As much as the Bucs need to see what they have in O.J. Howard and Chris Godwin on offense, they need to continue to develop rookie safety Justin Evans on defense. The Texas A&M product is showing that he has what it takes to play in this league in the somewhat-limited opportunities he has gotten. In Sunday’s loss to the Falcons, Evans made some nice plays early. He had his share of mistakes, but growing pains are going to be present for any rookie. Moving forward, it would be nice to see Evans getting more and more snaps.
Without Aaron Rodgers, the Green Bay offense is much less dangerous. That could be good news for a struggling Tampa Bay defense. Not only that, but it could give Evans a chance to make some splash plays and raise his confidence as his rookie year nears its end. The second-round pick already leads the team with two interceptions, most recently coming through with a red zone pick against the Dolphins on Nov. 19. Getting him involved with the Buccaneers defense can only help, especially if he is going to be a consistent starter and producer for the foreseeable future.
The Bucs- alarmingly- are last in the NFL in total defense and pass defense. Brent Grimes has been a constant positive, but who else has stepped up? Chris Conte has been okay. T.J. Ward has been disappointing and is now hurt. Vernon Hargreaves is lacking consistency and struggling with an injury as well. With the rest of the secondary in shambles, it might be time for Evans to emerge as a piece that can, at the very least, hold the safety position together.