Are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers an actual football team? Many people are asking.
No, seriously that seems to be one of the most legitimate questions the national media is asking when talking about the Buccaneers this offseason. After Tom Brady announced his retirement back in February, the Bucs have reverted back to how they were being viewed in the 2010s when it comes to national attention.
The next time the Bucs are talked about or written about on a national stage, one of these three things are going to be mentioned: Tom Brady retiring, Todd Bowles is on the hot seat, something about Baker Mayfield.
All conversations about the Bucs almost exclusively use those talking points and almost none of it ends up being positive.
Someone finally talked about something other than those three topics, but opted to still veer down the road of negativity.
NFL.com took a shot at Mike Evans in latest wide receiver ranking
In the latest ranking of elite players at each position in the NFL, writer Dan Hanzus not only left Mike Evans off but absolutely buried him in his explanation for why.
While he admits to being one of the lone voices who defended Evans in conversations about elite receivers of his generation, Hanzus also essentially calls Evans a has-been who is past his prime.
”I previously made it a personal goal to be part of the solution and not the problem when it comes to championing Mike Evans and his consistent brand of stardom, but a bad QB situation in Tampa, combined with miles creeping up on the odometer, keep Evans out of the discussion of the league’s true elite,” Hanzus wrote.
Evans is elite, full stop.
It doesn’t matter if he has Bob from Section 211 throwing to him, everything that makes Evans elite is in his own control. Even rival players can’t help but admit that Evans is one of the best players in the league, which tells you a lot.
Now, if this is a ranking of guys who might have elite seasons then that’s a different discussion but it’s also different criteria.
A lot of this fits the mold of the growing anti-Buccaneers agenda that has become like Pop Rocks for the national media. To suggest that Evans isn’t in the same category as guys like Cooper Kupp or Stefan Diggs is a total joke. He might not be the single best receiver in the league, but it’s hard to see someone taking either of those guys over Evans if given the chance.
That’s indicative of how the Bucs are being viewed, though. From the way they’re being talked about without. Tom Brady you’d think they were a Pop Warner team being allowed to play in the NFL as an act of charity. It’s as though the team doesn’t have guys like Antoine Winfield Jr., Vita Vea, or Tristan Wirfs on the roster, not to mention Chris Godwin, Lavonte David, and Devin White.
Afterthought doesn’t even begin to accurately describe how the Bucs are being viewed, and leaving Mike Evans off the list of elite receivers is yet another perfect example of that.