Lay Off Mike Evans!

October 20th, 2023
Dave Canales

Bucs OC Dave Canales explains.

This week at One Buc Palace, folks were circling the wagons for the best receiver who has ever played for the Bucs, Mike Evans.

The man has a Hall of Fame resume. But this year he’s battling the dropsies. Last week against Detroit, he had another one.

So with fans starting to unsheathe their knives on Evans, the pen and mic club began asking Bucs folks about Evans.

Baker Mayfield, when asked about Evans’ up and down season, quickly pushed back. Mayfield said Evans is the last guy people need to worry about. In fact, Mayfield pulled the pin on a grenade and jumped on it saying he is as much to blame as Evans.

Yesterday, offensive coordiantor Dave Canales pretty much said not only is he not worried about Evans, he trusts that Evans will work his way out of his pseudo-slump.

“This is the best receiver I’ve ever been around,” Canales said. “As Mike continues to work through whatever those things are, I can’t imagine… He’s going to figure out a way to get through that. You can’t talk about a few drops without the fantastic plays that he’s made.

“You’re probably going to see us test out his leg and stamina. On that first play [against Detroit] where we got it tipped and it turned into an interception, he was going to have to see if he could go 90 yards and not get caught there.

“We’re going to continue to feature Mike. He’s going to be No. 1 in progressions a lot of times – [that is] just the way we’ve been building it. We’ll live with those plays.”

For a man who worked with DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and two-time Pro Bowler Doug Baldwin to say Evans is the best receiver he ever worked with, that is high praise.

It’s not like Joe hasn’t seen Evans struggle — and fight his way out it. Anyone remember the day former Bucs offensive coordinator/receivers coach Todd Monken came to town in 2016? When his friend Dirk Koetter hired him, Monken, now the offensive coordinator of the Crows, said Koetter gave him one very specific and direct order.

“Fix Mike Evans.”

Monken turned him into a Pro Bowler and probably a Hall of Fame receiver.

Joe isn’t sweating Evans. The man has so much street cred over nine-plus years, no way is Joe going to start hollering that Evans needs to be benched or de-emphasized from gameplans over a handful of drops.

Yeah, put Evans on the bench for Deven Thompkins, who on Sunday had four targets for negative-2 yards. That will do the trick. That will fix everything.

29 Responses to “Lay Off Mike Evans!”

  1. I remember 21 Says:

    While I’m not worried about Mike per se, he’s got to realize what these drops are doing to his demand for a huge new contract. Plenty of people have said it, $25-28M/yr receivers don’t drop those passes. They just don’t. Aside from sentiment, he was already asking for a lot given his age and injury history (few games every year, not major injuries). 1000 yards from a WR just isn’t what it used to be. I saw that scumbag hill in Miami is on pace for 2200 yards, geez. Also from what I’ve seen and heard, his demeanor was awful during the Lions game. Like he wanted to be somewhere else. I almost wonder if it’s self fulfilling at this point. Feel bad, play bad kind of thing. Not sure what he’s expecting, it’s gonna be harder the older you get.

  2. Defense Rules Says:

    Joe … ‘Yeah, put Evans on the bench for Deven Thompkins, who on Sunday had four targets for negative-2 yards. That will do the trick. That will fix everything.’

    And there-in lies a problem with teams like the Bucs Joe (Saints, Falcons & Panthers have a similar problem IMO). We’ve all got a few ‘stars’ (Bucs more than the other 3), but that’s not enough to win in the NFL. Important to have a bunch of ‘Steady Eddy’s’ in the rest of the lineup, but that’s not usually what you get with a young team.

    Most of the ‘youngsters’ are prone to ups-and-downs, just like in every profession. They’re inconsistent IOW. Thompkins (2-for-4 Sunday for Minus 2 yds) wasn’t the only one. Palmer went 2-for-7 for 47 yds (a 26 yarder & a 21-yarder). Vaughn went 0-for-2. But even our stars have bad days. ME13 went 4-for-10 Sunday. Just for those 4, that’s 8-for-23 … 15 incompletions right there. For a team that can’t run the ball, doesn’t look to me like performances like that will guarantee success.

    But what’s the common denominator there? The OC (play selection) & the QB (play execution). Only Mike Evans was charged with 1 dropped ball.

  3. garro Says:

    Wondering now who asked that ill advised question Joe.

    Somebody triyng to make some journalistic waves as soo many insist on doing these days is my bet.

