“We’re Probably Starting To Hit Our Stride”

December 17th, 2023

Mike Evans dishes on offensive explosion.

After the game, Joe got a chance to talk with future Hall of Famer Mike Evans about the best Bucs’ offensive game since a Santa Claus-looking guy with a foul vocabulary, a taste for Canadian whiskey and a bold offensive mind ran the team.

So Joe and Evans were chopping it up talking offense in the Bucs locker room when Evans said something that really hit home with Joe.

Given that the offense blew up today, Joe was trying to find out what happened this week. Did Bucco Bruce Arians, who is on the Bucs’ payroll, have a teleconference with Bucs offensive coordinator Dave Canales?

Did Canales finally have an epiphany and realize he has some of the best passing weapons in all of football?

Or has Packers defensive coordinator Joe Barry simply morphed into one of the worst defensive coaches in the game?

Evans told Joe that even though it is just days away from Christmas, the Bucs are still learning the nuances of Canales’ offense. Canales is also still learning the Bucs.

(Notice Canales had Godwin playing more slot today? Just like Godwin did with Bucco Bruce Arians when the Bucs had one of the best offenses in the NFL? And today the Bucs’ offense blew up. Coincidence? Joe doesn’t believe in coincidences.)

“At the end of the day, this is still new,” Evans said. “This is Dave’s first year with us. We’re probably starting to hit our stride. Hope we can keep it going.”

This isn’t crazy talk. Go back to 2019 for some evidence but on the other side of the ball.

When Arians first arrived, bringing Todd Bowles with him as defensive coordinator, Bowles had a massive job in front of him. The Bucs were simply atrocious defensively.

Bowles and the new defense had few if any ups but many downs. Late in the season Bowles’ pass defense was getting lit up like Mike Smith never left town.

In the second-last game of the season just before Christmas, the Bucs hosted Deshaun Watson, DeAndre Hopkins and playoff-bound Houston. Both Watson and Hopkins were at the top of their games.

The Bucs (Carlton Davis) held Hopkins to just 23 yards receiving and no touchdowns in his All-Pro season. While the Bucs gave up over 300 yards passing, the Bucs only lost 23-20 against a very good team. You could see signs the defense was turning the corner.

Today with four games left in the regular season with a first-year offensive coordinator, the Bucs exploded for 452 yards of offense and 34 points. On the road. In wet and cold Green Bay.

Maybe today was a turning point?

40 Responses to ““We’re Probably Starting To Hit Our Stride””

  1. adam from ny Says:

    man oh man if we can thump jacksonville at home next sunday…

    then we’ve got something really brewing

  2. Rod Munch Says:

    In the 3rd quarter, with the Bucs having the lead, when I looked at the box score they had 10 more passes than rushes.

    Today they seemed to open things up a little – and we saw a big improvement. Also, it helps if your QB has a career day, that makes everyone look amazing.

    But the play calling was just flat out better today. Perhaps Bowles was working with the defense this week and left the offense alone.

  3. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We had a pretty clean game today……..

    I can only recall 4 penalties.

    False start, holding on Offense

    Offsides, DPI on defense…

    Correct me if I’m wrong…..not sure……but very clean nonetheless.

  4. adam from ny Says:

    ^^^^^ agreed……and also bowles was really ballzy today – from the minute he hopped outta bed

  5. adam from ny Says:

    also i thought rachaad should have ran that end of game big run in for a touchdown…

    would have given him 100 yards on the day… and a 41-20 lead that gb was not coming back against – with like 3 minutes left

  6. Tbbucs3 Says:

    Also pretty cool that if the Bucs do make the playoffs, the team theyd be playing is down to Buffalo 31-3…the Cowboys are not world beaters.

  7. Allbuccedup Says:

    Ok take notes when we play cowboys run run run and we will advance

  8. Buckeyebuckchuck Says:

    Good time to hit your stride. If they can enter the playoffs with a hot hand it might get interesting.

  9. DavidBigBucsFan99 Says:

    I felt the same way Adam woulda been nice he deserved it had a great day

  10. Jmarkbuc Says:


    I third that.

    No reason not to run it in.

