n not BL

  26. Duane Says:

    ME13 was used to suck the double coverage away from the play, and Lefty called it 3rd chess. Evans was made into the ultimate decoy once it was apparent that Brady wasnt going to get him the ball. Too bad the rest of the league knew that as well. An adjustment should have been made earlier in the season to feed him earlier and more often. Get him his 1000 yards earlier in the season, and let the rest of the team build from there. This team should be able to score more than 20pts a game regardless of Baker or Trask. I am becoming more optimistic about the notion of addition by subtraction. Lets Go!

  27. Cover deuce Says:

    I know you guys wanna pin all of it on Leftwich but Bruce used him this way a lot and they won a SB, so, as always the stat paints an incomplete picture. Their lack of success was much more to do with:
    -Lack of play action. They had one of the most efficient PA passing games last yr and yet were near the bottom of the league in using it.
    -A poorly schemed run game. Leftwich specifically talked about how this hurt the PA passing but that just speaks to how backwards their approach was. Notably, I believe this is where Bowles really factors into the failures on offense.
    -Ultimately sloppy execution. Tom and Mike notably missed on a bunch of those plays last year after being pretty successful prior years. Regression to the mean is what happens when you’re using your best player on low percentage plays like that *all the time*

  28. JeffreyLane77 Says:

    I can see this team using Evans as a big target over the middle intermediate routes. Like maybe run a slant route for God’s sake. He’s a big body that can muscle a catch in traffic. Using him for go routes was a poor offensive strategy. Almost like they used Evans as a decoy. I would like seeing him line up in the slot on 3rd downs.

    Evans has always been money with the over the outside shoulder catch running down the sideline. If we don’t have a QB that can make that throw. Then maybe Evans could be used similar to Cooper Kupp. Evans isn’t a speed demon so go routes aren’t something that plays to his strengths. Will somebody please figure out a way to scheme our HOF wide receiver open. Jeez!!!

  29. JeffreyLane77 Says:

    Why was this offense even running go routes? It wasn’t like this offense had time to let that type of play develop last year. It’s maddening to think about. Not to mention the guy running the go route isn’t fast enough to speed past the CB in the first place. It’s lose lose all around.

  30. steele Says:

    Given his terrible attitude through most of the season, Evans should be traded. That would be the thing to do in a reset. Despite his popularity, despite all the reasons you loved him in the past, jaded veterans who mentally check out, even a little bit, should not be tolerated.

  31. garro Says:

    The best way to use Mike Evans is already known!
    See Brady and or the W eater tape from previous seasons!
    Now the best way to make that happen?
    Not the New Improved Canales offense in my opinion.
    Gonna get him and Godwin murdered…..Unless this horrendous O-line from last year improves drastically they won’t be throwing long or intermediate routes again this year.