    Go Bucs!

  4. bob in valrico Says:

    Just like a QB, who OC’s sometimes have get in a sync, I believe that will benefit Mike. I believe Mike’s catch radius can be better utilized if the ball is placed more in front and higher if necessary. Baker and Mike can hash that out.
    Canales can also call plays that use his skillset best. I would add more out routes
    to the sideline where his reach and footwork are an advantage.

  5. bob in valrico Says:

    I should add big body to that also, let him use it to get open and shield the ball fro m the defender.

  6. Duane Says:

    Fair weather immature fans, as always.

    I distinctly remember that in 2015, Mike Evans led the league in dropped balls … yet he still produced more yards than anyone on our offense putting up 1,206 yards. Winston was a rookie with only 58% completion rate, but ME was his go to guy for the big plays and third down conversions. Yet the same bonehead fans called for Evans to be CUT, believe it or not, because he lead the league in dropped balls.

    Well, Mike did drop fewer balls after that … but no matter what, Mike Evans is the guy who gets targeted more than anyone on contested or jump balls, relying upon his size, strength, and physicality to make catches. That naturally results in more drops than those by a speedster wide receiver who always gets wide open with few contested balls.

  7. BucU Says:

    This is a what have u done for me lately league and Evans has done nothing lately.

  8. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Time to light it up!!!……We have slow starts because the scripted plays are slow…plodding….designed to “try” to run….

    Just come out in the two minute offense and stay with it…..we need to build a lead to keep the Falcons running game contained.

  9. FortMyersDave Says:

    The cure for this problem? Just kick the crap out of the Dixie Chicks and hopefully ME will find the end zone along with Godwin! Winning usually silences the critics, at least until the Bucs travel to Buffalo the following Thursday.

  10. Dlavid Says:

    Evans has been slipping ! Remember that at negotiation time !

  11. Boss Says:

    dr says 1 drop
    bob says he should just do 10 yard curls (we could put any big body wr to run 10 yrds and turn around)
    duane admits mike gets fed the ball and drops, but the fans are idiots


    he been slippin for years, which is why I said we should have traded him several years ago when he had actual value. I respect what he has done for the team, but I don’t agree that he has given the team all this money reworking contracts, that he does it all for the team AND is owed being a lifetime buc, HOF…ring of honor probably yeah.

    let him walk though…especially if this is his best while playing for a contract

  12. orlbucfan Says:

    ME13 is the Bucs first HOF on offense. He’s also got a hammy driving him nuts. Canales and BM will put their heads together come Sunday regarding him, Godzilla, and the other receivers. This is only game SIX for this bunch, you impatient dimwits! Go Bucs!

  13. zzbuc Says:

    ME13 is one of the best Bucs ever!!Respect and Loyalty!!!

  14. rickym Says:

    Dropped passes happen to every wide receiver. However, Evans has a bit of history of dropping passes at critical junctures of the game. The drop against the Lions woyuld have given the Bucs a first down and would have helped the defense get some rest. Most of Evans’ “big” plays in his career result from h is pushing off the defender while the ball is in the air. Without that manuever he is unable to get seperation as he has slowed a step. Not saying he has been a great player for the Bucs but agents public demands and threatening a leave in free agency has not helped Mike Evans one but. Players need to be able to focus on the game only (See Tom Brady last season.) Of course you ride with this guy the rest of the season but next season I really don’t see him getting the big contract that his agent seeks.

  15. Bojim Says:

    Too many other worries.

  16. Marine Buc Says:

    @ I Remember 21

    I agree with your take…

    I like Mike Evans – he is one of my all time favorite Buc players. However – if he continues his current pace I would hope the Bucs let him test the free agent market before we overpay for his services.

    Mike Evans wants to be paid like a top 5 NFL receiver while playing nowhere near the quality of football of the top 5 paid receivers… Not even close.

    11-13% drop rate (depending on where you look) is not going to get him the contract he desires.

  17. Marine Buc Says:

    I would offer Mike Evans a 3 year deal worth @ $50M – $30M guaranteed.

    Take it or leave it.

  18. Marine Buc Says:

    This offense needs a REAL running back and a REAL tight end and a better starting center more than we need two aging overpaid wide receivers…

  19. SlyPirate Says:

    We’re hyper-focused on Evans because …
    1. It’s a contract year and we want to keep him
    … but
    2. He’s demanding top dollar

    DON’T FEEL BAD FOR MIKE. He put the spotlight on himself. Unfortunately, he’s proving to be a liability. He’s dropping critical TD and 1sts. #1’s produce when it matters. They don’t just get garbage time stats for personal records.

