This season may be a crossroads in several ways for Bucs stud receiver Mike Evans.
Yes, Evans’ agent lashed out last week with accusations and demands. Let’s put that aside for a brief moment, shall we?
One reason Evans has an NFL record of nine straight seasons of 1,000 yards to begin a career is the offenses he played in.
Both Dirk Koetter and then Bucco Bruce Arians believed in throwing deep and throwing deep often. Mr. Entertainment, Jameis Winston, may have been the perfect deep-ball gunslinger.
He didn’t have to be prodded to go deep. If anything, he needed to be lassoed to ease up. LOL Tom Brady proved that old men can still sling the ball.
Who was a big beneficiary of this Koetter/Arians throw deep and throw often concept? Evans. Raymond Summerlin of Sharp Football Analysis documents how.
39.1% of Mike Evans’ career targets have come at least 15 yards downfield. That is a huge chunk of opportunities. Nearly 40 percent! No wonder Evans had 1,000 yards every season he’s been in the NFL.
But here comes a possible bump in the road. With Bucs’ new offensive coordinator Dave Canales’ offense from the Seahawks, it’s much more of a lateral, run-based scheme than Koetter’s or Arians’.
However, Seattle’s Geno Smith led the NFL in throwing deep last season, per the PFF Tribe, and they’re usually good at counting yards.
But then there is this little nugget from Summerlin: Over the last two seasons, Mayfield has been inaccurate on 31.2% of his attempts that travel at least 15 yards.
Unless Canales can resurrect Mayfield, the biggest drama come December might be how or if Evans can stretch his 1,000-yard season streak to 10 straight seasons.