The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will have Mike Evans, Leonard Fournette and Scotty Miller all playing against the Chicago Bears. Chris Godwin had been ruled out as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury, but Fournette and Evans were evaluated just before kickoff.
Fournette was originally listed as doubtful with an ankle injury but is surprisingly active on Thursday Night Football. The Buccaneers are also without LeSean McCoy which means we are likely to see a heavy dose of Ronald Jones and Ke’Shawn Vaughn in the backfield depending on how many snaps the team gives Fournette. Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians previously indicated that Fournette and Evans would be game-time decisions.
Evans Will Play Tonight vs. Bears
Evans’ availability depended on his workout prior to the game, but Rapoport noted there was some “optimism” he would be able to play. The receiver hurt his ankle early against the Chargers in Week 4 but was able to return to play the majority of the game.
“For tonight’s Bucs-Bears game, TB WRs Mike Evans (ankle) and Scott Miller (hip/groin) are listed as questionable & Miller is expected to play, I’m told,” Rapoport noted on Twitter. “As for Evans, he’ll work out pre-game to test his ankle. There is optimism Evans can go, too, but the workout is key.”
According to Tampa Bay Times’ Rick Stroud, the Buccaneers intended to put Evans through a testing process prior to kickoff to see how the receiver responds.
“Bucs are expecting WR Scotty Miller (hip/groin) to play tonight,” Stroud explained on Twitter. “They’re pretty optimistic that WR Mike Evans (ankle) will go as well. Both listed a questionable. Evans hasn’t run but will test it in pre-game much like he did at New Orleans.”
Despite the Bucs’ 3-1 Start, Brady Sees a Lot of Room for Improvement
Tom Brady is coming off arguably his best game in a Bucs uniform, but the quarterback did not look particularly thrilled after orchestrating a double-digit comeback against the Chargers. Brady believes the team has a lot to clean up citing the ability to play for “60 minutes.”
“We put ourselves in a pretty good hole and we were just going to have to dig our way out of it,” Brady noted after the win over the Chargers, per Buccaneers.com. “That’s just the way football works sometimes. We’ve just got to tighten things up. I’m glad we came back. The defense made a big play for us just before the end of the half and that got us and that got us ignited a little bit. We made some plays in the third quarter, made some good plays in the fourth quarter. We started the game well, finished the game well, that middle part we’ve just got to figure out how to play 60 minutes well.”
Brady led the Buccaneers to a hot start despite missing his full arsenal of offensive weapons for the majority of games. It will be interesting to see how this Tampa offense will perform if the team can get back to full strength.