    It’s heartbreaking knowing this probably is his last year with the Bucs.

  20. Duane in Sanford Says:

    The guy is so steady and consistent that we take him for granted after 10 seasons.

  21. Defense Rules Says:

    Marine Buc … ‘I would offer Mike Evans a 3 year deal worth @ $50M – $30M guaranteed. Take it or leave it.’

    Mike Evans just turned 30 & will want a long-term contract for a good chunk of change. He’s still an exceptional receiver if used IAW the skillset he brings to the table IMO. He won’t ‘fit’ in every offensive scheme though (BA’s Bombs Away attack scheme fit Mike perfectly), more because of the QB & OC than anything else.

    I’d prefer that JL let him test the water at the end of the season. Personally I think that’s been JL’s intention all along (and why Mike doesn’t already have a next contract), but with the proviso that we can match it (IF Mike really wants to stay a Buc).

    JL will have his hands full next year trying to figure out how to feed Wirfs, Winfield, White, McLaughlin, possibly LVD, possibly Mayfield plus several others (like Greg Gaines). I have no doubt that it’ll necessitate not re-signing a couple of FA veterans (we have 14 UFAs total in 2024) and/or releasing several early (in their option year) to save money (Davis, Shaq & Gage are prime candidates to get launched early to save money). Very delicate balancing act IMO since those senior guys represent a big part of our team leadership.

  22. Marine Buc Says:

    @ DR

    “and/or releasing several early (in their option year) to save money (Davis, Shaq & Gage are prime candidates to get launched early to save money).”

    This is interesting… I didn’t think Davis would be let go but with the elevated play of Zyon McCullom and the surprise addition of Christian Izien I believe it is a possibility.

    Cutting Davis post June 1 will cost the Bucs $6.5M in dead cap but will save the Bucs @ $14M of cap space.

    Personally I would sign Wirfs to a long term deal and cut his 2024 cap # down to @ $12M and save another $6M by adding a few VOID years to his deal.

    Then I would sign Winfield, LVD, McLaughlin, Gains and Feiler.

    Let White and Evans test the free agent market and match the best offer they get if it is reasonable.

    Too early to tell what to do with Baker Mayfield. As of right now I am 50/50 on it. I see some things I don’t like but I am willing to give him the rest of the season in order to judge.

  23. bob in valrico Says:

    Never mind ,you would probably misinterpret my response.

  24. J Says:

    We should’ve traded ME years ago? Dumbest sh!t I’ve heard ALL DAY.

  25. BradyGronk Fan Says:

    $50 million for 3 years is fair imo given his age and playing level. 60 million tops if ME balls out, that’s top 10. For most of Mike Evans career he has been a top 10 to 5 receiver. He’s never been a top 3.

  26. BradyGronk Fan Says:

    As for ME drops. I don’t think that is anything new. He had a bunch of drops last year too. In 2020, 2021, and 2022 with Brady, they only operated at 90%. Whether it’s drops or miscommunication, they just couldn’t take it to the next level as a tandem (like Devante Adams and Aaron Rodgers).

    But before Brady, Evans had a fairly low catch rate for a star receiver at less than 55%(his catch rate with Brady is a respectable 64%). This tells me that Evans has always had issues with drops even accounting for bad or inaccurate QBs.

    So I’m not sure why many is piling on Evans, he’s always played like this. I want him to get that next level (top 3) but he’s never shown he can, even with Brady.

  27. DavidBigBucsFan99 Says:

    People saying he has lost a step, where and when people? He still gets behind defense and is our best deep threat. He catches 60-80 passes a year and you nitpick 6-8 drops per year. As good as Chris Godwin is Evans still out performs him.

  28. 74 Bucs Fan Says:

    Regarding Izian, he is a safety, not a corner. I’ve heard several people suggest he replace Dean or Davis – apples and oranges.

  29. TampabayDJ Says:

    @Duane & @Duane in Stanford – I agree with both Duanes !! Mike Evans is the last person who we should talk poorly about . Also the last person who I would call the problem. He’s the SOLUTION if anything ! Throw it to him 15 times a game and see what happens ! Go Bucs and Mike Evans