The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have no shortage of weapons and that could mean fewer opportunities to go around. Stud receiver Mike Evans only had two targets on Sunday vs. the Broncos, each coming on plays at the 1-yard line; each resulting in a touchdown.
Still, the lack of targets is not an indication that Tom Brady doesn’t recognize Evans’ talent.
“Mike’s one of the great receivers in the NFL,” Brady said while adding that it’s his job to get Evans the ball.
The Bucs didn’t need Evans to contribute too much on Sunday, as they handled the Broncos pretty impressively. Denver had a slew of injuries coming into the game and wasn’t able to put up points on the Buccaneers underrated defense nor keep up with Brady’s offense.
More Opportunity Coming for Evans?
Evans may see more opportunities in the coming weeks. Chris Godwin left the game during the second quarter with a hamstring injury on Sunday.
“It’s never good to injure yourself and then fly for four hours or three hours – whatever it’s going to be – getting home. We’ll have to wait and see,” head coach Bruce Arians said of the injuries suffered by Godwin and cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting, who suffered hamstring and groin injuries in the contest (via ESPN’s Jenna Laine).
Brady connected with Godwin on a 10-yard touchdown before the wideout was forced out of the game.
“A heck of a job by Chris [Godwin] getting it in the end zone and turning that into a touchdown,” Arians said of the play after the game (via the Taylor Jenkins of the Pewter Report). “We’ve started fast in every ball game. We get a lead and we have to develop a better finish, I won’t say a killer instinct, just a finish.”
If Godwin can’t go on Sunday vs. the Chargers, expect Evans to see expanded looks just as he did in Week 2 with Godwin sidelined. Evans saw a pass on 34.5% of his team route ran in the Panthers game.
Trouble Within the Division?
The Buccaneers sit atop the NFC South after their win in Denver and their main competitor for the division crown is trending in the wrong direction.
Brees was not the issue for New Orleans against the Packers on Sunday, he went 29-of-36 for 288 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Brees’ has been criticized for his lack of deep throws and while that may be a cause for concern, ESPN’s Bill Barnwell sees another issue plaguing Brees.
I’m not sure if Brees’ arm has actually diminished versus years past, but in watching him closely, it’s fair to say that he isn’t confident in his arm right now. He has been hesitant to pull the trigger on downfield or tight-window throws at times, double-clutching before settling for a checkdown. Sometimes, that has been because a big-play opportunity wasn’t really there. Other times, it has been because he didn’t think he could make the throw in question.
Perhaps Brees’ confidence in his arm will rebound as the season progresses. Without a traditional offseason program and training camp and with no warm-up via the preseason, it may simply be a case of Brees needing time to get re-acclimated.
You can follow Chris Crouse on Twitter at @NBACrouse and stay up to date with the latest in Tampa Bay via the Heavy on Buccaneers Facebook Page.