  11. SBucs Says:

    I think this game was a the perfect storm for the Bucs. Joe Barry is/was/has been a terrible defensive coordinator. For some unseen reason the Bucs offense kicked-in the second half. Almost as if they adjusted at halftime (unheard of before today).
    And Baker stood on his head (using a hockey term)… on to next week and another test of Todd and Doofus.

  12. Jack Clark Says:

    Thank you for scoring more than two touchdowns today Lord Mayfield

  13. Tbbucs3 Says:

    RW1 didnt have a clear path to endzone on that run he had 3 guys breathing down his neck….best to just go down to avoid injury.

  14. Winny Testaverde Says:

    Hack Lark…having just joined the 135lb. bench press club…comes on strong.

  15. Usfbuc Says:

    This was the first complete game of the season. The offense actually looked like everyone knew what they were doing. Offensive line looked solid which always helps everything. If they can finish the season like this then I feel really good about next season.

  16. Gipper Says:

    All you Baker Mayfield “experts” should have been asking Mike Evans all along what he thinks of Baker? After all he might have some insight having played 3 years with Brady GOAT. Didn’t matter to the Baker haters they know more than Mike. Looks like Evans will have one of his greatest seasons with Mayfield. Why ask a future Hall of Famer when yew have so many commentators here who know so much about NFL quarterback play?

  17. BUCS SQUAT Says:

    You think it might have had more to do with using up as much time as possible and prevent the possibility of a fumble?

  18. Miller5252 Says:

    15 weeks and they’re just getting the offense??? Idk if I believe that, but let’s hope they’re right. 15 weeks to figure out how to get Godwin involved with Evans??? I guess if they learn that this needs to be weekly maybe there’s hope. If they can do 30+ points for the next couple of weeks Bowles may save his job

  19. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Rachaad White is a good football player…..

    I don’t think he really had a chance of scoring……played smart…….eat clock, don’t fumble, stay healthy……all was good.

  20. SB~LV Says:

    I’m waiting to see the speed WR’s get more targets. Thompkins is tough as nails and probably has the best open field moves with a ball in his hands.
    Dear Santa

  21. Citrus County Says:

    It has been ugly and perplexing at times for sure. The Licht, Bowles, Canales relationship seems to be gelling. JTS getting demoted helped. #45 seems to be a cancer on this team and not worthy of playing and certainly not being a captain. Benching him had to be an agreement between Licht and Bowles and maybe even the Glazers and now the team is playing like a unified team. The misery seems to have started after the Philly beatdown and the bye week but the problems seem to be being resolved. Evans is no longer dropping easy passes. Penalties have improved. So what changed :
    1. Someone made a decision to deal with JTS and #45 ( two very high draft picks ).
    2. Someone unleashed Dave Canales.
    3. 1&2 have seem to have instilled confidence in the players and improved morale
    and play.
    4. Dean and Davis are proving to not be all that necessary and overpaid.

    We MUST win 2 of 3 to make 9&8 at which point we will be mediocre, my biggest concern. If we win out, 10&7 will make it easy for the Glazers. In my view, ride with what we have and build on it. A compensatory pick for #45 and some good trades along with a decent draft, resigning Evans AND Mayfield give us the best chances for the future. I hope the Glazers don’t blow it up unless we collapse in the next 3 games.

  22. infomeplease Says:

    Great win. This is the right time of the year to put it all together!! Next week is the next big game!

  23. orlbucfan Says:

    I’m still smiling cos I was one of the positive fans getting fed up with the negative BS on this site. It’s supposed to be a Bucs FAN site. Are u kidding? Btw, I picked Bucs to win.

  24. Tampabaybucfan Says:


    Lots of luck trying to change that behavior.

    I’ll admit to being a bit negative on Bowles……trying to give Devin White the benefit of the doubt.

    I root for all Buc players to succeed…..

  25. Buc1987 Says:

    Gipper you’re a strange one…

    How do WE ask Mike Evans? Email him?

  26. Alvin Scissors Harper Says:

    At least we’re seeing improvement week to week. No more talk about tanking, which I was guilty of as well. Let’s see what this team is capable of. We have a good shot at the division, with a winning record. Dallass is not all that. Neither is Philthydelphia.

