By now you’ve likely heard the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offense was working on some run-pass-option plays for the red zone in the latest training sessions. This is of course a good thing, and it’s even better because the key players are in attendance.
This time last year, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were doing pretty much the same thing they have been for the last month or so.
Bringing some new blood into the mix with rookies and off-season acquisitions coming together for the first time. It’s a valuable time, even if there aren’t pads and hitting involved.
However, this time last year Tampa Bay Times staff writer Daniel O’Boyle also wrote about the role Mike Evans played on the team and how he gave the vibe of being an older veteran despite his young age.
Evans is still young, but he’s also still a leader on this team. During the off-season it was minimally publicized but still out there for fans to catch that he Jameis Winston and other receivers got together to work out.
This was done on their own of course, but I’m sure the team appreciates having players who find time in their limited down period to do things like that.
Hopefully it’s all going to pay off. Hopefully it is already paying off. Introducing new wrinkles means advancement.
It means the offense is trying to do things to be a little better this year than they were last year. To score more points. More importantly, it means coaches and players are working in tandem to improve.
From the article in 2017, Evans stated how valuable this time of the off-season is for receivers and quarterbacks especially,
"“Receivers and quarterbacks can get a lot more out of (them) than other positions. They can’t use their pads, but we can run routes and get the timing right, which is really important.”"
Perhaps some of this was learned from Vincent Jackson in Evans’ – ahem – younger days. I pause of course, because Evans is only 24 and will barely turn 25 before the season begins.
I’m not saying he’s too young to be a leader of course, but as O’Boyle pointed out in his article, it feels like Evans has been a leader on the team much longer than his age would allow.
Of course, this is a strength on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ roster. Specifically because he’s the kind of leader who welcomes other leaders.
In Winston’s rookie year, there was some perhaps invented outside tension about whether or not he or Gerald McCoy was going to be the leader on the team. As the season advanced, Winston got louder. McCoy did not.
It’s not G-Mac’s style. And it’s ok. Winston is that kind of leader, and he emerged before his first-year was complete as the guy who would vocally motivate while McCoy continued to build his leadership by demonstration reputation.
However, perhaps the bigger question should’ve been whether or not Winston and Evans could co-exist as leaders on the team. They obviously have, but if we’re being honest there are a few receivers out there who we can all see mixing poorly with a rookie quarterback as vocal as Winston.
With Evans leading their receivers into action, and Winston there to tie it all together, there’s hope growing once again that 2018 will be the year the Tampa Bay Buccaneers return to NFC South relevance and playoff competition.
Evans has a new contract and perhaps a new red zone package to learn and operate in. But one thing we can count on no matter what, is Evans’ leadership and continued dedication to making himself and the entire offense better.