Todd Bowles: Mike Evans Must Get The Ball

May 31st, 2023

Red zone scoring.

Last year you knew there was something off-kilter about the Bucs offense when the greatest receiver in franchise history, Mike Evans, only had a half-dozen touchdowns.

It was Evans’ third-fewest touchdowns in a season in his exceptional nine-year career. And Tom Brady was his quarterback. Something about that was damn wrong.

Asked yesterday about Evans and touchdowns, Bowles made it clear so few targets to Evans for scores cannot repeat if the Bucs hope to get a playoff berth.

Evans was targeted just 14 times inside the 20 yard line last season, four behind team leader Russell Gage.

“We’ve got to make that a priority, obviously,” Bowles said. “I think we made it a priority last year – sometimes it was shut down, sometimes we just misread it here and there, whether it was on the receiver, the [quarterback] or offensive linemen.

“We’ve got to get better in that area in getting him the football. We know he’s a threat and we know he’s a great player, so we’ve got to constantly find ways – not just him, but Chris [Godwin] as well – we’ve got to find ways to get those guys the ball.”

The Bucs were poor last year bordering on bad in scoring touchdowns once they got into the red zone.

Per, the Bucs were No. 26 in red zone touchdowns scored.

Given that Evans only caught six touchdown passes, three of which came in one game (a home win against the Stinking Panthers), Joe can easily connect the dots that Evans’ lack of targets in the red zone resulted in a sputtering red zone offense.

13 Responses to “Todd Bowles: Mike Evans Must Get The Ball”

  1. SufferingSince76 Says:

    Was Todd Bowles not capable of directing last year’s OC to get the ball to Evans more often? He acts like he’s at the mercy of the other coaches.

  2. BA’s Red Pen Says:

    ME didn’t score as many touchdowns because the quarterback didn’t want to get hit and didn’t let plays develop. I sat in that stadium for every game and I promise you ME was running wide ass open all last season but the quarterback was to busy seeing ghosts.

  3. Kgh4life Says:


    Todd Bowles also wanted the previous OC to scheme better run plays, it didn’t happen. In fact the offense as a whole took a giant step back. Which is why the Bucs brought in another OC. The headcoach can demand something doesn’t mean it will happen.

  4. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    I saw a chart that showed the leading receivers in the NFL, and guess who was on Top ?
    If you said Julio Jones you would be correct.
    Mike Evans is number 3, but can catch Julio with a good season or two.
    Teams are doubling Mike Evans, and we no longer have Antonio Brown to take attention away from him.

  5. Flowmaster Buc Says:

    Mike Evans, a beast on the sideline, no doubt
    Catchin’ passes like lightning, he’s breakin’ ’em out
    Runnin’ routes with precision, he’s a weapon unleashed
    In the endzone, he’s scorin’, leavin’ defenses deceased

    Trask droppin’ dimes, he’s the future, no lie
    With a cannon for an arm, watch ’em all fly
    Steppin’ up to the challenge, leadin’ the way
    Bucs gonna dominate, nothin’ standin’ in their way

  6. Aceofaerospace Says:

    Leftover not fired at the bye week was Bowles downfall. I still think it will end in Bowels demise at the end of the season. Playoffs are is only chance to save his job, IMHO.

  7. Brandon Says:

    It’s hard to get targets to one of the league’s best intermediate to deep receivers when the QB absolutely refused to throw intermediate and deep passes. We will be better this season on offense due to Brady’s retirement. Just because he threw for some junk yards and didn’t throw INTs, he was still the 18th highest rated QB in the NFL… and led probably the worst NFL offense. What’s the saying about insanity? Doing something that doesn’t work and keep doing it and expecting better results? That was Brady and his smoke screen game last season… it was ineffective in week 1 and just became more and more ineffective as the season went on.

  8. sasquatch Says:

    But but but wait… I thought Bowles didn’t want to throw the ball, and was going old school ground and pound… what? You mean that narrative was just a bunch of nonsense? Hmmm, I see. So Bowles does want to throw the ball and use our best playmakers?

  9. Dlavid Says:

    Tom Brady was a liability last year. I love the guy and what he did for this team, but it is just a plain fact . His personal life problems, and his age deteriorated his game. No mobility, and the fear of being hit brought him down to just average. He was fantastic the first two years but his third year here helping the team down. As I’ve stated in the recent podcast, Mike seemed a little diss interested and had a down year also and I’m sure there are plenty of reasons for it. Hopefully Baker can’t be what we need.

  10. Jerseybuc Says:

    My daughter who knows nothing about football asked me a few times last year why don’t the Bucs throw the ball to Evans more often. Seems obvious to most of us that you should spread the field and try to get Evans a favorable matchup inside the 20. If Todd is saying this now he must have felt the same way last year, which leads me to believe that either TB12 or Leftwich were making the decisions not to target Mike more.

  11. unbelievable Says:

    No running game + mediocre o-line + an immobile, 45 yo QB who didn’t wanna get hit = crappy red zone production.

    I’ve said this probably a million times, and I’ll say it 1 million more:


  12. Rod Munch Says:

    Evans is special because it doesn’t matter if he’s covered or not, he’s going to catch the ball or make sure the other team doesn’t catch the ball (most of the time). That’s one area where I wish Brady would have been more loose with throwing the ball – but obviously Brady is the GOAT and my opinion means nothing, but still, if Brady had been more willing to just say, ‘screw it’ had a little more Winston in him, Evans would have been leading the league in yards and TDs.

  13. optimisticbucsfan Says:

    I feel like bad things happen when we force the ball to anyone.