  27. Gipper Says:


    Mike Evans has been asked repeatedly this season about Baker and says things like “ tough, moxie, great arm.” You haven’t been listening to interviews when he has been asked? You believe want you want to believe. John Dorsey picked Mayfield for Browns. That guy really knows talent. Never doubted Baker. His career mistake was trying to play the entire 2021 season with a shoulder injury. He didn’t whine about it or complain, just played. The whining about Mayfield has come from many on this site. Most of the whiners were backups on the JV high school team. They don’ t know any more about real football than they do about fornication.

  28. steele Says:

    Gipper, where were you through all of Evans’ whining through the Brady era, the mental space-outs, giving up, and all acknowledged by watchers who saw a lack of great communication between the two. This season, with contracts and other issues coming to a head, they bring in Canales who “of course” feeds Evans, and Mayfield and Evans are much better than Evans was with Brady. Case dismissed. Godwin was Brady’s guy, and Godwin’s own whining last week forced Canales to finally unleash him, and your results today speak for themselves.

    This was a game between two losing teams at 6-7, both average and inconsistent, and GB was worse, while Bucs had a better one. Overreactions in all directions. Many thought the Packers and Love were superhuman when they beat the hell out of the Chiefs a few weeks ago. Today? Chumps.

  29. Mark hardt Says:

    The Battle for Florida will be fun. Dolphins in the S

  30. 1#bucsfan Says:

    Rod I thought the same thing or bowels finally took the handcuffs off canales. Ever since Bowles took over as head coach the offense went from first to worst. All season we’ve gotten the same production out of the O that leftwhich did. I truly believe Bowles is the reason we have had a terrible offense the past 2 years. Go back and look even before BA came in when we had koetter we had a good offense we had no prob putting up points. BA comes in and we got better then Brady and boom then Bowles and down we go. I hope Bowles let’s canales call plays like he did today going forward

  31. unbelievable Says:

    Evans was whining during Brady’s time here?

    Need to me. Gonna need a link or source for that tall tale…

  32. unbelievable Says:

    *news to me

  33. Mike C Says:

    Rod? What about your prediction?

  34. BradyGronk Fan Says:

    No Evans was not whining but there were times where Brady and Evans were frustrated with each other.

    When Brady also had Gronk, AB, Godwin, and Fournette, Evans was just one guy out of a committee of great players. Then when it was just Godwin, Evans, and a declining Fournette, Godwin was the main target.

  35. firethecannons Says:

    Honestly the Jags look very bad tonight–no rhythm to the offense, Trevor Lawrence needs to tone it down a notch, too amped up up. Our defense could probably work against this team

  36. unbelievable Says:

    Yea I was being sarcastic… they got out of sync for a bit last year but of course Evans wasn’t whining. Anyone trying to claim there was friction between him
    and Brady is full of s(p)it.

    Also Evans had more touchdowns than Godwin all 3 season, more yards during 2 of those 3 seasons, and more receptions / targets 1 of them. It was never about one or the other being the “main target”. Brady throws to who is open and will take the safe pass over the 50/50 ball every time.

  37. la48 Says:

    We beat a mediocre team with a losing record today. I’ll believe the Bucs have turned the corner if they can win against Jacksonville. Otherwise, they are still just a squad capable of beating middling opponents.

  38. unbelievable Says:

    Ah come on- we can give them some props for the win today. It was the best the offense has looked, without question. Green Bay is just okay but before last week they had been a hot team on the rise. Certainly todays performance is far better than squeeking out a 3 point win over the 1-win Panthers.

    Unfortunately our defense is hot garbage with almost no pass rush.

    We’re not going to see any sloppy, self-destructing offenses in the playoffs.

  39. westernbuc Says:

    Bucs offense in Brady’s first year took time to develop as well. I’m pretty sure we didn’t hit stride until late November/early December.

    I don’t know why it took so long for Godwin to get time in the slot, but better late than never

  40. Gipper Says:

    RodMunch is another naysayer who wouldn’t and still won’t cut Baker a break. We have all of your never ending negative posts. Not bad for a QB with new team, new coach, and new OC. Fair minded people would be pleased with season Baker has had. Well, that’s the problem, fundamental unfairness from the “ Baker sucks crowd” of which Rod Munch is a charter member.